Thursday, August 26, 2010

Safety Net or Nothing to Lose

21 years ago, I was an excited college freshman on my way to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  My parents had the means to support me during my college years and I was blessed to finish my education without having student loans.  I had a “safety-net” to fall back on if I should fail.

Now I’m a missionary living in Rwanda, and it’s my turn to be the parent.  God has given me the opportunity to mentor and seek support for a hopeful Rwandan college student.  John Rukundo has Christian faith like no other nineteen year old I know.  His father has been in prison since Rwanda’s genocide of 1994 and his mother is disabled, older and cannot work.  Yet, he prays for God’s provision and confidently waits for it.

I met John when I volunteered to teach English to a group of pastors attending Bible College.  The director of the Bible College knew I could not teach without the use of a translator, so he hired two of his Rwandan neighbors to be my assistants.  One of them was John and immediately we developed a sister/brother type bond.   John had recently finished high school and wanted to further his education.  Since I knew his story, and how difficult it would be for him to earn money for studies, I put a post on Facebook, saying “Got tuition?”  I had a couple of donors come forth and one, in particular, has helped him finish his first year at a local community college.   His grades were so good after two terms that the Rwandan Development Board (RDB) offered him financial aid to study abroad at the Indo-Asia Academy in Bangalore, India.  Providentially, when I went to the school’s website to check it out, I noticed they had a student exchange program, with none other than…… Appalachian State University!!!  Needless to say, it caused me to reminisce about my going off to school and how blessed we are as Americans.

As it stands now, The RDB will pay half of John’s tuition, but he is still in need of support for his textbooks, tuition and living expenses.  On faith, John has already bought a one-way ticket to Bangalore, India.  I went with him to purchase the ticket and while we waited for his visa to be validated, I was pondering…….would I have had this much faith?  Would I put myself on an airplane for the first time knowing I had a one way ticket and no safety net, no nest egg, no parents to fall back on if I fail?  But what John has, that most of us don’t is “nothing to loose”.  His chances for a good job and future are very slim without education. 

The Bible says, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”  Phil 3:8 NLT  So in this sense we all have nothing to lose, because the security that we value in our nest egg is really “worthless”.  Our worth can only be found through Christ Jesus.

                                                                                                                                                                         by Ashley