Golda Poni is the CRESS Enterprise Officer in South Sudan and this is her journey to becoming a university graduate as written by Golda.
I completed my A ‘levels in 2010 and was the best student at my school. It was very exciting to come at the top of my class and many people called me everyday to offer their congratulatory messages. It of course felt great every time someone called to say congratulations or that they had seen me in the national newspapers for best performance, but the joy was always short-lived because the congratulatory messages were always followed by questions of where I was planning to go to university. I had no idea what university I would go to because I did not have any money to go to school. My sponsor had only committed to supporting me in my secondary school studies. Every time my friends asked me about going to the university, I told them I was waiting on God for both direction on what university to go to and for the provision of tuition.
When September, the month to go to the university came, I still did not have tuition so I simply lost hope. I still remember well, seeing my friends post on Facebook the universities they were going to and the excitements in their posts. I remember wishing that God would cause a miracle to happen for me. I remember falling on my knees to pray and ask God to provide tuition for me. I also remember the days that I hated God for not allowing me to go to school. One day while praying, I was reminded that God’s ways were not our ways and that he knew exactly when the right time would be for me to go to school. I then realised that all I needed to do was to wait upon the Lord and when the time was right, I would surely go to school. For the next two years, I volunteered with the orphanage I grew up in and just waited upon the Lord. One thing I have come to deeply believe is that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, God’s promises will always come to pass.
One day in 2012, I received an email from Caroline Lamb, asking to meet me at her hotel and just chat. I did not know anything about her but she mentioned that Bishop Anthony had kindly asked her to meet me, so I went to Lake Victoria hotel to meet her and Disie. Little did I know that it was the day that God had chosen for the miracles and blessings I had prayed for the last two years to be unleashed. We had a very nice chat and had ice creams, then I left and went back to working with the orphanage. I could not believe my eyes when a few months later, I received an email from Caroline saying that Disie was interested in sponsoring me to go to the university! I was too overwhelmed by such kindness and generosity that all I could do was cry. After two years of waiting and trusting, God finally said to me ‘ Golda, you may now go to the university’.
On the 30th of October this year, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and management, scoring a GPA of 4.3 and was awarded a second-class upper degree with honours.
Disie and her son Peter travelled over 4000 miles to come and attend, and the three days I spent with them in Uganda were not only amazing and memorable, but God deeply taught me that his love has the power to bless, encourage, transform and touch lives across borders.
I have learned through the kindness, generosity and love of my sponsors Disie, Adrian and Katie, and how they so willingly and sacrificially gave towards my tuition that we are blessed so we can be a blessing to others.
We are all called to bless people around us and it doesn’t matter if you are blessing to someone in a huge city like London or a small village like Kajo-keji.
To be honest, my graduation day was the best day of my life. Not because it was the day that I became officially done with university education, or because I was going to get a tonne of gifts, or because my amazing sponsors had come for my graduation; though all of this is actually true, but because it was the day that God’s promises had come to pass. God’s blessings and favour were upon me and I knew for sure on that day that he was preparing me for great things.
Today, I just want to thank God. I thank him for blessing me, favouring me, loving me, providing for me and strengthening me in ways that I could never have imagined. I thank God for CRESS, and most especially Caroline Lamb for giving me an opportunity to join the CRESS sponsorship programme, believing in me, encouraging me and giving me the opportunity to give back to the society through my new job with CRESS as Enterprise Officer.
God is working through CRESS in the most amazing ways and many great testimonies shall be told because of their work through sponsorship in South Sudan. I thank my sponsors Disie Rushforth, Adrian Burholt and Katie Burholt for their love, kindness and generosity. Being their sponsored child has blessed me more than they will ever know. It is my prayer that more children would experience the same love, blessing and encouragement as I have through the CRESS sponsorship program.