I worked hard. I approached a lot of people to make sure that I get this scholarship. I kept pushing all my referees to draft that reference letter. I did not want anything to stand in the way of my scholarship. I finally submitted the application. Then, I waited for feedback. Hours turned into days, and days into months. Lastly, I got the email. It read as follows:
An enormous number of qualified candidates applied for these awards. An independent shortlisting panel was formed to assess applications and recommend the most suitable applicants for a selection interview. The shortlisting panel completed its analysis of this much competitive intake, and we regret to inform you that you were not selected for an interview on this occasion.
This email marked the beginning of a series of rejection emails. From 2012 to 2014, I kept receiving these very wonderfully woven messages that pierced my heart. God, why?
I became bitter. I resolved that I will never apply for another scholarship again. I told myself, ‘they already have a list of the people that they are looking for, and I am not one of those people.’ So it doesn’t make sense for me to continue making scholarship applications.
After some serious thought, I said let me try just one more time. I created an account and started going through the application requirements. At first glance, I felt that they were demanding a lot of things. But I still continued with the application.
Then, a little voice whispered inside of me ‘why are you wasting your time?’ I listened to this voice, and I logged out.
Weeks after, I got a reminder from the Chevening Secretariatabout my incomplete application. It was at this point that I realized that it was God speaking to me. After this, I logged in and completed my application.Clicked the submit button and that was it.
Then the waiting process began. I am sure you have an idea about what was going on in my head.
Fast forward to 2015 February, I received an email with the following introductory paragraph:
After reviewing your application for a Chevening Award 2015/2016, we are pleased to inform you that your application has been progressed to the next stage of the selection process, and you have been selected to attend an interview.
I was excited. I thanked God. I started praying and preparing for the interviews. By the grace of God, I met a very blessed panel which was even scarier.
Weeks after the interview I got another email. It read as follows:
We are delighted to inform you that the selection committee was very impressed with your application and interview and had conditionally selected you for a 2015/2016 Chevening Award. Chevening Awards are prestigious and highly competitive so congratulations for reaching this stage!
I worked on all the papers. I was only remaining with the English language test. The conditional Chevening award has some requirements that a candidate has to meet for the candidate to receive a Final Award Letter (FAL). Among the key requirements is that a candidate needs to take an English language test. The candidates are allowed to take a TOEFL test, IELTS test or PTE Academic test.
On 8th June 2015, I booked for a TOEFL iBT test. The exam was scheduled to take place on Saturday, 27th June 2015, at 9:30 am. The day of the exam came. I went to take the test. I was informed that I had to wait because they were some technical problems with the computer system. The technical team worked to rectify the problem, but 2 hours passed without anything concrete. After waiting for more than 2 hours, I was told that they could not fix the problem. The only option left, was to reschedule the test.
According to the calendar of the test centre, the next exam was scheduled for 1 August 2015. After this incident, I tried to look for other options which are PTE Academic test and IELTS test. The next test for IELTS was 23rd July 2015, and this was after the deadline of 15 July 2015. I wrote Chevening Secretariat explaining my situation, and this was their response:
If I you are unable to take the TOEFL or another acceptable test and send the results by the deadline, your award will be withdrawn.
This became one of the longest weekends for me. All my hopes were shattered. I had no option.I was bitter and angry again at God and myself. But then, I went back to God and cried to Him. After this session God gave me this piece of scripture:
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow (Mat 6:25-34 NKJ).
This scripture did not make any sense, but I chose to trust God. It is after this scripture that I had the energy to start doing research on other alternatives in as far as English tests are concerned.After doing research, I found that they were some PTE Academic test openings in Kenya and Zimbabwe. The ideal option was Kenya but like I said I had no money.
God continued to speak to me, and he told me to write an email and send it to a list of people. I obliged and did as the Lord instructed. In 4 days God provided exam fees for a PTE Academic test to be taken in Kenya. He also offered money for a return air ticket and accommodation.
I wrote the test in Kenya on Saturday of that week. The results were ready the same day. The Lord granted success, and my joy was restored again. I then remembered Matt 6:25-34. It all started to make sense. I submitted by my PTE Academic Certificate and mid-July I received my Final Award Letter(FAL). I couldn’t believe that this was happening.
I have shared this story because of someone who has given up on God. I have shared this story because of a brother or sister who has failed many times. I have written this story for someone who does not believe they deserve to get a scholarship. God is still on the throne. You are his business, and nothing is impossible with him. It is written “Is anything too hard for the LORD? (Gen 18:14 NKJ)”