2018 has been a great year, I always laugh when my friend uses the hashtag #2018IsTheFuture. He has used the same hashtag for the past years and I just love the positive vibe the tag carries with it. At the beginning of the year, I set out to have coffee with 25 people, to listen to their stories and pray with them. This was the best thing in my entire life because not only did I get to hear their stories, I got to pray with them, their stories inspired me and gave me some strength for the journey, needless to say I surpassed the goal and it is not the end of the year yet. Of course, some accepted my coffee request while some declined “they are too cool” but I am used to it.
Today’s coffee date got me buying a whole packet of paper towels because I was balling like a baby with tears of joy, excitement and hope. I met a young man who graduated yesterday with a Degree in Business. He requested me to keep his name anonymous because he believes God is still writing his story and it is not ready to be shared to the world yet, so to speak. I will call him Juma for now. Juma was born in small village in Congo, his parents were killed when young and at a very young age he fled Congo to find refuge in Tanzania. While at a refugee camp in Tanzania, Juma knew that one day God will change his situation. He spent sleepless nights wondering and dreaming of what the future held for him and boy did he dream!!!!!
While at the camp, Juma grew up just like any other kid, playing soccer, dancing, being sent to the shops and never lost hope that one day his circumstance would change. Then one day, word came to the camp that Juma would be leaving the camp and relocate to the United states. Juma was excited because he knew this was the moment he hd been waiting for, and terrified at the same time because he had no idea what would happen when he got to America. Juma’s first two years were filled with so much culture shock and a struggle to find his identity halfway across the ocean.
Fast forward to College life and never in his dreams did Juma think that he was worth college, afford college or even graduate. At this point his eyes were teary and I was too; two African dudes crying at a coffee shop. He dared to go into college with so much faith that God would see him through, he had a hard time in his freshman year because every concept was still new for him. Because of his grades and lack of finances, Juma had to leave college for a year where he worked in factories trying to make ends meet. After a year, Juma applied to two schools that rejected him, he was devastated and had so many questions to God. He went online and bought a ticket back to Africa because he thought that his life would be hard if he stayed in America.
One day while at a wall mat parking lot, crying with his bible next to his seat, a lady who had parked next to him knocked on his window to which Juma quickly wiped his tears and came out to say hi. Juma is polite, quiet, calm and did not have any problem coming out to engage in a conversation. The lady told him that she worked with international students and something in her could not allow her to leave without checking on him. One thing leads to another and Juma was accepted in one of the colleges again. Juma was not only accepted, but the same lady ensured that with the help of her friends and family, Juma stayed in school till his graduation.
This week, Juma walked across the stage in tears. The still voice in his heart whispers to him every day that God is with him and he is going to use him in great way. Juma told me that he does not take for granted every single day he wakes up and goes to school. He also mentioned that He knows now that God has his back and that he may never have experienced his immediate family’s love but every day he feels and sees God’s love. He has so much confident that God is only beginning something in him and the possibilities are endless.
Juma’s story reminds me of David in the Bible, who God had anointed when young and was with him throughout his life because David was with God as well. Juma looked into my eyes and said “Mordecai, one day you will walk that stage too,” at this point, I poured all the drops of tears left in my body. It was like Jesus breathing the words “I got you Mordecai.” The other thing that stood out for me in Juma’s story is the lady who allowed God to use her to play a part in Juma’s story. I believe that we save our greatest honor for people who sacrifice so much to help others and this lady is one of those people. I was wondering to myself, how many times do we get too busy and get so caught up in doing things for ourselves that we miss moments that God could use us to play a huge role in someone’s life? Because she believed in Juma, I can sit with Juma and be transformed by Jumas story.
I do not know where you are at in Juma’s story. It could be a totally different path, school, carreer, marriage or relationship. Juma’s story is a reminder that God is still with you. He watches over you day and night, and He has great plans for you. Do not let your current circumstances blind your perspective on who God is in your life and his promises for you. Some of you could be that lady who God used in Juma’s life. Maybe there someone somewhere who needs your shoulder to step on and if you do not make yourself available, they will still remain the same. Start seeing the potential in the people you interact with.
Juma, I know you will read this blog, I want you to know that the best is yet to come and keep on telling your story. Brother, you inspired me and gave me so much hope. I love you bro.