It was a calm afternoon, when suddenly someone knocked on our door. My younger brother immediately got up and opened the door, thinking that some friends came to visit us. But instead, one unknown man stood there, wearing black jeans and a white T-shirt. We all were looking at him, wondering whether we have ever seen him before. Then he said, “Passport passport!” These two words immediately took away my breath. My heart started beating faster. He was an officer. My dad pushed himself in front of the man, pulling my brother backwards. Frightened, my brother quickly went to hide in the bathroom. My dad asked my mom to find our documents, while he stood in front of the officer very casually. I knew that my dad also got scared with their sudden appearance, but he showed no emotion on his face. He kept standing confidently so that the officer couldn’t see the fear in his eyes. But my dad had something else that he was trying to protect, the illegal family living next door.
The family was not opening their door. After checking our passports, the officer took my dad with him to our neighbour’s room. Standing outside their door, the officer ordered my dad to tell that family to surrender. My dad refused, claiming, “There are no people inside.” Then he called loudly not to open the door at all in our language. Finally, the officer let my dad go back. The moment my dad came back in the room, he first calmed my brother, and then lead us all in prayer for the rest of the families. In a situation like this, where your brain just stops working with fear, that prayer became my inspiration. My dad taught me to pray in every situation and to be a practical thinker.
In my perspective people are like presents, wrapped with beautiful and unique personalities, sent by God to humans. Each present plays an essential role in our lives. A life without these presents is like a ship without a rudder. We are dependent on each other to keep on moving, during times when life seems difficult and impossible to move on. Here is when other people become our inspiration and help us. The person who became that inspiration for me is my dad.
The word ‘dad’ is a very special word, and that is why I think we use this word for God as well. My dad has stayed strong no matter what the situation is, whether it has been when we were in our country of origin or when we came to our residing country. He protected our family as much as he could. He never gave up. He always tried to find a solution to every problem rather than surrendering himself to the problem. Most importantly, he taught us how to put prayer first.
Since the day we came to our residing country till now, there has not been a single day that my father has missed to lead family in prayer. He has made it our habit to pray. In fact, I started having my personal Bible time because of him. I still remember when I was young and could not read the Bible properly, my dad would always sit next to me and go over every word and explain the story. He would also encourage me to read in family gatherings and do the same thing to influence me more. He not only helped me in reading, but he also helped me in studying. Even today, he would personally sit with me to get my problems solved, and working with him is always the best.
He has taught us to value what we have and be grateful for it. He has not spoiled us by giving us everything that we wanted, but he has always provided us what we needed. He has taught us to always help others. My brother and I also share our things with others and help our community kids in their academics. When my family and I came to this country, there was no school near the area where we lived. So my mom and dad decided that our family could teach our community kids since there were no other teachers to teach. I have seen how passionate my dad is to help others in any way he can. Since then, I have also been inspired to help others as much as I can.
He has been with me in every success that I have achieved in life, whether it has been sports or an academic excellence award. When I’m feeling down, I get the encouragement to move on because of him. Even though at times my grades are not that great, he would still encourage me to try harder next time. When I started to cook, he was so proud and ate it happily, no matter how the food tasted. His appreciation led me to take more interest in cooking. He tells me to eat healthy and always encourages me to eat fruits. Even on days when I did not feel like eating any vegetables, he would go outside and get my favourite food.
My dad has taught me many things while growing up, showing me what is right from wrong, teaching me things that I don’t know, helping me when I got hurt, and guiding me throughout my life. Now I know how to deal with various people and situations in life as well as how important it is to encourage and help others. I know the value of what I have now and how should I use it to help others. I thank God for giving me such a loving and caring father for teaching me and guiding me.
Just like how my dad cares for me, it reminds me of how God watches over his children. Guiding them throughout life and helping them, hearing their prayers and providing their needs. God is a superhero in heaven and my dad is a superhero for me on earth.
Sarah Ruth won first place in the 18-21 year-old category. Sarah is 19 years old and left her home country when she was 14. In the past five years, she has been scribbling all her feelings on paper. When the opportunity of writing came, she was so happy that she could now share her feelings. This contest helped her to reach out her voice to others. She is the oldest of two siblings and always encourages her younger brother to write as well. Writing helps her relax and eases the depression that can come from living life as an asylum seeker.
To view all of the essay winners, please visit (and like!) the Bangkok Refugee Young Writer Contest’s Facebook Page.