Join us for a historic celebration! Celebrate AU’s 150th anniversary by making a difference on Giving Day, April 4, 2024. Let’s ensure that Andrews continues to educate and inspire future generations to faith, mission, and service for another 150 years. 

February 29, 2024

Chased by Fate, Embraced by Faith

In the corridors of Andrews University, one anonymous student’s story of faith, resilience, and survival embodies the global mission of Adventist education, to save lives. 

John Doe’s* journey began in a politically turbulent country, where his father, a principled chaplain and influential military figure, bravely stood against government corruption. But this stance soon brought dire consequences to their family. 

In a cruel twist of events, an orchestrated ambush decimated his family. 

“My father’s enemies attacked while he was away,” shared John. “One Sabbath afternoon, my mother and all but one of my siblings were killed in a secret ambush.” 

John barely escaped.  

“I fled with my surviving brother to a nearby country,” said John. “We lived on the street in fear until we were imprisoned. My father soon found us and took us home.”  

Undeterred by the tragedy, his father's integrity never wavered, even when tempted by the lure of wealth and power. His refusal ignited the wrath of his colleagues, who branded him a spy and catapulted his name to the top of a hit list. 

“My father made plans for us to leave the country, but he was betrayed,” said John. “I hid, but I was eventually found, arrested, and thrown in prison for eight months.”    

John faced the grim reality of execution. But God prepared a way for his miraculous escape. 

“When the time came for my execution, God delivered me. I walked for five months until I found somewhere that seemed safe.”    

God's guiding hand led him to a local Seventh-day Adventist school. But danger loomed, as investigators, like hounds on a scent, came perilously close to finding him. Thinking it best for his safety, a school administrator urged him to flee. 

It was then that Andrews University emerged as his next option, a place of peace and refuge. 

Together with Stephen Payne, special assistant to the president, pastors and government officials facilitated a partnership between Andrews and the government. 

Signed in February 2021, this agreement offered an annual $14,000 scholarship to qualified students and a 50% discount on most graduate tuition. 

“This partnership offered John a beacon of hope,” said Payne. “We created a combination of tuition discounts and scholarships from various donors.”   

John was able to pursue his graduate studies at Andrews. 

“John’s committed to using his studies to be a World Changer,” said Payne. “He’s focused on helping others who endured heartbreaking experiences and loss.”  

“I had no family and nowhere to go,” said John. “God used Andrews University to save my life.” 

The generous support of the university's community saved a life, restored a future, and etched a story of faith into the legacy of Andrews University. 

On April 4, Andrews is hosting a Giving Day to allow donors to support the departments and students of their choosing.
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Andrews University alum Danni Thaw is a freelance writer. 

*name changed to protect identity