For Sasa, going to school was a chore. Each day she walked nearly 4.5 miles to school and 4.5 miles home. Her only mode of transportation was her legs, and after repeatedly walking the long route to school, even that mode of transportation was starting to give out as she began to experience pain in her legs.
An All-day Affair
Attending school became a drudgery, an all-consuming task. Sasa often arrived late because of her lengthy commute. Furthermore, as a seventh-grader—a challenging time for any adolescent—Sasa faced the added embarrassment of arriving at school drenched in sweat. The beads of perspiration on her face seemed magnified by the stares of her classmates.
Once the school day ended, Sasa retraced her steps home. By the time she arrived, she was exhausted and had little patience to answer her family’s questions. Irritation bubbled inside of Sasa when she was recruited to assist with household chores. All her energy had been spent walking the nine miles.
Sasa often went to bed early, without even taking time to complete her homework. When she’d awake the next day, the saga would repeat itself.
Request Not Granted
A bicycle would help, Sasa thought. Even though her family was not rich, perhaps her parents could buy her a bicycle so she could make it to school on time and not spend every day exhausted. She decided to ask her father.
Unfortunately, his response was not the answer Sasa hoped to hear. Her father made it clear the family of five could not afford to buy her a bicycle with the meager income he and his wife earned as farmers. As he described the family’s financial situation, Sasa felt sorry for her father and resolved to never ask him to buy her such a luxury again.
As best she could, Sasa continued her daily trek. But sometimes, when no one was looking, Sasa allowed mingled tears of exhaustion, frustration and shame to fall as she made her way to and from school.
On Sundays when Sasa didn’t spend the day walking to and from school, she and her family attended the local church led by Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Akio. One day, they were met with a big surprise: The church provided all the school-aged girls with a bicycle, made possible through GFA World’s Christmas gift distribution program. Sasa was overjoyed. She was now the proud owner of a bicycle!
Sasa and her father rejoiced in the generous gift. Her father had felt hurt when he was unable to buy a bicycle for Sasa as she requested. When Sasa received the bicycle, he was relieved his daughter now owned the transportation he knew she needed. Both father and daughter were grateful for God’s provision through their church.
Life changed dramatically for Sasa.
“Each day I am excited to go to school now,” she said. “Before getting a bicycle, I felt that going to school was very boring. When I walked to school and returned from school, sometimes on the way I cried without anybody’s notice as I was tired and discouraged. But now, I am very happy and am ready to go to school on time.”
With her new bicycle and faster commute, Sasa spends less of her day walking and exhausted. She can now enjoy learning at school and has more time to complete her homework. She is also able to spend more quality time at home with her family.
Sasa’s future is brighter because a bicycle provides the opportunity for academic growth and richer community, both of which are important as she grows into adulthood. Most importantly, Sasa’s gifted bicycle is a reminder of God’s faithful provision in her life.