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Six years ago, Nyo Chaw and his family moved to Worthington, Minnesota, leaving his father behind in Myanmar (Burma). It was a difficult introduction to a new life for the elementary-aged boy.
John Nau, youth pastor for Solid Rock Assembly in Worthington for the past 6 years, distinctly remembers when Chaw and several of his friends began coming to youth group about two years ago as 13-year-olds. It wasn’t pretty.
“I called them future leaders,” Nau says with a laugh. “They were a real handful — desperate for attention and demanding it by causing disruptions on a regular basis.”
Although some of the pack of boys stopped attending, Chaw continued to come as the church demonstrated patience and an understanding of the boy’s needs. In 2015, Chaw joined other teens in attending his first church camp, where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Nau explains that Chaw learned his father had died in 2014 in Myanmar. Chaw’s choosing to follow Christ and believe in the Trinity (including God the Father), was huge because of the lack of contact with or support from his own father.
Chaw plugged into the church and his faith grew, but Nau knew the conflict the teen was experiencing not having his father in his life. “Chaw also knows there is only one way to heaven, and that’s through Christ,” Nau says. “His father died a Buddhist.”
But then God intervened. In September 2016, Chaw was visiting the home of his friend, Fernando Rodriguez, the boy (now 15) who originally invited Chaw to church. The father of the family, Carlos, a native Honduran, asked to pray over Chaw, who agreed.
“Nyo had started talking about his dad, and we could see how sad he was, so we all started to pray for him,” Carlos Rodriguez, 38, explains. “All of a sudden, I started feeling the Holy Spirit in me, like a fire in me, the Lord told me to start talking, so I started talking in English so Nyo could understand as my language is Spanish. Then the Holy Spirit prompted me to speak in tongues, so I did, but I didn't know what I was saying.”
Suddenly Chaw began weeping and responding to Rodriguez’s prayers, then reached out and gripped Rodriquez in a tear-filled hug. Rodriquez returned Chaw’s hug and then concluded the prayer.
Following the time of prayer, Fernando would pull Chaw aside and ask him why he was crying so hard. Chaw explained that Carlos, while praying in the Spirit, had been speaking in his (Chaw’s) native language, Karen (a tonal language of Southeast Asia and Myanmar). In Karen, he had told Chaw that God loved him like a father!
At first Fernando couldn’t believe it, but Chaw confirmed that he could understand everything Carlos had been praying over him in tongues.
“It was an awesome experience to be used like that,” Carlos says. “I praise the Lord for that!”
Since that time, Chaw has grown deeper in his faith and become a testimony to his friends, demonstrating what it means to be a follower of Christ. Nau says that Chaw’s testimony about how the Holy Spirit communicated God’s love to him has been an incredible encouragement.
“For me, to see what this has done for Nyo Chaw’s life is amazing,” Nau says. “And to hear stories like this brings refreshment and confirmation in a lot of people’s lives, myself included.”