Two young men from Myanmar were given the opportunity to attend Sunnydale Adventist Academy in Centralia, Missouri this school year. Both Bee Be, a sophomore, and K Paw Soe, a junior, came to the U.S. after living in refugee camps in Thailand, but each has a different story.

Bee Be, oldest of four siblings, lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his mother and two sisters. His father and three-year-old brother are still in a Thai refugee camp. Bee Be attended an Adventist elementary school in Thailand for eight years, but asked his mother to bring him to the U.S. for his secondary schooling. After attending public school for his freshman year, Bee Be learned of the refugee tuition assistance program offered by the conference. The four-year tuition assistance program is available to refugee children, of any faith, to attend a conference elementary school and, when funds are available, Sunnydale Adventist Academy.

Bee Be is very grateful to now be attending SAA. “This is the best thing that has happened to me since coming to the U.S.,” he said. “I want to be a warrior for God’s kingdom and my lifelong goal is to share Christ with others.”

K Paw Soe and his three siblings were raised by their Buddhist mother after their father died when K Paw Soe was very young. K Paw Soe attended an Adventist church in Thailand for several years, but his mother would not allow him to become a Christian while there.

His family came to the States around three years ago and shortly thereafter K Paw Soe was baptized into the Adventist church family by Burmese pastor Stephen Po.

K Paw Soe attended public high school in Des Moines for several years before learning of Sunnydale Adventist Academy and the refugee tuition assistance program. His mom works at a local produce packaging facility and relies on government food assistance to help feed her family of five. When K Paw Soe learned he would be able to attend SAA tuition free he was overjoyed. “I would like to thank God for this golden opportunity to study at Sunnydale,” said K Paw Soe. “Huge thanks to my sponsors. May the Lord bless you, and I always pray for you. My lifelong goal is to be a medical missionary and share Jesus with non-believers.”

The refugee ministry program was established in the Iowa-Missouri Conference two years ago as a way to assist the many displaced people fleeing persecution in their home countries. We have asked our members to join us in supporting this emerging ministry by pledging $10 per month to help refugees. Right now the majority of the funds are going to the refugee tuition assistance program. Today 10 percent of our students are refugees.

Going forward we want to create more opportunities to help refugee families, such as offering ESL classes, job search help, babysitting, tutoring and more.

In order to further this ministry, we are seeking the ongoing financial support of 1,000 people through a pledge card that can be downloaded at There is also a line item designation on the tithe envelopes. All money given goes directly to help refugees living in Iowa and Missouri.