Despite All Odds

From starving in Myanmar to a new life and a bright future in Jesus

Christiana Michel, for Lake Union Herald
Despite All Odds
CiangPi, a member of the Indiana Zomi Seventh-day Adventist Church, placed fourth in the Abe Lincoln Scholarship Program. [Photo: courtesy of CiangPi]

While CiangPi was growing up in her hometown in Myanmar, there were many days when her family did not have enough food.

She lived in a house made with walls of bamboo mats, so it was not very stable — especially when there were storms. When it rained, the roof leaked. She remembers having to share an umbrella with her sister just to stay dry inside. She described how the walls in their house had little holes in them so when the sun rose, light would shine through. Despite the multiple difficulties she and her family had to go through, she can see how God had a plan for her life.  

After moving to the United States in 2019, CiangPi learned English and had to figure out how to continue her education. Even though she was 18 and had finished high school in Myanmar, she was not ready for college in the United States.

“People said I was too old and too late for high school,” she said. “They thought I should just start working to help my family financially.” However, none of this would discourage her from pursuing her goal, and she sought to obtain a U.S. high school diploma. 

In February 2023 CiangPi applied for the Abe Lincoln Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis scholarship, which is awarded to students who have overcome unimaginable hardships, to assist them in reaching their goals. She prayed to God that no matter what happened, she would be a witness for Him. There are 23 high schools in Indiana’s Marion County, and a student was nominated from each school. Of those 23 students, only four would receive top awards. CiangPi was eventually chosen for fourth place and received a $5,000 college scholarship. “Just to be selected from my school was a privilege, but to win fourth place was a miracle,” she said. “While I don’t want accolades, I do want to thank God for the privilege to be recognized and receive a scholarship for university.”  

CiangPi’s dream is to be a successful businessperson and to do philanthropy work. Specifically, she wants to help people from her village in Myanmar, as they would benefit immensely from receiving food, education, and access to medical clinics. She enjoys helping people but feels she needs a concrete educational foundation so she can help them more efficiently. The 22-year-old begins studies at Indiana University Bloomington this fall. 

CiangPi said she wants others to know that Jesus is truly a good friend and that He has a plan for each person’s life. “We can never change how merciful God is to us. The person who you are will never change how merciful He is. God is faithful!”  

The original version of this story was posted by the Lake Union Herald.

Christiana Michel, for Lake Union Herald