Her name is Olivia Krebs now. These are her memories of the scholarship trip she took 5 years ago. Everyone that we talk to says this is a valuable experience and a recruiting tool for new missionaries. After reading Olivia’s story you can contribute to this fund by sending a check to the ND District Office PO Box 9029
Fargo, ND 58106-9029
or the Minnesota North District Office at PO Box 604, Brainerd, MN 56401-0604
Here’s Olivia –
I was a Mary Okeyo Scholar in 2012 and traveled with a group of college students from North Dakota and Minnesota. We traveled around the country, visiting different orphan rescue centers and spending time with the children at the centers.
I met a “prayer buddy” at one orphan rescue center. We were visiting a school that was working in connection with one of the orphan rescue centers. The principal was busy speaking to the pastors and other college students about the building (and other boring things), so I snuck away from the group to sit down with the teachers.
First of all, I was a grand total of 20 years old, and I was surprised that many of the women who were teaching were much younger than I was. They had accomplished so much in a short time, and were sharing their knowledge with the next generation of Kenyan students. Those women were so sassy and so proud that God had called them teach. It was inspiring just to sit and listen to them share stories about their lives and the children they teach.
One young woman was named Rosalina. She was very humble, but one of the teachers pointed out that she was graduating high school with impressive marks (quite an accomplishment for a girl in Kenya) and she was going to a university on a scholarship to be a teacher. Rosalina was shy, but we talked for what seemed like forever about attending a university. She was so proud that she would have the opportunity to keep learning and later share those experiences with other girls when she became a teacher herself.
At some point the rest of the group came to find me, and we had to leave. I was sad to leave my new friend. Rosalina asked me for my phone number so we could text, but Verizon does not offer “an unlimited calls to Kenya” plan. I asked Rosalina if she had a Facebook account. (Surprisingly Facebook is one way that people communicate in Kenya because internet is easily accessible. Books are nowhere to be found, but I remember seeing mud huts in each community where you could connect to the internet.) Rosalina did not have a Facebook account or even a physical address where I could send snail mail. I remember thinking, “God, why did you bring this new friend into my life if I was never going to get to talk to her again?!?”
As I was being herded back into the van against my will, Rosalina called out, “I will pray for you.” Suddenly I felt silly. I started to cry and ran back to my new friend. “I will write your name in my university books, and every time I study I will pray for you and your studies and the important work God has for you in Kenya.” Rosalina smiled and said she would do the same.
I have not spoken to Rosalina since that day, but I did write her name on a sticky note in my economics books and later in my law books. Every time studying would seem overwhelming, I remember that somewhere in Kenya there is a student (or by now probably a teacher) who has overcome incredible odds with God’s help. I pray for her, and remember that God has important work for me too. No matter how overwhelming it is, He is in charge and with God all things are possible.
The Mary Okeyo Scholarship gave me an opportunity to grow in my faith and gain a deeper understanding of the work that God is doing in Kenya. It was truly an incredible experience for which I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate.