Soriya thought her hope of attending college was lost, but God had a plan.
by Rachel Perry
“My people need a missionary teacher who can bring them to God,” says Soriya. “That’s why I am taking Christian Elementary Education at Hartland College.”
Born into an Adventist missionary family, Soriya Sem was baptized in fifth grade in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. However, when she was nine years old, life took an unexpected turn when her father passed away—a crippling blow to her family’s financial stability and her hopes for college.
After finishing high school, Soriya volunteered at an orphanage, where she met a missionary family who introduced her to Hartland College. Hope sprang up in her heart as they told her about the Missionary Training Fund. Maybe she would be able to attend college after all! She applied and through a series of miracles was accepted to Hartland College, was granted a Missionary Training Fund scholarship, and received a visa to study in the United States.
“One of the biggest challenges I faced when I arrived was culture shock,” Soriya shares. “Everything was so different! But God has never left me through this experience. He is teaching me to share, love, be patient, forgive, and humble myself. Before, I didn’t care about anybody and I didn’t like to share. But seeing how the staff and students love and care for each other has changed me.”
“My spiritual life has grown a lot through morning chapels, vespers, and the Bible classes,” she continues. “Now I love to read the Bible! Day by day I see that I am growing.”
Soriya is excited to share what she’s learning with her people back home. “I’ve been recording the lectures and saving all my notes and textbooks—especially the Ellen G. White books, many of which are not available in my language. I want to share this knowledge with my people, because I want them to know God loves them. They can apply it to their lives and be saved.”
“Thank you so much to those who give to the Missionary Training Fund,” Soriya concludes. “Your gifts make it possible for me to learn and to see God’s mighty work in my life. Without you, I wouldn’t be at Hartland. May the Lord prosper and protect you, and may your families be filled with His joy.”