BY MIRNA ORTIZ (as told from the persepective of Poe Moe Thay*)
“He will never change,” my students complained. “There is no way to stop his bad behavior, Teacher. Please make him leave.”
My name is Poe Moe Thay. I am a teacher in one of the ASAP schools and have seen students come and go. Many of them are Buddhists, and though some parents choose to keep their children in our school despite the differences in religion, some withdraw their children, often leaving them to be forgotten by the community or even to become beggars if they become Christian. I remember one specific boy who was always getting into trouble, and no matter how patiently I repeated the lessons in class, he continued to cause a commotion.
“Eyu,* please sit down and pay attention,” I told him one day in math class. He persisted with his disruption, trying to snatch a pencil out of his classmate’s hand, “Eyu, if you continue this behavior, I will have to talk with your parents.” This was my last warning to him.
“My parents don’t care if I misbehave, teacher!” he yelled at me and abruptly sat down. The classroom was suddenly quiet.
Many of the students didn’t have both parents or simply lived with their grandparents or other relatives. For this reason, the school staff decided to make a dorm available. As soon as we made this decision, the trials really began. Because Eyu was a new student, I didn’t know much about him, but what I later learned brought tears to my eyes.
“Teacher, Teacher!” A frantic knock on my door woke me one night. “What is it, Lei Oo?”* I asked, half asleep.
“It’s Eyu, Teacher.” Lei Oo paused. “He snuck out, and when he returned, he was acting very strange, his eyes were huge and red, and his loud talking and laughter woke everyone in the dorm. Please do something,” Lei Oo sobbed. “All the boys are getting frustrated with him, and they might even beat him up to teach him a lesson!”
My heart sank as I began to realize that Eyu had fallen prey to the coping mechanisms of this world to suppress his pain. Lei Oo quickly guided me through the dark to find Eyu. As we got closer to the dorm, I could smell something peculiar. At first, I wasn’t able to recognize it, but then realized it was the smell of marijuana. He had mixed this with other substances and was experiencing the effects.
“Where is Eyu?” I asked the boys.
“He went outside, teacher. He’s gone mad!” the boys answered as they stepped out of the hut and into the moonlight.
I calmly walked outside, silently praying for God’s help. I remembered the countless stories of Jesus and His disciples encountering people who needed healing. As Jesus’ love brought peace to their hearts, so it was my desire to bring peace to this young man. I soon saw a figure in the jungle brush. “Eyu, is that you?” I whispered earnestly.
“Teacher, you don’t want me. I’m a mess, no matter how much I try to be good. Are you going to punish me?” he complained as he laughed and cried simultaneously. “Are you going to punish me?” he repeated loudly.
“Come, Eyu,” I replied softly. “Come here, and let us pray to Jesus.” By this time, other teachers and students had gathered with me outside. We all knelt and with tears in our eyes uplifted prayers to God for deliverance from his destructive path.
The days following this night seemed no different. Eyu still acted dysregulated and I could perceive a battle going on inside him. I knew the Holy Spirit was working in his heart. As we continued praying for him, we were giving the Restorer, the Searcher of Hearts, permission to cast the darkness out of our dear Eyu.
Before we knew it, he calmed down and change became visible, not only that night but permanently. Eyu began attending the morning and evening worships at the dorm. He was no longer loud and disruptive but was calm and attentive to the messages being shared. This young man was learning about Jesus, and he couldn’t resist His love. He decided to get baptized as he felt the Holy Spirit’s touch. Though he had begun a journey with his Redeemer, other struggles arose when he returned home to visit his non-Adventist parents.
One particular afternoon, I received an unexpected call from Eyu. “Teacher, my parents don’t love me! Really, they don’t! They have disowned me!” he cried.
“Eyu, do you remember the promise in Psalms 27:10 that we learned last month in class?” I asked him tenderly. Through sniffles and sobs he answered, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”
After we prayed together, he felt peace in his heart and was confident that in every trial, his Heavenly Father would be with him. I felt so blessed and honored to witness such a miracle, to see a life transformed!
Eyu (pictured) is now a teacher at our school. He plans to join a Bible school and wants to become a missionary to his friends involved in harmful lifestyle choices like the ones he made in the past. He has a burden to share his story with them and to see their lives transformed by the Miracle Healer.
Please pray that God’s power may continue restoring the marginalized to becoming missionaries for their kindred. The cycle is surely contagious!