During my first month at Agape, I was asked to write a biography for one of the boys who grew up at Agape. His name was Ishmael Sheban. Agape was trying to find a sponsor for him who would take him through University. Ishmael had finished High School last year and did exceptionally well. When I sat down with Ishmael, I started to hear his story…
He was kidnapped at age 6, worked as a slave for a few years by the man who kidnapped him and got into some trouble with the government. He went through a lot of changes and difficulty and at the end…ended up being raised at Agape.
Ishmael doesn’t know any family members. He has no one. Yet, he finds that he has all he needs through Christ.
Ishmael became good friends with one of our High School boys in our sponsorship program, who also has no family. So Ishmael was invited to come stay with his friend at Good News. Fred and I grew to know and love Ishmael. We walked him through a lot of his college application process and prayed with him that God would provide for all of his needs through a sponsor. Thankfully, Agape found a sponsor for him and Ishmael started school on Monday. Praise God.
Fred and I are not financially in the position to help Ishmael, but we had told we would help him in any way we could. Ishmael asked that we would to take him for his reporting date to school. He was thrilled when we agreed, otherwise he would have taken a bus across the country with everything he has. Even though we knew it wasn’t about transporting his stuff, but that he was, like anyone on their first day of college, nervous!
We left Kisumu at 7:00am and we arrived in Nakuru, at Kabarak University around noon, we parked and got his registration number, #179. Currently they were serving #62. In America that is a big gap, but in Kenya that is even a bigger gap! So Fred and I tried talking to some of the registers asking if we could be served earlier as we needed to travel back to Kisumu that afternoon (not safe to travel at night). One lady sounded like she could help us, so I went with Ishmael we sat down hoping to start the process. She looked at our papers and said great Ishmael has every paper he needs, just make sure you see the Financial Office and then you can go and Ishmael can go through the process by himself. He is a “big boy” he can do it alone she said.
I looked at Ishmael, saw the fear in his eyes and grabbed my papers and said no thank you, I will wait. Fred then booked a guest house that night so we could sleep in Nakuru and then travel the next day.
So we waited patiently until they reached #179, at 4:00pm. It wasn’t our plan to sleep there, but it was God’s plan. Ishmael needed to feel like he had parents, like he had family that cared for him. That didn’t leave him to walk through everything alone.
We walked him through the long process of registration day, got him settled in his room, met his roommates, took a tour of the campus and made him feel at home.
Even though we couldn’t give Ishmael anything physical, we believe God enabled to give Ishmael something that money can’t buy. We knew that God had called us to be there with him to make him feel not alone, to make him feel confident, to make him not feel like an orphan, to make him feel loved and cared for on his first day of college.
Please pray that Ishmael will get connected and continue to grow in a Christian community on campus.