It’s that time of year again – millions of students are applying to colleges and universities all over the world. The choice these young people make will likely determine the course of their lives. What an enormous undertaking!
Do you know what else is this month? It’s Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month and I find myself reflecting on how I came to where I am now in the United States of America.
I was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. I came to the US to attend college in Oklahoma. You may be curious – why Oklahoma?
Prior to finishing high school, many of my friends were planning to study abroad. I was applying for Indonesian colleges because my dad wanted me to stay close by. My mom, on the other hand, wanted me to study in the US. She was secretly applying to schools in Oklahoma for me. She chose Oklahoma because the husband of her closest cousin served on an Air Force base there. She knew I would apply to an Indonesian college because of my dad and for back up I would apply to a US college in California because some of my friends were going there. Neither of these choices was what she was praying for however.
I was accepted into one of the Indonesian universities, but after careful consideration, I had second thoughts and could not commit to going there. My dad was crushed. Then, to our surprise, I was accepted into one of the schools where my mother had applied, which is not too far from where her cousin lived in Oklahoma. It was not what I was looking for in an Architecture school, but she said I could transfer to the college of my choice after staying there for one or two semesters.
Then God reminded me of my grandfather, who ever since I was in elementary school, persistently mentioned that I should study in the US. He even assured my parents he would pay for my college tuition if my parents could not. That was how I ended up here, studying in Oklahoma and then transferring to the University of Maryland, College Park.
I believe it was God who put the desire in my grandfather’s heart for my future. It was God who caused my mother to be in prayer for me and prompted her to take action. It was also God who worked in my father’s heart and mine to be in alignment with His will.
My dad, who originally was against the idea of me studying abroad, visited me in Maryland. He loved the school and the DMV area so much that he bought us a house near the campus so my brother and two other sisters could live and study here as well.
As I continue to reflect over these last 33 years in the US, I see how God has enriched my life. I gained a new family in Oklahoma, my aunt’s family. Then I met my husband in College Park, and we were married and blessed with children. My siblings joined me in Maryland to study and continued to live here, married, and had their own families. I also gained another family here in Columbia at Bridgeway Community Church where I am loved and growing in Christ.
I experienced that what is impossible for men is possible with God. One was a miracle in my father’s life. My father who still lived in Indonesia was very ill and almost died. He was flown from Indonesia along with a medical doctor to receive hospital care here in Bethesda. Even though many people thought he would not make it, he was not only healed but also dedicated his life to Christ and was baptized. Just a few months later, he walked one of my sisters down the aisle.
You see, my grandfather’s simple declaration when I was just a child changed the course of generations across the globe.
This reflection has led me to desire to be more attentive to what the Holy Spirit puts on my heart, to be intentionally praying for it, and to take action in obedience.
I praise God and am thankful for my grandparents, my parents, and all the people that God has placed in my life including you!
No matter where you are from or where you are today, each and every one of us is part of His divine plan for His will to be established.
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