Thank you for reading my story today. I would love to hear what you think via leave a comment. Today’s story introduces a bit more background for Pah who is in Billy’s Study Group.
Pah, A Young Refugee Meets Abraham in the Refugee Camp
by Matthew Kohrell
The refugee camp was all Pah knew in this life due to his parents fleeing the genocide of his people in Burma when Pah was only 3 years old. He had no memory of Burma, so the camp in Thailand was the only home he knew. His parents tried the best they could to make life decent for him, but living in a hut with no running water or electricity made it hard. Medical care was poor which was why at the age of 18 Pah was by himself. His parents had died of sickness easily taken care of in a place with modern medical care. His eighteenth birthday had arrived and all Pah could think about was his parents were gone. It was hard to believe there could be a future for him even as he went to the community center in the camp for his appointment.
Pah entered and saw a woman sitting at the makeshift desk of a board on top of two chairs. The woman seemed nice enough introducing herself, “My name is Julia. Nice to meet you Pah. I am with Church World Services and am here to help you with the arrangements here to get you on your way to America.”
Pah sat silent for a moment. Thoughts of his parents raced through his mind as well as doubts about starting a new life in America. He shyly spoke up, “Thank you. I do not know what will happen when I arrive to where it is you are sending me. Please tell me more.”
Julia wanted to encourage Pah, “I can understand your feelings Pah. The city is a nice place and someone will be waiting at the airport for you when you arrive. They will take you to the home of your aunt and uncle. That person will also take care of everything for you to get your new life started like taking you to the doctor and getting you into a school. You will be taken to the airport tomorrow to leave for your new home. I will be going now Pah, but perhaps we will meet again someday.”
With that Julia left the building and Pah did not see her again before he left. He looked around for her but couldn’t find her. The next morning, Pah was sitting in the community center waiting for his ride to the airport when a man came in and sat down next to him. The man was much older but seemed kind to Pah.
“Hello young man. So you are off to America today. Are you excited?” the man asked.
Pah was hesitant to speak, but forced out, “I am not sure sir.”
The man smiled and stuck out his hand to shake Pah’s hand, “Pah, you do not need to call me sir. My name is Abraham, but you can call me Abe if you like.”
That got Pah’s attention, “How do you know my name?” he asked.
“I know a lot of things about you Pah. You see I am here to talk with you because God loves you and wants you to know he has a reason for you to go to America.” Abe reassured him.
Pah was curious but also still startled by what Abe had just said, “Why would God care about me? I am only a refugee boy.”
Abe’s paternal instincts kicked in, “I understand son. Don’t say you are only a refugee boy. God knows you and sees you. God loves you Pah. It must be hard for you to go by yourself. I know that your parents passed away. In fact I met them after they passed away.”
Pah was shocked, “How could you meet them after they passed away?”
“Because I was in heaven up until fifteen minutes ago. All I can tell you is they are both in a wonderful place. By the way, my name is Abraham. My son is Isaac. I am here to share something with you Pah.” Abe replied ever so calmly.
“I heard about an Abraham in the bible but……” Pah was unsure how to respond.
Abe shared, “I am that Abraham Pah. Pah I understand the feeling of being uncertain about following God when you don’t know anything about where he is leading you. There was a time long ago that God told me to leave the house of my father but God didn’t tell me where to go. He only said go to the land that I will show you. In some ways you have it easier than that. You know someone will take you to the airport and that someone will meet you at the airport where you are going and take you to your aunt and uncle’s home. I had no idea of where God was going to lead me to.”
Pah was really curious now wanting some reassurance God would work things out for him, “So did everything work out okay?”
“That depends on what you mean by okay. For anyone who follows God everything works out okay, better than okay eventually, if not in this life, then for sure in heaven. I made mistakes along the way but God never gave up on me. You can read about my life in a book in the bible, in fact the first one in the bible, Genesis. God was faithful even when I made some poor decisions. Living for Jesus on earth, there are ups and downs, but he is always faithful. It is a life-long journey. Your new life’s journey will begin when you get in the van that will take you to the airport. If you ask him, Jesus will be with you every step of the way and guide you.” Abe explained.
Pah’s spirit began to lighten as worry started to fade about his trip, “Maybe if Jesus wants me in America, my plane ride will be okay. I have never been on a plane before.”
Abe chuckled a bit, “Well it is a lot faster than how we traveled when I lived on earth, but yes, if Jesus wants someone to go somewhere, he will make sure it happens.”
A van pulled up in front of the community center and a friendly British man got out wearing a cap that had Church World Services on the front. He read the list of names for those going to the airport that day. When he saw Pah’s name on the list, he yelled out, “Pah we need to go.”
Pah walked to the van and quickly looked back and noticed Abraham wasn’t there, so he got in the van and quietly prayed to himself, “Jesus please help me get there safe.”