At the foot of the Blue Mountains, surrounded by fields of wheat and unions, it would be difficult to go to Walla Walla University by accident. Many students feel pressure when choosing where to pursue higher education. Sometimes, however, the simplest gestures or the grandest miracles can show God’s calling in our lives.
Meet Abriel Thuc who traveled far because he found hope in the higher Adventist education Walla Walla University has to offer.
Abriel’s journey to WWU was marked by perseverance and the impact of his new-found church family.
Born and raised in South Sudan, Thuc made the difficult decision to leave home due to an unrelenting civil war. He made his way to Kenya where he would get education at a refugee camp.
Conditions there, however, were not ideal for living, much less for real academic learning. Thuc briefly mentioned having limited access to food and water before explaining that he felt called to pursue something better for himself.
His chance came. A video, posted online, showed Thuc playing basketball with friends on a dirt court—some players without shoes. When a woman in Southern California saw the video, she coordinated with American schools to find athletic scholarships for the players.
Thuc’s journey to the United States was only a small step towards WWU. He studied at two different schools on basketball scholarships before finding his true home in Maryland. There, his host family had a profound impact on his life, and Thuc was baptized as an Adventist.
In 2017, WWU’s basketball coach invited Thuc to join the team. Despite being unable to visit the university before applying, the genuine interest and care he was shown convinced Thuc this was where he should be.
As a proud junior business administration major, Thuc is hopeful God will soon lead him to a job that allows him to pass on the generosity he received along his journey.
“Walla Walla University is a place of hope,” said Thuc. “Things turned out well for me because of the people—the staff, teachers, students—who helped me so much. It’s a good environment. I will never forget it.”
Posted on January 11, 2022