Although I had experienced some backsliding in my teenage years, I was beginning to understand the words, Wait on the Lord (Psalms 27:14).
My grandparents were among their village’s first converts to Seventh-day Adventism. I resolved at a young age to serve Jesus. After finishing high school, I decided to become a pastor. I applied to study at Andrews University. I was overjoyed when I was accepted, but my dreams were soon dashed. Twice the embassy denied me a student visa.
Devastated by this setback, I ran away from home. While traveling to Tanzania, my cell phone and all my cash were stolen. Penniless and hungry, I prayed, “Lord, I have forsaken You many times, but please don’t forsake me.”
While on the bus to Tanzania, I struck up a conversation with a Muslim man sitting next to me. This “good Samaritan” shared his food, took me to his home in the capital city of Tanzania, and gave me food and shelter for several weeks while I searched for work. He also counselled me and helped me to contact my family. My mother pleaded with me to come home. I decided to honor her wishes.
As I was thinking about all of my setbacks, I recalled a near fatal accident I had experienced when I was seven years old. I had fallen from the terrace of my family’s third-story apartment. The doctors didn’t think I would survive but, with many prayers and much care, I was healed. My mother insisted, “Son, God has saved you for a purpose.” Recalling my mother’s words reignited my desire to become a pastor.
Although I had experienced some backsliding in my teenage years, I was beginning to understand the words, Wait on the Lord (Psalms 27:14). Still nursing the disappointment of not being able to study at Andrews University, I applied to Spicer Memorial College in India. I was accepted, moved there, and earned my degree. Following graduation, I served as a missionary in the Philippines, South Korea and Laos.
I still desired more training, however. I longed to be a more effective minister for Jesus. I applied to Andrews University again, was accepted, and this time was granted the necessary student visa. I am now studying in the University’s Master of Divinity program with a concentration in chaplaincy. I see now that by waiting on the Lord, I was able to gain valuable experience in missions. While in the Philippines, I also met the woman who would become my wife. Samantha and I have been blessed with two sons, Zachary and Zayin.
Scripture tells us that Lazarus waited in the tomb for four days before Jesus came to him and raised him to new life. Those four days of waiting for Jesus probably seemed like an eternity to Lazarus’ family. I waited fifteen years for a student visa and the life-changing experience of studying at Andrews University. Waiting for Jesus to bring me here sometimes felt like an eternity, too, but I see now that God is always faithful, and always on time—His time.
Timothy Omwega received a full scholarship to Luther Seminary in Minneapolis where he earned a master’s degree in Children, Youth and Family Ministries. He’s now pursuing a second master’s at Andrews University.
Timothy received a $100 scholarship for this article. If you’re a youth or young adult interested in submitting an article for consideration, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.