Each year the students of Chris Blake’s sophomore-level editing class at Union College produce the February issue of OUTLOOK. Since our overall theme for 2014 is discipleship, we asked the students to share, through their own experiences, what discipleship means to them.
The following article was written by Jah-Babe Aigbokah, a social science major and communication minor from Lagos, Nigeria.
To view the print version (designed by Jeannie Hinrichs, a journalism and public relations major from Orlando, Florida) see pages 14-15 of the February 2014 issue, available at outlookmag.org/print-issues.
Christ Jesus! Thank you!” I yelled. Dad looked at me and smiled after I hugged him. He had no idea how great I felt.
“Make sure you choose a career path you love. That way you’ll enjoy your job and be successful in it,” my parents had always advised. I couldn’t decide what career I desired, so I prayed to God to reveal His will for me. One morning, I sat at the balcony of my house and pondered what occupation to choose. That’s when my dad walked in.
“Daddy, I’m finding it hard to decide what career path I want. I need your ideas, please.”
“Think of your past,” Dad said. “Is there anything you enjoyed and might want to do?”
I had flashbacks of when my dad was a pilot and took me into the Boeing 747 cockpit before his flights. The numerous buttons I saw in the cockpit and the bird’s-eye view fascinated me.
I thought of how wonderful it’d be to fly an airplane. It was, and is, my dream to fly! That’s when I hugged my dad tightly. This decision excited me because I love travelling, and flying would be a job I’d put all my heart into; therefore, I’d have the best of both worlds. I communicated with flight schools and received responses, but Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida caught my attention. A few weeks later, I returned to school in Lagos, Nigeria to complete the semester and work toward my dream job. After the semester, I realized my parents had made a decision to send me to Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“It’s a Christian school,” Mom explained. “You’ll get closer to God. But if you need to, we’ll let you transfer to another school after your first year.”
I was unhappy about their plan, but in my culture children have to respect their parents’ decision. I applied to Union, was accepted, and began a major in social science. During the year, I made some good friends and adapted to the environment as I built a relationship with God. I’d thought, Maybe this is where God wants me to be. It’s probably part of His divine plan for me.
Toward the end of my freshman year, I was still set on my aspirations of being an airline pilot. I decided to attain a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management before flight training to give me a comprehensive scope in the aviation sector, so I applied to Florida Institute of Technology (FIT).
WELCOME TO FLORIDA TECH. NOT.
While I was back in Lagos for the summer, I received a package from FIT. I opened it and saw a “Welcome to Florida Tech” card, a rucksack with an airplane monogrammed on it, and a letter of acceptance. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I ran to my parents to show them what I received. I felt like God had this planned out for me.
“Wow! My baby, congratulations,” my mom exclaimed.
“My pilot,” my dad praised me. “I know how much you want this.”
I could tell they were proud of me. I had no doubt that God had this under control. To complete the transfer process, I had to move my Form I-20* to FIT, but that step couldn’t be accomplished, and the only option was to go back to Union. I was unhappy and lost hope.
When I returned to Union, I felt like my dream was shattered. I sat in my room sobbing, and asked God, Why are you letting this happen? Please show me a sign, because I won’t stop coming to You until You answer me!
MESSENGER FROM GOD
One hot afternoon, as I shared lunch with my friend, Sherry, I told her about my struggle and burst into tears. She embraced me and said, “Awww Jabz, I’m sure there’s a reason for this.” She hugged me tighter. “Have you thought about going to Andrews?”
“Andrews?” I replied in confusion.
“Andrews University. My cousin is in their aviation program.”
I grew up in a Catholic home, but as we kept talking, I figured out it’s a Christian university. God had come to comfort me through Sherry. “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (James 4:8, NIV). This reminds me that God called me to be His disciple, so He led me back to Union.
I’m making arrangements now to transfer to Andrews. I’ve realized that what I considered the process of my struggle, God called the end of it. My growth with Jesus is a journey—a process that will continue for the rest of my life, because even after I obtain my pilot licensing, I’ll keep growing in Him.