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Thoughts on faith and life at Friendship Church

Stories of Grace

Peter Brown

In John 5:17, Jesus tells us that “My Father is always at his work, to this very day…” In Philippians 2:13, the Apostle Paul reminds us that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” This month, we begin a new feature in which church members are invited to share a particular instance of how God has been at work in their lives.

Rose Chipojola

Rose Chipojola

This month, our contributor is Rose Chipojola.

I got my Bachelor’s degree from the University of Malawi, Kamuzu College of Nursing in 2011, and I told myself to start applying for Masters scholarships after two years of work experience. Well, how time flies! I started the applications and managed to get an admission offer at Sheffield University in the U.K. This was on condition that I sit for the IELTS exam and get an average of at least 7.0 bands.

I was so excited, I actually thought the road would be easier and that I would automatically get a scholarship once I applied for one. I kept on contemplating if I should really register for the IELTS, considering that it’s quite expensive in my country. But someone told me to consider it as an investment. This really pushed me to sit for the exam—which I passed. My admission offer changed from conditional to unconditional, but I still had to apply for a scholarship.

My first attempt was for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship and the Sheffield University Scholarship. After a month, I got the response (two emails, consecutively). The emails read, “We regret to inform you…” Now, we all know what happens when one receives this type of email. To be honest, I really felt demoralized. But I still didn’t give up because of the faith that I had in God. I kept praying and fasting, hoping that, one day, God would answer my plea.

I tried applying for several scholarships, some of which included the Beit Trust, Common Wealth (twice), Commonwealth Shared Scholarship (twice), Chevening Scholarship (twice), Australian Government scholarship (twice), Diamond Women Education Grant, and the Norwegian Quota Scheme. But I kept on receiving negative responses. I must admit, this really pushed me down, and I decided to stop applying because I had become convinced that it was really not possible for me to get a scholarship.

Two months passed, and I was still on my “strike” from applying for scholarships. Then one day, as I was going through my Facebook account, I came across a link which someone had posted for a certain Malawian scholarship group. At first, I tried to ignore it. Later on, I decided to follow the link, which led me to the online application system. I took a chance and completed all steps of the application process, then submitted it.

Three months down the line, I had totally forgotten that I had applied for the scholarship until I received an email that I’d been short-listed for Taipei Medical University (TMU)! I interviewed by Skype and, after a month, I received an email that I’d been offered admission and a scholarship to TMU. There, I pursued a Master’s degree in Nursing, majoring in maternal child health. I recently graduated, and decided to apply for a PhD. This time around, I applied for three scholarships and by God’s grace, I got them all. I now had to choose between three scholarships!  I am currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing at TMU.

Through it all, I have learnt that it was not by my might that I got the scholarships, but it was God’s grace manifesting in this situation. My hope is that my story may encourage someone out there not to give up, despite getting negative responses--in any aspect of life. Instead, it should be a motivation to keep pressing on, and above all to learn to trust God in everything. I noticed that three key weapons which helped me in this situation were meditation on God’s word, prayer, and fasting. They really do wonders, and you will be amazed at how God will act in your life. When we ache over challenges and fear the situation won’t change, we may be tempted to think that the Lord will not pull us through. But we should never lose faith in him, and never should we underestimate the power of prayer, for our living God hears our prayers. We may not know how or when he will move in response to our petitions, but we are assured that our Father longs for us to embrace his love and trust his faithfulness.