Aadesh Biswa was born in a refugee camp in Nepal. At 13, Aadesh and his family immigrated to Kansas City, Missouri, United States.
Aadesh soon began school in the U.S., where he felt the need to learn English quickly. He spent hours studying the language. His hard work paid off as he was accepted into a summer science program at the University of Kansas. While there, he enjoyed the academic focus and living in the dorm.
One day, after his summer session ended, Aadesh went to his cousin’s house and overheard his uncle, a representative to the Nepalese community, talking with two men.
They were discussing an academy where students would learn and live in dorms, just as Aadesh had done during his summer course. The men asked Aadesh’s uncle if his son, Aadesh’s cousin, would attend the school, Sunnydale Adventist Academy (SAA) in Centralia, Missouri. His uncle said no.
“I don’t know why,” Aadesh later explained. “This is the most disrespectful thing in our culture, but I interrupted them. I said, ‘I’ll go.’ ”
Aadesh convinced two friends and his cousin to go with him. The group found SAA’s courses challenging and struggled to keep up with their classmates. After only one week, Aadesh’s cousin left. Later, Aadesh’s friends left also, leaving Aadesh alone at SAA. Aadesh stayed for one semester, then he too left.
“When I came back home to the high school that I was going to, it felt like I was back in a dumpster compared to what I had just experienced,” Aadesh confessed.
After Aadesh left SAA, he felt impressed by God to start a youth ministry in Kansas City. He met with his evangelical pastor and told him he desired more youth involvement in the church. His pastor quickly dismissed the idea, and Aadesh felt unsure how to accomplish what he felt called by God to do.
Toward the end of Aadesh’s sophomore year, Anna Coridan drove him to visit friends at SAA. During the drive, Coridan revealed that she felt called by God to start a youth group in Kansas City.
“I told her, ‘Anna, you’re not going to believe this,’ ” Aadesh says. “So, I showed her what I’d been working on for months, and she was like, ‘Let’s do it.’ ”
Aadesh and Coridan started a group where youth would play at the park and then meet in Coridan’s apartment to pray and have Bible studies. The group slowly grew to include more people and was eventually named NC4Y, New Change for Youth.
Later the Coridan family invited Aadesh to attend a Revelation seminar by John Bradshaw, from It Is Written. Every night there was an appeal to be baptized.
“I remember being convicted every time Pastor Bradshaw would make an appeal,” Aadesh recalled. “My whole body was trying to move forward, but my brain was like, ‘No.’ ”
Aadesh did not go forward during the meetings, but he continued to hunger spiritually and decided to work in the summer selling magabooks door to door.
Aadesh experienced spiritual growth in the company of other young people who were on fire for God. He felt called to return to SAA for his final year of high school. However, Aadesh found himself in a difficult situation. The year prior, he had been awarded a US$50,000 scholarship to any college if he attended the same public high school where he was enrolled in his junior year.
When Aadesh told his mom he would rather attend SAA than keep the scholarship, she strongly discouraged Aadesh from returning. However, he decided to follow God’s calling.
Upon graduation from SAA, Aadesh attended community college but later dropped out to work to help his family pay bills.
During this time, Iowa-Missouri Conference Ministerial director Lee Rochholz came to Aadesh’s house and offered Aadesh the opportunity to attend SALT, an evangelism training program at Southern Adventist University. Rochholz explained that Aadesh would return to the conference as a Bible worker. Aadesh was shocked — this was precisely what he wanted, an opportunity to work for God and further his education.
“I knew this was an answer to prayer,” Aadesh says.
At SALT, Aadesh felt the call for affirming his faith through baptism and was baptized by John Bradshaw. While he had silenced the voice years before to answer Bradshaw’s call for baptism, God gave Aadesh a second chance to follow the still, small voice.
After returning to Missouri, Aadesh wanted to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then go to Andrews University for seminary. After some research, Aadesh found a nearby community college that was reasonably priced. He applied and was soon accepted.
Aadesh also applied for a full-ride scholarship and won.
“Receiving the scholarship was a big confirmation not only to my family but also to my community because of the [scholarship] I had [previously] rejected,” Aadesh says. “Everyone was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re crazy.’ But now, I can say, ‘God takes care of what is His.’ ”