As I prepare to continue writing to you about Elijah’s experience on the mountaintop, let me take this blog to set the scene with a personal testimony. I won’t actually get into the Elijah story until next week, but I believe this testimony relates to what I will be writing about.
My father Jay West often says, “If you’re going through something, it’s because you’re going to something.” Well, in 2010-2011, God brought me through something in order to go to something—specifically, college. At the end of my senior year of high school, I was enthusiastic and excited about going to college, but I wasn’t sure where to go. I thought Grace University here in Omaha seemed a likely option, but still, I was hesitant to make the decision. At some point during that year, our family doctor recommended to us that I take an internship before going to college, stating that it would be very beneficial to me in the long run. I had considered internships before, so this prospect excited me. However, I didn’t know what internship program to get involved in. After talking for a while, my parents and I thought, why not start our own internship program? I could intern with my dad in traveling and also do some volunteer work at my church too! So we decided to do that for the rest of 2010, and that I would then start college in the spring of 2011.
Well, as we embarked on the internship and prayed, we felt led that the internship should really last a full year so that I could start college on the same page with all the other freshmen. So, this we did, not knowing what lay ahead for sure, but trusting God to make everything possible. In December of 2010, I received an email from Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) near Dallas, TX, thanking me for requesting information. Now, I could not remember requesting any information from them, but I decided to follow the link on the email to the school’s website. What I found simply amazed me. This university had all the academic programs I was interested in, it was accredited, it looked very affordable, and it had the opportunity for a full tuition scholarship. But the thing I liked best was watching the live stream of the chapels and late night worship sessions. Just by watching the videos, I could tell that this place was unlike any other college I had ever seen. The spiritual climate amazed me so much, that I knew I had to go there and see it for myself.
My dad and I consulted, and we decided to make the trip to Texas. The really awesome thing about that trip is that we were able to combine it with a ministry trip to three different churches further south in the hill country of Texas; and through that, we were blessed with enough finances in advance to cover the expenses of our trip! In the meanwhile, while preparing for the trip, I applied for admission and also applied for the full tuition scholarship there. At this point, I was pretty set on going to SAGU (as the college was commonly referred to).
Well, to make a long story short (if that’s possible with me!), we had an awesome time at our visit to SAGU. The facilities were very state-of-the-art, and I was able to sit in on classes, attend some phenomenal late night worship, and also attend a chapel service, among other things. There was a definite WOW factor of this visit. I was really glad my dad was able to be there and see it with me too.
Later on, after we had returned home, I got a phone call one day from my admissions counselor. She was notifying me that I had received the top level of their full tuition scholarship! I was ecstatic, of course! Now I knew SAGU was the place for me! But the interesting thing in this time was that God threw a curveball. My dad and I had not broken ties with Grace University in Omaha, and in casual conversation, my dad brought up an interesting question to Grace’s admissions counselor. He asked if they ever matched scholarships. Her reply pleasantly surprised us! Before that year, they never have, but they just launched a scholarship-matching program that year!
To make another long story short, as we communicated further with Grace, I was able to receive a matching full tuition scholarship from Grace! So at this point, I had two full tuition scholarships to choose from. Keep in mind, when I applied for SAGU’s scholarship, I had no intentions of getting it matched by Grace. I didn’t even know that was an option at the time, so there were no underhanded operations going on here.
The decision came down, not to finances, but to where God wanted me to be and which school would be an overall better school for my needs. It was a difficult decision, especially since I was so awestruck by the SAGU experience I had. But prior to receiving the match scholarship, I had laid out a prayer to God with three requests if He wanted me to go to Grace: (1) I had to feel a spiritual connection to Grace, (2) I needed to make divine connections with students and staff at Grace so I could feel connected, and (3) I needed the financial provision. Well, I attended a campus visit day at Grace about a month after I went to visit SAGU, and the two things that seemed to stand out from the weekend were how good I felt in my spirit to be there and how many amazing students and professors I met at Grace, making me feel so welcomed. My SAGU experience was great, but I really did not meet very many students at all—so that was a big plus of the Grace visit weekend. At this point, I had not yet received the match, so I felt like two of my three prayers had been answered. And as you know, the third answer came as well, with an amazing financial provision from God. I was even awarded two external scholarships, one from Eagle’s Nest Worship Center and one from the Genesis Foundation, both in Omaha. Those scholarships helped pay for room and board and other expenses which were not covered in the match scholarship. Glory to God!! With that, I said, “If God can answer my three prayers in such a profound way, then to Grace it is!”
I hope that my testimony encouraged you to remember to never give up. God does indeed hear our prayers, and He always has our best interests in mind. So don’t give up, don’t back down, and never lose hope. Keep praying for the things that you have yet to see fulfilled. God will make all these things possible in His good and perfect timing.
…Return next week to see how in the world this story relates to Elijah’s mountaintop experience!