How a local church helped me graduate
The story of Samuel and his time with CCX Belarus
It takes a lot of courage to be honest about a financial struggle and to ask for help. During his final year of study in Minsk, Belarus, Samuel took his needs to a church and watched how God broke through. This is his story.
I am Osidibo Adeolu Samuel, a Nigerian who studied in Belarus. It is a pleasure to share my story with you, as I am a witness of a great generous act shown to me by a local church and some IFES staff in Belarus.
I studied Automated Systems and Data Processing in the Belarussian capital for four years. During my first year, I got involved in Bi-Café, a place for international students and locals to meet and discuss topics important to students. This is how I discovered CCX Belarus, the IFES movement in the country. After attending Bi-Café for a while, my pastor, who helped set up the café, encouraged me to be part of the planning team. I got to know the CCX leaders much better, and we got to move around to different cities to see what other CCX groups were doing and to learn from each other.
During my third year at university, the economy of Nigeria worsened, and I struggled to pay my tuition fee. It became very difficult for my family to support me and my studies abroad, but we managed that year.
The next year was my final year, and from my first semester to my last one, there was no cash inflow from home. I had no means of paying my tuition fee. I tried to borrow from friends, do some graphic design work, and open an online donation campaign (GoFundMe). Some CCX members helped in sharing the link to my donation campaign, while others donated as much as they could. These paid my tuition and hostel fees up to a reasonable extent but not all.
Half way through my last semester, the university threatened to expel me because I still had not paid my full fees. I still needed about $450 for the tuition and $300 for the hostel. At this point, I could not support myself in any way because I had to focus on my thesis if I didn’t want to be expelled or get a low grade. No one was donating anymore on my campaign. I felt stuck.
A couple of months later, I was on the verge of getting expelled when a former CCX staff in the capital told me that although he had no means of helping me, he could invite me to his church. I could share about myself and my challenge briefly, and then we could watch what God did with it. So that’s what we did. I was amazed at the result: not only did the church members contribute up to $470 that day, but also some more CCX staff added their contributions and I was able to pay my tuition and hostel fees! Through their act of kindness towards me, I was able to graduate successfully from the university with no debt.
This was a very humbling experience, because I never thought I would be in that situation. I felt I was going to beg from people but the Holy Spirit made me understand that he uses us Christians to help each other either in little ways or in big ways. He gave me a clearer view of what he meant when he said in John 13:35 that our love for each other will prove to the world that we are his disciples.
It also made me better understand that God works in diverse ways. I prayed a lot for the situation in my family and country to change but nothing happened from home. He was taking me through a journey to learn from his disciples. And now, I am in Tallinn, Estonia, studying a Master’s degree after winning a scholarship!
After I told the church members about my graduation and the scholarship I won, I could see in their faces that they were genuinely happy for me. They left a mark in my life, and so has CCX Belarus. I continue to pray for and be grateful to them. This experience fueled my zeal to leave a good mark in the lives of anyone I can. So that they can see the love of God through me, my actions, my words and service. I’ve just arrived in Tallinn, and have learned there was an IFES movement here too. I’ll check them out!
- Do you know students in your group or at your church who are struggling financially? Could you help them in any way?
- This World Student Day, why not pray that God will lead you to one student who is struggling financially, and to whom you could show generosity?
Find out more ideas for World Student Day at ifeswsd.org