Miracles of Living Hope
Marilyn Uhl will be the first to tell you that establishing and running Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya couldn’t happen without God. She will also tell you that the longer she’s in Africa, the stronger her faith grows. Marilyn has seen God work things out in strange and powerful ways when even she didn’t believe He would. “I don’t know why we don’t have total faith because He never lets us down.” she reminds us. “He might not answer us the way we want or when we want, but He always has our good in mind.” The Living Hope journey continues with true stories of the miraculous ways God is working in the lives of Marilyn and her students.
Most of us cannot imagine living in the world that Ezekiel was living in during the post-election violence of 2007. His whole country had erupted into tribal warfare, corruption was rampant, and no one could be trusted. At the time, Ezekiel’s parents were teaching their children the family business of preparing alcohol to sell to customers. It was a dangerous business, not one suited for children; but was the means of survival for them all. Thankfully, Ezekiel’s parents also believed in the importance of school, so he had attended elementary classes and was excited to enter 7th grade with his friends, but… a brutal attack changed everything.
Ezekiel’s family lived in a mud and grass hut on land bordering another tribe. It would be that tribe who would take everything from Ezekiel. The tribal leaders decided they wanted the land the family owned and so in the dark of night, they surrounded the small home and set the roof on fire. Ezekiel’s father was the first to confront the trespassers. He was killed immediately. His mother then ran from the home and Ezekiel watched in horror as she was dragged, screaming into the bush never to be seen again. As the roof of the hut began to collapse, the children had no choice but to leave the “safety” of the hut, too. Miraculously, the attacking tribesmen weren’t interested in the kids. With fear propelling them, they scattered into the pitch-black night.
Separated from what was left of his family and with no way to communicate with his brothers and sisters, Ezekiel decided to try and make it to his Uncle who lived on the family home place. It would be a long, hard journey. Ezekiel was thirteen and his life had been violently ripped from him. Getting to his Uncle was the only way he could see to start a new life and so he began to walk. He walked all day and hid himself along the road to sleep at night. He walked and walked and walked some more all the while trying not to think about how hungry he was. Terrorized by the memories of what had happened to his family, exhausted, with no food, no money, he continued to put one foot in front of the other. Ezekiel will tell you that he didn’t know Jesus at this time so he wasn’t praying, but hope still arrived in the form of a rumbling sound behind him. He knew the approaching truck would take him into town. In a split second, just as the truck passed by, Ezekiel leapt onto the back of the semi and held on for his very life! Once on, he knew he couldn’t safely get off until the truck came to a stop; so there he was, a young boy, weak from hunger, clinging with all his might as the truck made its way over bumps and around curves in the small hope that he was on the final leg of his journey to a new life.When the truck finally arrived at its destination, Ezekiel literally fell off the back. He’d held on to the truck for so long he could hardly stand. It had taken him two weeks to get to this point and he was exhausted, but from deep within, Ezekiel found his strength and finally made it to his Uncle’s home.
Ezekiel settled in and returned to school. He was informed that he would have to repeat Grade 6 but he never gave up because he knew that education was important. Ezekiel moved on to High School. He hadn’t been able to pay the fees but the teachers let him attend until he could get the money. At the end of the second term Ezekiel still was unable to pay and so the school sent him home.
In the time Ezekiel had spent with his Uncle, he’d come to know and accept Jesus as his Savior. As time passed and it looked like school wouldn’t be possible, Ezekiel’s Uncle reminded him not to worry, but rather to pray. And pray he did. One evening Ezekiel’s Uncle went with friends to a wedding. While traveling back and forth his Uncle learned of Living Hope High School and the help they provide for students who can’t afford an education. Hearing this, Ezekiel’s prayers increased. Waiting was hard but he knew his journey wasn’t over. January turned into April and finally Ezekiel was asked to go to Living Hope for an interview. He soon received his admission letter and found himself a student at Living Hope High School. Ezekiel was dedicated to learning as much as he could both in his subjects and about the Bible, all the while thanking God for the miracle of continuing his education.
Ezekiel’s journey was difficult. It was long. It wasn’t the one he’d ever planned to take, and yet, he is right where he’s meant to be! He graduated from Living Hope High School and now is studying Dentistry at the University. Ezekiel says he was lost, but God found him and step by step led him to his future. He now plans to use his skills as a dentist to give back to his community. More than that though, it is Ezekiel’s greatest hope to tell everyone he meets his story about God and all that He has done; inviting them (and now you) to join him on the miraculous journey that leads to everlasting life!
“So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’” Luke 15:3-6 (NLT)
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For more information on Living Hope High School, go to www.livinghopehighschool.org