Fields of PineapplesBy Julia O’Carey
“The foreigner living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:34, NIV).
Discover Fabian’s Pineapple Dream and What it Meant
One night, Fabian dreamed he saw himself standing in the middle of a field full of bright yellow, ripe pineapples. He sensed urgency in his soul, for the pineapples were ready to rot and no one was harvesting them. Fabian knew he needed to act immediately, especially since this was not the first time God was calling him to action through a dream. As he stood amidst the pineapples, his attention turned to a giant outpouring of water from the sky that twisted and turned as it descended on top of a nearby hill. When he abruptly awoke, a bitter-sweet feeling swept over him. He clearly understood that the vulnerable, needy refugees in his area were the ripe pineapples God was asking him to carefully harvest. Though he felt excitement, for he loved helping these beautiful, gentle people with their urgent needs, he felt a small sense of dread since he had already faced some opposition when bringing some to church. He knew the work would not be easy, however, the waterfall in the dream reassured him that the Water of Life would send the Holy Spirit and this gave him the determination to go forward.
Fabian’s First Dream Sheds New Light on God’s Plan
Fabian immediately went to work with the help of Ron Patterson, his supportive local pastor, and organized a small worship group made up of the Montagnards, refugees from Vietnam. A lay pastor from Vietnam was able to assume leadership of this group which saw ten precious souls being added to the congregation in the first baptism. But Fabian’s work of church planting was not yet over. He had seen in a previous dream a long line of happy couples preparing to marry, with his wife, Elicia, and himself present at the wedding. The wedding scene was repeated with another group of people. One of the weddings, he now understood, was made up of the Vietnamese refugees, but who were the people in the second? This dream, which once served as comfort, now began to disturb him. He understood that the wedding meant that people were to be married to Christ and God’s special work for him was evangelistic in nature. But he questioned the Lord, “Are you telling me You have other pineapples I’m supposed to be harvesting?”
God Prepares the Way
God had placed Fabian to work in a school that was comprised mainly of refugee children from all over the world, speaking thirty-four different languages. The third-largest group was made up of Karen (pronounced Kah REN) from Burma. One day in class, two of his Karen students, Than Than Nwe and Po Tu Tu, were attempting to sing a Christian song (though it was Math class). Fabian quickly went online and printed the words for them. This opened the door for him to talk to them about Christianity. One day at lunch it came up that they did not eat pork because they were Seventh-day Adventist. “You are SDA?” Fabian asked incredulously. “Yes!” they exclaimed. Fabian excitedly got their addresses and promptly visited their homes. From these visits, he found that there were many Seventh-day Adventist refugees in the city who were not going to an SDA church. Some had no clue where the church was. Others had to work on Sabbath. Most had no way of transportation. All were living as islands due to the language barrier.
Breaking down Obstacles
Fabian worked feverishly, visiting each family and in God’s power, broke down the obstacles Satan had set up to hinder the refugees from worshipping on Sabbath. When he walked into the home of Blut Mu, he found the family of six wrapped in every piece of clothing they could find, for it had just snowed and there was no heat in their small home. He told the church the next Sabbath and members donated their own space heater for them. Fabian recalls, “When I delivered that heater and saw them all gathered around it with joy, it brought tears to my eyes. I never knew that such a simple gift would mean so much.”
One family he visited was attending the Baptist church and working on Sabbath. The wife, Nya Gay, told Fabian that she felt terrible not keeping God’s commandments but she did not know what else to do. Fabian suggested they pray and ask the pastor to write letters to the supervisors. Encouraged by Fabian’s visit and a renewed faith in the promises of God, she requested Sabbath off without a formal letter and received it. The husband brought the letter in and his supervisor gave him Sabbaths off as well. Nya Gay and her husband, Noe Noe, are now active church members.
Praise God! A Successful Church Plant Established
In May of 2009, they held their first Karen worship service. Fabian sold his car and bought a used van to transport the people to church. He moved his family to live within the Karen community. Because Fabian obeyed God’s call, there are 29 baptized Karen members and about 40 attending the congregation. God has sent others such as Elder Sean Elcheliserger to assist Fabian. God is using them to fulfill His promise in Isaiah 56:3a, “Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.’"
