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Update on Haung Dau: 12/01/2010

A lot can happen in a year!

In the spring of 2010, Haung Dau graduated from the Intensive English program at the English Learning School in Indianapolis. Since he graduated the English program, then it was time to find a college to attend - but this was easier said than done.

The best plan from our perspective was to attend Ivy Tech in Indianapolis. This school is inexpensive, local, and a good stepping stone to a larger or more specialized university. Unfortunately, even though it is a community college, it has very high standards for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score that must be achieved before they will even talk to you about international admissions.

So we had to turn our attention to other options. We believe that God led us to Vincennes University, in Vincennes, Indiana. This university is relatively inexpensive and has open enrollment, meaning that they do not have a minimum TOEFL requirement for admission to the institution. This is good for our situation because it allows us to prove Haung Dau's educational ability and sharpen his skills before going to another college.

This university is about two-and-a-half hours away from our home, so commuting on a daily basis wouldn't be an option. Therefore, we had to find some sort of housing on or near campus. Again, God provided. We found a man who owns a larger home that he rents out specifically to international students. All food and utilities are included in his low rental rate. I've heard that his cooking is quite good, and he also takes time to tutor the students when they need help. This has really been a blessing for us.

Just one last detail - getting Haung Dau back and forth between Vincennes and our home. I suppose we could drive down to Vincennes and back whenever travel was required, but wouldn't it be great if Haung Dau could drive himself? While still at ELS, he spent his free time studying the Indiana driver's manual, and earned the permit to learn to drive.

Even though we knew that his primary car would be a manual compact car, we decided it would be best for him to take the driving test using a minivan with an automatic transmission. So we practiced and we practiced and we practiced. Haung Dau passed the driving test without too much time to spare before he had to leave for Vincennes. Then we had to take a crash course (pardon the pun) on how to drive a stick-shift before we left him to fend for himself.

One day in August, we drove him and his few possessions down to the cute town of Vincennes, met Mr. Stock, toured the town, and returned back home, leaving Haung Dau to navigate his way through this next chapter in his life.

This semester he has taken four classes: Algebra II, Fundamentals of Writing, Reading Techniques, and Study Skills. It has been a real challenge for him to adjust to the expectations of college-level work, but he has risen to the challenge with an excellent GPA to show for it. Next semester he will tackle English Composition, College Algebra, Principles of Sociology, and Public Speaking.

This has been a year full of "firsts" for Haung Dau. God has opened so many doors to get us to this point, and there is so much work left to do. Really, he is just getting started. The plan at this point is that he will spend two years at Vincennes. Then, God willing, Haung Dau will transfer to a more specialized university where he can earn a degree that will train him for management of a non-profit institution. With this training, he will return to Burma where he will put his education to work by building an orphanage and community center. The goal, my friends, is to benefit the orphans, the weak, the undereducated, and the hopeless. This education is simply a step towards that goal.

As you can imagine, however, paying for college is no small endeavor, but it will be worth it. When tuition, books, room and board are all taken into consideration, the monthly cost for Haung Dau is about $1,333. Anything that you can do to help would be much appreciated. If you would like to help Haung Dau pay for his studies, please see our donation page.

Update on Haung Dau: 12/06/2009

Haung DauBefore Haung Dau can be admitted to a US college or university, he must be able to get a score of at least 79 on a TOEFL exam. Haung Dau isn't there yet, so he is working hard at a school that specializes in teaching English as a second language. If you would like to help Haung Dau pay for his studies, please see our donation page.

Update on Haung Dau: 12/01/2008

Haung Dau is welcomed to America with exuberance.

We are overjoyed to announce that Haung Dau has arrived in the United States. Haung Dau was the top student while Stephanie and I were teaching in Thailand. His dream is a noble one: To devote his life to serving orphans in the country of Burma (aka Myanmar). Kardias Ministries is giving Haung Dau the foundation he needs to achieve this goal by providing a collegiate education in Non-Profit Management. This goal will require about five years to achieve. If you would like to help Haung Dau pay for his studies, please see our donation page.

It is notoriously difficult to get an American visa from Myanmar, so we are praising God for this true miracle and trusting in His will for Haung Dau and his future. If you'd like to learn more about how this has come about, you can read the history on our web site.

We hope that you will have the opportunity to meet Haung Dau, and to hear about the current living conditions in Burma and his future goal in regard to being a light in his country.

Update on Haung Dau: 07/20/2008

Haung Dau helping out with Camp Kardias during MI-8.

It has been a long while since we’ve written about Haung Dau and his progress toward attending a university. We’d like to tell everyone about where he is on his journey.

