Stories & Commentaries

Refugees Empowered as Adventist Leaders in Ministry on World Refugee Sabbath

Arizona Karen Company

Richard C. Dye, Sr., Arkansas-Louisiana Conference president, participating in the foot washing of Poe Stanley, Clarksville Karen Seventh-day Adventist Church treasurer. Photo by LaVonne Dye

The North American Division and the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church designate a special day each year during the month of June for Refugee Sabbath ("World Refugee Sabbath") to raise awareness of the needs of the unprecedented numbers of refugees who have fled their homes due to war and persecution.

This year, on June 19, two significant events occurred on Refugee Sabbath, serving to empower refugees and their leaders in ministry.

Karen Church Company outdoors

The Clarksville Karen Company in Arkansas; photo by LaVonne Dye

Arkansas Company

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference organized the Clarksville Karen Company as a church on World Refugee Sabbath, and recognized their leader, Naylkowah Moo. The group has grown from two families when they first arrived from the refugee camp in Thailand to more than 60 members in less than seven years. Each Karen congregation in the North American Division holds three services every Sabbath: Sabbath School, worship, and AY (Adventist Youth).

Jimmy Shwe, an Adventist pastor who serves as division-wide church planting consultant for this language group, along with the local leaders of each congregation, actively empower and mentor the youth in ministry. This is evident in the high level of youth involvement in Karen congregations across the NAD.

Michigan Ngaih Cin family

From left to right: The Ngaih Cin family - SangPi, Cady, Pastor SB Ngaih Cin, his wife, Ma Aye, and KhaiKhai; photo by Jeffrey Saelee

Michigan Camp Meeting

Also on World Refugee Sabbath, during Michigan camp meeting, the Michigan Conference and Lake Union ordained Pastor SB Luan Ngaih Cin, who came to the states as a refugee with his wife, Ma Aye, and three children in 2012. Ngaih Cin pastors the Grand Rapids Zomi Company and the Battle Creek Zomi group. He also served for four years as secretary of the division-wide Zomi Seventh-day Adventist advisory.

Each of Ngaih Cin’s children is active in ministry. His daughter, Cady Cin led in the launch of Myanmar Community Services, an Adventist Community Services Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His older son, KhaiKhai, serves as a pastor in Kent, Washington, and their youngest son, SangPi, is working for the Michigan Conference this summer as an auditor, soon to graduate from Andrews University with a degree in accounting.

People in Peril

Both of these leaders and their members, along with a total of 55 Karen congregations, 15 Zomi congregations, and 13 Burmese-speaking congregations in the North American Division are from Myanmar, a country that is currently experiencing extreme political unrest after a military coup followed the February 2021 election, which has led to extreme hunger, violence, and loss of life — and the threat of civil war.*

Please join the pastors, lay leaders, and members of these congregations here in North America in prayer for their friends and family members back home in Myanmar who are now in danger.

Please pray also for the more than 82.4 million people worldwide who are forcibly displaced, 48 million of which are internally displaced within their home country, and more than 20 million of which are refugees, who have fled from their home countries.

For more information on how to reach out to the more than three million refugees who have come to the United States and Canada since 1975, visit the Adventist Refugee & Immigrant Ministries website ( or visit the Facebook page.

* Learn more through this New York Times article link.