Blessings that Came through Service
Fabian loves the refugees! He is EFFECTIVE in reaching out to them, though he does not speak their language nor possess abundant resources to offer them. His passion for service stems from a love for His Savior. Almost every day, he hears the refugees exclaim, “Fabian, why is it we understand you so clearly but we cannot understand other English speakers?” With his Jamaican accent, Fabian considers this one of the numerous blessings God has poured out to pave the way for this ministry.
Nevertheless, Fabian wanted to learn the Karen language in one year so he would be able to preach to the people. It was very difficult for him to accomplish that goal due to time constraints. After praying about it, he left it in God’s hands and only sought to learn the little he could from his daily interaction with the people. Then one day, God impressed Fabian with the idea to create a website for the Karen (www.karenAdventistchurch.org). Though he had no experience in this area, God gave him the ability to write the code and design the site. He exclaimed, “It was a miracle! I cannot tell you how I was able to accomplish this nor could I do it again if you asked me to.” Jimmy Shwe, a Karen pastor told him one day, “You know, Fabian, you are preaching to many more Karen than I am.” Fabian looked confused until Jimmy Shwe explained. “The sermons you have uploaded to the website in the Karen language are preaching God’s Word to thousands of Karen all over the world!” Instantly Fabian remembered that this was one thing he had asked God to enable him to do: to preach to the Karen people in their own language.
Fabian’s Personal Testimony of God’s Leading
God prepared the way, brought Fabian to North Carolina, and provided above and beyond what he could think or imagine. For instance, Fabian felt impressed to pursue a Master’s degree but he was in the midst of church planting for the Karen and working full time. How could he find the time or the funds for this? God communicated that it was His will by providing a small scholarship. Fabian reflects, “The Lord told me, ‘Fabian, I am going to bless you in a special way. I want you to put your best effort into your studies, but I will help you strike a good balance so the Karen work will not suffer.’” What happened not only amazed Fabian, but also astounded the professors at Western Governors Online University. A degree that typically takes students three years to complete, Fabian, through God’s blessing, was able to complete in eight months with top grades and without any transfer of credit or advance placement. By God showing His glory, Fabian was able to save much time and $15,000!
Fabian’s teaching contract was up in May of 2009. He felt his returning to Jamaica would greatly hinder the work with the Karen, so he prayed that God would provide a way for him to get a new visa. Fabian applied at many schools, but could not obtain a position because they would not pursue obtaining a visa for him. Even after he received his departure date and paperwork, he continued to pray for a miracle, if it was according to God’s will. He says, “I was about to head home with a very sad heart, a heart that would remain with the Karen people. I could not even tell them that my contract ended and I had to leave because I knew how devastated they would feel. The Karen people are very close to me.” Right before he was scheduled to leave with his family, Fabian felt impressed to contact the county directly, though the principal of where he taught had already appealed to them unsuccessfully. The voice on the other line said optimistically, “Fabian Reid? Tell your principal to call us!” The principal called immediately and found out the county changed their minds and would obtain a visa for him. They even helped him find job interviews which are not usually their role. In one week, he had six job interviews and was hired after the first one. Praise God for leading in Fabian’s life! Fabian and Elicia, along with their two little ones, Giovanni and Abbigail, continue to lovingly reach out to the Karen in their community.
Kids With a Mission
Mission Trip Volunteers
- Persecution in Vietnam?
- Oppressed and Blessed
- Meet Nin Si
- Meet Kongsri Pathee
- Serving and Suffering For Jesus’ Sake
- Meet Ka Lu Htoo
- Meet Mai
- Meet Nguyen Minh Hanh*
- The Mystery of the Missing Money
- More Than a Skin-Deep Miracle
- Aid to Myanmar Church Members
- No Greater Joy
- Counting The Cost
- A “Holy Spirit Led” Fishing Trip
- Two Hearts Changed
- The Miracle Bible
- The Loss of Everything Earthly
- Carried on Angels Wings