Let us begin by telling you a little something more about this young man’s current situation and his goals in life. Haung Dau has been convicted that his God-given purpose is to open an orphanage and school in his homeland, in the very village he grew up in. He has grown up seeing a need for this and wants to be a conduit through which God can fill that need.

The Kachin village he and his family currently live in is being ravaged by the drug trafficking that goes on between the Kachin state (northern Burma) and China. Heroin is everywhere. Haung Dau estimates that 90 percent of his village is addicted. Can you imagine that? The village leaders and churches don’t know what to do.

This is a people that are largely Christian due to the work of missionaries back in the early 1900s, led and guided by God’s providence. Now, so many of them are in the midst of the tragedy of drug addiction, another side effect of a tyrannical, uncaring government that lines its own pockets and cares nothing for the social ill caused to its citizens in the process, or to the treatment of such problems.

And we all know that this is ultimately spiritual warfare. We are at war. And rather than give up or fear, we must offer the perfect love of our Lord, over and over, to all who will receive it as a beacon of hope till His kingdom comes.

And Haung Dau ultimately wants to offer that love to his own, hurting people, to cast some light into darkness, some beauty amidst the chaos. But he also wants to be prepared. And part of that preparation is more education, spiritually and academically. And that brings us to where he is now.

Haung Dau did take the TOEFL in January. His score was a bit under the standard required score for most universities. However, we went forward with the application. The TOEFL turned out not to be an issue so much as the lack of sciences and math that Haung Dau had during the equivalent of his high school years in Burma. IUPUI is holding his application for the next two years. He can reapply without having to submit anything new during this timeframe. After having 1-2 years of community level college, either here in America or in Asia, IUPUI admissions is confident he can handle university level work. So, with this guidance, the plan has shifted somewhat.

Haung Dau has a great deal of confidence in God and His purposes for him. He shared recently that he knows that God can fulfill His purpose through him even without education if He wishes. But we are not ready yet to say that door has closed. We have submitted an application to an ELS Language Center that operates on the IUPUI campus. Six months of classes here gives the equivalent of a qualifying TOEFL score. Upon his completion of that program he can attend a local community college that works in cooperation with IUPUI. We feel confident this route will work, but there is still the issue of the visa. That is completely in God’s hands and according to His will. Haung Dau is also pursuing the idea of universities in Asia and will move forward with that plan if studying in America is a closed door. Whichever way God leads him in his education, Kardias would like to support him in his purpose, whether he ultimately trains here or in Asia.

Haung Dau was able to be with us in India for the MI-8 trip. For him, going to India could have been a vacation. Certainly it was new and exciting, and a respite from real life in Burma. However, he was a relentless servant and a great asset to the team. It was a pleasure to have him there; he gave all that he had.

Haung Dau is a sponge, always learning. He took the opportunity within the informal classroom of the mission trip to take literal and mental notes of all he witnessed and all that he did. I know it will help him with his future ministries.

Please continue to pray for Haung Dau, for his strength as he lives amidst difficult circumstances and that he would have continued confidence as he walks with God toward the future that has been planned for him.

Update on Haung Dau: 11/27/2007

Haung Dau continues to make progress in Yangon. Some of you may remember the protests and subsequent government crackdown back in September. Haung Dau’s TOEFL class was shut-down as well as all internet access. Since internet chat is our main way of communicating we had to wait for what seemed like a very long 2 weeks or so before confirming his safety. During the most dangerous time he was holed up in his apartment. This lasted for about a week. After awhile, perhaps feeling they had made their iron fist once again known, the government allowed the internet to slowly get up and running again and the rest of Yangon was able to get back to business as usual. And we finally got news from him.

Haung Dau completed his first three month TOEFL class and is currently attending a second TOEFL class. His confidence is growing and he is registered to take the official TOEFL exam on January 12, 2008. Around the time he takes the exam we will also work to submit his application to the local university here, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Once his TOEFL scores are sent we are hopeful that a letter of acceptance will be close behind.

The next step will be the all important interview with the consulate at the US embassy in Yangon. Haung Dau must have all school transcripts and proof of financial support documents in order and ready to present to the consulate at that time. Haung Dau has taken care of the transcripts and we will assist him with the letters he needs to prove his financial sponsorship. The interview will most likely occur sometime in May so we still have some time to prepare. He will walk up to a window and will have three minutes to prove his case; he will know at the end of those three minutes whether his dream of studying in America will become a reality or not. Please pray that the Lord will give him peace during that short, yet crucial time and that the consulate will see the huge heart and huge potential of this young man. Please pray that he will be granted favor.

Haung Dau only has one month more until his TOEFL exam. After that he hopes to travel back to his village in Kachinland (northern Burma—see map below) to see his family while he awaits his interview with the US Consulate.

