Ps 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
About this series…
There is so much God has done in my life and I decided to put it in writing to remind myself of His past faithfulness and to encourage someone else. The testimonies are not in chronological order.
The year was December 2002. I was a sophomore at University of Wisconsin,Green Bay. It had been slightly over a year since I left my home country, Kenya, and went for studies in the United States. Nobody adequately prepares you for the culture shock or the adjustments you must make in your thinking, your talking, etc. For example, unlike Kenya where many people consider a car a luxury and where we have an efficient public transport system, a car in the town where I lived was a necessity not a luxury. Yes I had my siblings and we were always there for each other, but like anyone who has lived in the United States will tell you, you have such diverse schedules even if you live in the same house. Sometimes, we did not see each other until the weekend.
That December, one of my friends was transferring schools and moving to another town, and she was selling her car. I quickly jumped at the opportunity. The price was right, I only needed to take a small loan from the bank. With the convenience of a car, it meant I could work late the following semester and not have to rely on the public bus, which would not operate after 7.30pm. After all, I needed to work as much as I could since I was paying my school fees. It was a quick transaction – I transferred the money to her account, she dropped the car at the house I shared with my siblings.
I hardly knew how to drive, but the rather beat up red Toyota Camry was mine. My very first car!! I made sure to keep it clean and got it an air freshener, as most people do for their first car. However, it did not take long before the car started to give me scares. One day as I was driving, it seemed the wheels had a mind of their own as they veered off the road. I struggled to stay on the road and as I braked, I skidded on the slippery wintry road. When this happened the second time, I knew it was time to go to the mechanic.
I dropped the car at the mechanic and went to school. As soon as I got home, I found a message on the answering machine to call him back. I dialed his number, feeling hopeful.
“Esther, who sold you this car?” this was his first question, and that is when I knew we had a real problem.
Long story short, the car had so many problems, the mechanic was sure someone had conned me. But I knew the person who had sold it to me and I was sure they had no idea the car had such severe damages.
I got a ride to the garage and the mechanic showed me the extent of the wear and tear. Because of the harsh Wisconsin winters, there was extensive damage on the underneath parts of the car. The mechanic advised that it would be cheaper to buy a new car than to repair this particular one. I thanked him and took the car home and packed it in the garage. And then I went to my room and broke down into tears. I counted everything that had gone against me – I was now paying back a loan for a useless car. I could no longer work evenings because I did not have a ride home. My school fees arrears still needed to be paid. All these things came down and overwhelmed me.
Like David says in Psalm 73:26, my heart failed me.
I felt abandoned by God – but the truth is, God was already making a way for me.
The first thing God did for me was provide a ride to school and back from a friend. She offered to pick and drop me from home every morning and evening until I had it figured out.
The following Sunday, I went to church with my sisters as usual. When the pastor asked for people who needed prayers. I went forward. I explained to the pastor my predicament. He prayed for me and then told me, “There is a gentleman here in church who fixes cars. I will talk to him. I am not promising anything, but I will talk to him and see if he can help.”
I went home my spirit lighter. I felt like a burden had been lifted.