Harry Rin was born in Myanmar, and is studying Business Science at Andrews University while working towards a pilot’s license. As he explains, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream–one that seemed utterly impossible.
Born to Adventist parents, Harry grew up hearing bedtime stories of heroes in the Bible from his mother. Growing up in unstable times under Communist leadership, Harry dreamed from early childhood of becoming a pilot. Instead of waning over time, as childhood dreams often do, his desire only grew stronger.
However, there was a problem. “To become something like a pilot was not even an option,” he explains. “For Asians we have four options. Either you become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or a disgrace to the family.” Being a pilot requires joining the military, or receiving a scholarship to study overseas. Both requirements were not possible. “I’m not that smart,” he laughs.
Harry kept his dream a secret. “My teacher would ask me to write what I’m going to become in the future, and I would never write ‘to become a pilot,’ because it would sound stupid.” Even his family didn’t know that he still felt that way. Harry began to pray to God, twice a day for three years, for some kind of sign. His spare time was spent researching, planning, and hoping for the chance to study as a pilot.
Harry finally told his family, and they quickly realized he wouldn’t give up on his dream. Harry’s grandfather suggested that he go to the Philippines, as his aunt was still living there. While studying Nutrition and Public Health in the Philippines, he realized there were aviation colleges there. He applied to Earling International, a highly prestigious university, and was allowed to take their entrance exam despite being only sixteen years old.
The school was very impressed by Harry’s application and grades, which he happily attributes to God’s aid. “It was a miracle, because with my own skills I know that wasn’t possible.” However, there was another obstacle. He would not be able to attend classes on Sabbath. Harry was questioned whether there was any way he could be flexible on this issue, but he could not accept any compromise of his relationship with God. So, Harry turned down the school’s offer and moved on.
Sometime later, the school’s director emailed him, praising his conviction: “I’ve never seen anyone, as young as you are, so steadfast in their faith.” The director declared that he was willing to make a special accommodation for Harry.
Harry says he literally jumped for joy. His parents agreed that this was God’s will. He began to study at the school.
Being the only student from Myanmar and the only Adventist among many students from different cultures, he admitted to feeling lonely. And not all of the school’s staff were willing to accommodate, either. Two of them refused to provide alternative options for his exams on Sabbath, and the director said his hands were tied. Harry continued to push the issue with the rest of the administration, and they questioned why this was such a big deal. “’You just need to go through this program for four years and then you can ask God for forgiveness afterward.’ And I immediately replied, ‘That’s not the way God works.’”
While Harry steadfastly refused to take these two exams, an action that would require him to retake the classes, God intervened. Harry had received perfect scores in every class except for the two exams he was unable to take. The director was again amazed, and asked for a copy of his exam results to use for argument with the board again.
Those perfect exam scores bore fruit, guaranteeing a promise of accommodation from the director. “From this point on, Harry will not take any exams on Saturday, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. And if there’s a field trip, he will just stay in his hotel room, food will be served in his room, and he will spend his personal time with his God in worship.”
One final obstacle stood in Harry’s way–both of the school’s trainer aircraft broke down, preventing him from getting the flight test he needed to graduate. Thankfully, the school was willing to let students graduate and come back later to take the flight test.
Harry didn’t graduate with everyone else, he graduated early because had taken extra credits. He admits to sometimes eating lunch in the bathroom because there was no time for an actual break. His parents weren’t able to come to the graduation, so the director volunteered himself to serve as his surrogate ‘dad’ for the ceremony. “I didn’t deserve that kind of attention or that kind of guidance, but God provided.” Harry says.
Originally, Harry wanted to become a commercial pilot, to enjoy his career and be successful. But he decided to dedicate his first three years as a missionary pilot, in thanksgiving to God for all He had done for him. Unfortunately, the mission program he wanted to apply to in Indonesia had closed down. At first he was shocked, but then he realized God must have something else in mind.
Visiting the U.S. with his brother, Harry remembered Andrews University. He had applied to Andrews before, but had attended Earling University instead. He prayed to God for guidance. While he was in the country, his friends encouraged him to go visit Andrews. He was impressed by the business and aviation programs and received his confirmation from God when his father immediately agreed to the idea.
Harry completed his flight test in the Philippines, with a rearranged schedule so he could get his certification done before graduation. The director and the CEO were willing to accommodate him with everything he needed, and gave him an open invitation to come back to study if things didn’t work out at Andrews.
Thankfully, things at Andrews have all worked out. Harry’s Visa application was approved in a flash, after an interview that lasted less than a minute. God’s will was made clear. Harry prayed, “Lord, this is it… Now it’s Your responsibility to take care of me all the way.” And God has answered that prayer. Harry had previously thought he would receive a certificate, but not a degree. However, he is studying now for his Master’s. He doesn’t know what lies ahead, but he knows God is guiding him.
“God doesn’t choose perfect people… God chooses someone who can serve Him with their whole heart, in any circumstance. I’m the living proof! I am not smart at all. But I went through, and God does miraculous things.”
An additional blessing–Harry shares that Earling University now provides Sabbath accommodations for all Adventists. This has already blessed other young people. God used Harry to open the doors for others. “You don’t need to be a pastor or a professor or a teacher to serve God.”
Listen to the full podcast at: https://villagesda.org/podcast/
1 thought on “Dreams Come True”
This is a very inspiring story.
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