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Prayer of Faith

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, January 28.

By Andrew McChesney


lia had a big problem. He had graduated from high school in Tanzania. He had been accepted into the University of Arusha, which belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But he didn’t have enough money for tuition.

The University of Arusha had not been Elia’s first choice. He had put the Adventist university in third place on his list of five universities at which he would like to study. But then he had called his friend Joseph, a classmate from high school, to ask where he planned to study.

“Let’s go to the University of Arusha,” Joseph said. “It would be nice to be together.”

Elia thought that it would be nice to be together with Joseph. They both applied to the University of Arusha, and they both were accepted to study for a bachelor’s degree in education.

Elia and Joseph congratulated themselves and thanked God. But both lacked the money to cover their tuition at the university. They applied for state financial aid.

The week before his departure, Elia attended a week of prayer at the Yombo Seventh-day Adventist Church. The pastor asked people to write down their prayer requests on pieces of paper. To Elia’s surprise, he found himself not writing down a prayer request but a prayer of gratitude.

“Thank You, God, for allowing me to enroll in the University of Arusha and for helping me receive financial aid to cover my tuition,” he wrote.

He had not received any financial aid, but he wrote, believing that God would grant it.

On Friday, Elia and Joseph went to the bus station to book tickets for the 375-mile (600-kilometer) trip from Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, to the university in the town of Usa River. After paying for the bus tickets, Joseph wondered out loud about their future.

“We have booked the tickets to Arusha but, as you know, we are strangers there,” he said. “How are we going to survive with no financial aid?’’

“Do you believe in God?” Elia asked.

“Yes, but …” Joseph said.

Elia asked him again.

“Is not the God you believe in the same that I also believe in?” he said.

“Yes,” Joseph said.

“Because God allowed us to book the bus tickets, He will help us survive,” Elia said.

Later that day, Elia and Joseph received word that their financial aid had been approved. Joseph called Elia to express astonishment.

“The faith that you showed is overwhelming,” he said.

On Sabbath, Elia went to church and shared the good news. To him, it was a real miracle. The pastor prayed for him, and the church members wished God’s blessings on his stay at the University at Arusha.

Today, Elia is finishing his studies at the university. He has befriended many students who moved to the university after being dismissed from their universities over their observance of the Sabbath. He realizes that he would not have been able to keep the Sabbath if he had gone to another university.

“I started my university journey with high hopes of getting a better education, and I have not regretted my decision,” he says.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help the University at Arusha expand with the construction of a new multipurpose hall.

“Currently, our University in Arusha has a shortage of buildings,” Elia says. “Your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help complete a building with many classrooms and offices that will help many students obtain a wholistic education. God bless you as you plan to make your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering this quarter.”