Whilst ordinary children lived their average lives with peace and stability, I lived and survived on the edge of a battlefield. For my brothers and I, it was a dream to be able to live the dreary daily routines of ordinary Korean children. It was indeed too much to ask for to even dream of walking to school and play with friends in Sudan. My life was more confusing and chaotic than that I would hope it to be. However despite all the difficulties and obstacles, I was able to progress onwards and make it so far only by the grace of God and his strength in me.
When I entered Primary School (equivalent of elementary school), I had to face many difficulties as an Asian student and as a Christian student. I studied at a British school and the thing about this place was that all the students were children of high government officials with power, and as a result, the staff members and teachers grew to fear the students. If they did anything to take disciplinary actions or even annoy the students, the teachers would be deported out of the country, and the school would be forced to close down for a couple of months. During this stage of my life, I had to endure extreme harassment and physical abuse. It was during this time where I started to grow and nurture a beast called anguish within me. Whenever I was getting beaten or was forced to watch my brothers get beaten while pinned against the tree, I felt immense emotional pain. I was hurting on the inside because despite the fact I was the older brother, I was helpless and too weak to protect even my own brothers. It wasn’t fair to be harassed and beaten only because of my ethnicity and my faith. These were times where I cried out for protection and vengeance. I felt angry and sorry at the same time. We were in Sudan to preach love to these people but there I was, hating, crying out for vengeance. During these times my parents were too busy and I couldn’t show my parents the bruises and scabs that I had suffered. Well you see they already had too much things to do on their hands, and being the first-born I couldn’t allow my self to whimper. Whenever I was beaten, I made sure that my face was intact, but my body, arms and legs were always bloody and bruised. These were the wounding stage of my life.
My life began to change when I moved to another school in Kenya called Rift Valley Academy. Just like Sudan, the country was what people would call the “bush”. However RVA was very different from Sudan. All the students were MKs just like me. Here I was able to relate and understand people, and others were able to understand me. In Sudan I wasn’t able to relate to other people because of the fact my parents were missionaries, and Sudanese weren’t that nice to missionaries. It was in RVA where I met the loving God, not the God who dumped responsibilities on my shoulders, but a God who shared the burden. It was in RVA where I learned to forgive and move forward. In RVA, I was able to meet and talk with people who had to experience similar things as I did, and through meeting great mentors and facing the anguish that I had, I was able to be free of my past experiences.
One could say that my life was less extreme compared to other African MKs, but one could also say my life is the testimony of recovery and reconciliation with my self through the power of the love that God gave us. Through the suffering that I’ve gone through, I have matured and have realized the power of forgiveness and its ability to help one progress and move forward. Now, if someone asked me if I would go through the same ordeal again, then my answer would be yes. Every life is a blessing whether the conditions are favorable or not.
As hard times hit me like crashing waves,
I clench my fist and heart,
Remembering the scars that I had neglected
for the fear of tears, I move on.
I keep on moving,
Whispering to the wind and the clear blue sky,
"I will persevere."
Oppurtunity for Studying at Christian University
My name is Y--- and I was born and bred in the streets of Lahore, Pakistan. I am currently pursuing my 6th semester at HGU. My parents decided to send me to a Christian school. Being in a country like Pakistan, where Christians are a minority, it has always been hard for me to fit in. When I went to St. Peters High School, I felt like I was around people who I could connect with on the basis of my faith and Christian beliefs. Our days used to start off with the praise of God Almighty and a prayer, which refreshed our souls and filled it with love and gratefulness to God. But being the minority, I felt like a part of me always felt left out and felt held back from being my true self in front of people. Coming to a university like Handong could only be something that I could dream of for the longest of time. When I saw the email of the opportunity of an exchange semester here, I was highly grateful to God that He saw me worthy enough of getting a place in HGU with a scholarship. Being at HGU, I feel so welcomed by the university’s entire community. My main vision was to go somewhere where I could truly be myself and express myself with my own people. I wanted to explore new dimensions of my faith and further pursue the talents given to me by the Lord. HGU has taught me what it feels like to be a Christian in the truest meaning and form. My biggest motivation came from when I recently started my degree at my home university and I knew I was meant for something more, more than just academia alone. I wanted to make a difference to my community by being a part of something big. When I saw HGU’s motto “Why Not Change the World” I knew it was where I belonged. Being a part of HGU has been a true honor that I will carry with myself all my life. It has been one of the experiences that stay with you and have a life changing impact on you. It has renewed my faith and given it a new meaning and purpose. It wouldn’t have been possible without the scholarship and I am immensely grateful that I was thought to be worthy of one. Without it, I wouldn’t have come to HGU because of the expenses and the hardships my family would have faced. So, thank you for sponsoring me and giving me this chance to groom myself and my personality in every way that I couldn’t possibly imagine. This has been a rollercoaster ride for me and I have learnt so much and am still learning. I am hoping to give back as much as I can to the HGU community and when I go back to Pakistan, I am eager to tell everyone about my experience and the people of Korea and Handong.