My Incredible Miracle: A Fully Funded Post-Graduate Studies Program
In early 2019, I’ve been having a strong desire to pursue a post graduate study for my current field of work. I wanted to solidify some of my lessons on the ground with proper grounding in theory and practice. At the same time, I needed to broaden my perspective and lenses beyond the community and area that I was working with.
Thus began my search for a suitable course with these criteria set:
- I wanted it to be a school from abroad so that I can learn from a wider range of cultures and nationalities to have a better grasp of the field.
- The school had to be a practitioner in the field with a strong background of development work.
- The course had to be somewhat hybrid. It is impossible for me to study full time due to family, work and resources. However, I wanted to still be able to meet my course mates and lecturers in person for that physical interaction. (mind you, this was pre-pandemic and hybrid learning was not as common)
Thus, after weeks of research, I finally settled with two schools, of which, School for International Training (SIT) was the one I finally enrolled in.
I went at length to do the necessary application and was successfully offered a place, yet I wasn’t sure where my funding was coming from. All I knew was — 1) there was a strong desire to do this so I’ve got to give my all, and 2) I felt an overwhelming peace by God to pursue this.
After all the paperwork, in May 2019 (summer) the school eventually gave me a “final” email after not hearing from me for awhile. The email indicated that if I am unable to pay the deposit — I would have to consider applying again the next intake, or at least defer a semester. I was given 72 hours to pay up approximately RM10,000 as my first payment. The rest can be staggered by semester.
The month of May and June was spent praying and asking God for a sign to proceed. I did not have any money allocated for this desire, so again (as this has been the case the last 6–7 years), I am relying on the Lord’s mighty hand.
It’s takes great trust to rest and completely fall in the mighty hands of God.
With about 24 hours left, I told my wife, Deb — “looks like I do not have much choice, but to defer my enrolment”. She looked at me with jest and responded, “but you have 24 more hours, keep on praying and believing…”
As though written in the stars (though on hindsight I knew it was written in the heavens), I received a text from someone that she would contribute a sum to my education because she has observed the track record of the both of us and hope this gift would multiply many folds.
The sum was RM10,000. Exactly to the dot what I needed to kick start my studies.
A gulf of emotions overwhelmed me. I remembered tears but I also recalled screaming at the top of my lungs! I shouted from one end of the home to Deb — “I got it!!!”
This initial seed fund was my seed of hope — that when every semester arrives for payment, I would earnestly believe by faith that God would meet me. And by the end of two years — He did exactly that.
Let me share just 3 instances:
- I was casually catching up with a pastor sharing with him some updates in my life. He was going through a tremendously challenging period in his life, having lost his home and belongings and is in the process of rebuilding it again. At the end of our chat — he turned to me and said, “Terence, I know you didn’t ask for this but I felt led to do this — let me contribute RM X to your education”.
I responded the Asian way — “No, no, no, no, no…… I am not able to accept this. Let’s talk about this after you’ve sorted out your home”. Eventually, after much discourse, I accepted it and walked away from that table with tears streaming down — because I felt unworthy of such kindness and generosity. This incident alone helped alter my perspective that giving should happen DESPITE your current circumstance. It’s one thing to say it, another thing to live it. In this case, I was the beneficiary of it and I told myself, it would need to overflow through me from now on.
- When I felt the leading to ask two friends if they’d be keen to sponsor my education — I was hesitant. I am bad at asking, what more — asking for myself. But as I delayed, God was correcting some of my wrong assumptions. I wasn’t asking for myself — I was asking for something bigger than myself. The Asian mentality do not encourage us to “ask” because it may make us look bad or subservient. But the kingdom mentality is always something bigger than a single individual — it is about the impact and investment towards others. And this, I had to repent, change my mindset and acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
“The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring (Isaiah 58:11).”
Oh, the friends that I approached was amazingly generous beyond my wildest imagination!
- At the final semester for my course, I was billed a final RM10,000. I had exhausted all the other support and it was down to this final balance. I told myself that if nothing comes, I’ll just put this on my credit card and carry this “loan” for the next year or so. Again, I had to repent from such thinking. If God has brought me this far — securing by now up to RM70,000+, surely He can complete this (How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? — Galatians 3:3).
Something extraordinary happened. So, in a previous semester, there was a group of us who wrote in to the school for a complain of a particular subject that did not meet the objectives of the course. Simply put, what the subject offered on paper was nothing as to what was taught. We wrote in our grievances and honestly expected nothing much. Lo and behold, at the start of the final semester, the school wrote back to me indicating that they will proceed with giving me the credit for that course BUT they will refund the entire sum for the module. (WHATTT?!) So the total sum refunded was the exact amount required to pay the balance that final semester.
In a nutshell — for two years, 6 semesters, a full Masters course in an international university, a study trip to Mexico pre pandemic — was all paid and covered by the Grand Weaver Himself.
The above are just three examples of how God never allowed me to lack. Not once. Despite, In spite of, Although… I have wavered, I have doubted and I was faithless.
Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
The last two years of studies has been one of the most stretching years in terms of family, work, transitions, studies and growth — but it wouldn’t even be close to possible if I’ve misplaced my trust and anchor in anything else except my God and Lord, Jesus.
I’ll pen another post about how I juggled it all together but for now, I hope this story gives you the courage to believe and boldness to take your next step of faith — in God.
I worship You in spite of how I feel
I serve You despite my weaknesses and flaws
I glorify You in light of the grace You’ve poured to me