After a couple months of praying and pleading with God to show me where to go after high school, that summer I started packing my bags ready for Union College. Coming from a traditional African household, leaving home, especially for a girl, was unacceptable for most families. I saw life from a completely different perspective than the people around me.

When they discovered my plans for college, they spent most of their summer trying to change my mind. They presented me with a lot of opinions and options of what I should do and where I should go for college. Nothing resonated with me. It didn’t feel right to make a decision about my life’s journey based on their opinions. In my heart, I felt that if I took that path I was going to forever wonder what life would have been like if I followed my heart and waited for God’s leading.

It was frustrating, as many people were discouraging my choice. They would ask how I was going to make it in a new environment or who would be there for me. There was fear that came along with their words; it was hard to think about my choice as the time was approaching quickly.

I prayed for God’s guidance because I deeply desired to go somewhere for college where I felt free to learn more about my life’s purpose, my dreams, and develop my personal relationship with God. I had to pick a side. I could have either chosen to go along and follow other’s opinions, or I could have chosen to have faith and go regardless. It was hard.

Walking on water

I was impressed and inspired to have faith in God through His Word. I was reminded of the song by Hillsong, “Oceans.” Maybe God was calling me to walk upon the waters. Maybe I have to get out in order to find my purpose.

I was spiritually challenged as I wrestled with different point of views and what God wanted for my life. My faith was on shaky ground, and the only one I could call upon was God. I had to look beyond my circumstances and find my trust in God alone.

After I made my decision, I told everybody. Because of my choice they couldn’t help or support me. Two weeks before fall semester, I found myself leaving home alone. “If it doesn’t work out, I will return”, I told myself. I was on the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, with no one else but God. Leaving everything behind me, and the people I have been around all my life, was the hardest part.

Yet the moment I arrived on the campus of Union College, I was happy and thrilled and a little nervous. Jesus became my everything and has been ever since in ways I have never experienced or imagined. This is where I began my new chapter. If it wasn’t for His constant love that encouraged me to take a leap of faith—if it wasn’t for who He is—I don’t know where I would be today.

Tuyisenge Dina is currently a student at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.