Thank you to all who are reading these updates and praying for Haung Dau. He appreciates it so much. If you would like to contribute to his scholarship fund, please see information on how to do so on our main ministries page. Please look for another update on Haung Dau sometime in late January.

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Update on Haung Dau: 07/18/2007

Map of Burma (Myanmar) showing the location of Myitkyina and RANGOON.

Haung Dau has made the long train journey from the city of Myitkyina in the northeast part of Myanmar (formally Burma) down to the southern capital city of Rangoon (see map to the right). Kachinland, where Haung Dau began, borders China. Rangoon is closer to Thailand. It took him many days to make this trip.

He must be in Rangoon in order to move forward with the business of coming to America. Rangoon is where you make a passport. Rangoon is also where the US Embassy is, where you must apply for a visa. Attached to the US Embassy is the American Center which contains a library of information on how to prepare for life and study in America.

Haung Dau is currently staying with a friend’s family. They are Sabbatarian Christians and have been very generous to allow Haung Dau to live with them during the many months it will take him to complete the passport and visa application process. This friend was once a student at Legacy Institute where we volunteered last year as teachers.

Almost every day Haung Dau wakes up and takes a very crowded bus or taxi to the American Center. He had to pay $5 USD for a library membership. This allows him access to the library, the computers, and the ability to watch the American movies they show there. Each day he is focusing on the steps that will help him reach his goal and on continuing to trust God with his life.

He is looking for a good TOEFL class. TOEFL stands for "Test of English as a Foreign Language". He must get a score of at least 550 on this test to be admitted to universities in America or England. Some of the classes offered in Rangoon are of poor quality. Others will prepare him very well. Since he has to pay a couple hundred dollars for this class it is important that he choose a good one. God has sent him many helpers along the way, including people who are leading him to a class that will benefit him the most. He should begin this class in the next couple of weeks. His goal is to take the TOEFL some time in January.

Haung Dau with our family at the graduation ceremony from Legacy Institute, 2007
Haung Dau with our family at the graduation ceremony from Legacy Institute, 2007

In addition, Haung Dau applied for his passport shortly after arriving in Rangoon in late June. It takes one or two months for a passport to be made, unless you have bribe money. Haung Dau expects to have his passport soon.

After he has his TOEFL scores in hand, sometime in February, he will be able to apply to an American university. After acceptance to the university comes the most crucial step. He must have an interview with the local US Consulate at the US Embassy in Rangoon. This will determine whether or not he is issued his student visa. We are asking for prayers in this regard. Pray that God prepares the heart of the consulate officer to be favorable toward Haung Dau and his goals.

We will continue to update you on his progress. Check back every couple of months. Thank you for your interest in Haung Dau and the Burma Scholarship Fund and for your prayers.

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Kardias Ministries :: Burma Scholarship Fund

Haung Dau Lachyung

While we were in Thailand (2006/2007), we had the privilege of teaching some of the finest men and women on the planet. But one of the students, Haung Dau (pronounced HUNG-dow), stood out from the crowd. In his graduating class, he took every award that was offered by the institution: Valedictorian, Spirit of Excellence Award, Academic Excellence Award, and Leadership Award. He is a man of strong character and has a tremendous potential to be a powerful leader, yet through his relationship with the Lord has an unswerving humility that always gives credit and recognition to others.

He was an inspiration to the campus while we were in Thailand. The problem is that he has graduated now, and is currently living in Burma. His highest opportunity there is to go and work with a relative cutting up some firewood to sell in the local village.

No way. Not for Haung Dau. It would be a shame to waste a man of this caliber. God has created him with the potential for so much more, but Haung Dau simply does not have the opportunity to grow into that potential in Burma. The corruption in the government is too severe. Even going to university is a joke; most of the universities are closed. Even the ones that are open do not allow students to choose their major, cheating is rampant, and diplomas are bought with bribes. For more information on the current situation in Burma, check out this recent Voice of America report.

But what if we brought him to America? What if we placed him in a quality university where he could be immersed in English and pursue a meaningful major? Better yet, what if he was able to intern and add value to a church area where he could actually hone his natural leadership potential, grow his understanding of the Bible, and share his passion for God with others? Now what kind of a force could he be in this world? This is not really about "going to college"; this is about growing a powerful leader for a burdened and depressed area of the world. This is about training a man on how to improve the lives of those around him, and the Lord knows how the people of Burma need a leader and a man like that.

As you know, the financial responsibility of attending a quality university (including transportation costs) is no small matter. That's why Haung Dau needs your help. Our family will house him and feed him, and will be part of a church body that will continue to train him on matters of Christ, on matters of the heart, and on matters of leadership, but it is too much for us to put him through school ourselves. If you would like to help with this goal, please donate to the Burma Scholarship Fund.

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