Sunday, May 27, 2012
Semaj's journey and God's faithfulness
Many of you already know quite a bit about Semaj Barrett, but if not, just a quick background...she is a graduate of Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf in Kingston, Jamaica. She has felt the Lord working in her heart for years to become a missionary to her Deaf people in Jamaica or another land, and along with that was a desire to further her education and become equipped for ministry. Terri Miller and his wife, Bev (from Gridley, IL), had been supporters of her at CCCD through ACWR Child Sponsorship for a long time, and had also led ACWR Work Teams to the Kingston campus for a number of years. Believing that Semaj was gifted and full of potential to be a glory to God, Terri encouraged the ACWR missionaries in Jamaica and the staff of CCCD to help Semaj to come to America for college. While seeking several options, the door opened to her was to attend Harvest Deaf Bible College in Ringgold, Georgia. We sent in her application, by faith, without knowing if she would get accepted. When she got accepted, we applied for her US Visa, by faith, not knowing if she would just be one of the majority that get denied. When her Visa was granted, just weeks before the semester started, we began seeking donations and sponsorship for her tuition and fees, trusting the Lord to continue to provide. When it came time for her to fly up for the start of her semester, we purchased airline tickets not knowing where the funding would come from. That very hour we received an e-mail from Erin (one of our ACWR missionary teamates) stating that while home for Christmas, someone had given her $600 to use where needed. The cost for Semaj to fly up with the company of the school principal, Ms. Lawrence, was right around $600! We praised the Lord for His faithful provision.
When Semaj arrived at school, we needed to send in the first payment of $2,000. I e-mailed ACWR Child Sponsorship to request the first payment be sent, if enough donations had come in already. This is the response from Cheryl Wuthrich of ACWR:
"Attached is a report of the money received so far for Semaj, $1850. There is an additional $150 that is to be moved to her college account from her old CCCD account from her previous sponsors. This makes a total of $2000 collected for her so far!! Why are we not surprised it is the exact amount needed so far!?!"
At each subsequent payment deadline, we had enough to pay each time. This is the e-mail to ACWR Child Sponsorship requesting the final payment to be sent to the college:
"We are ready for Semaj's final payment for the term, it will be for $750. My records show $3775 has been donated so far. With this final payment, we should be at $3550 in costs, which leaves $225 left. Go figure, looking at return flights, it will be right around $200, so looks like the Lord provided just what we needed!"
Cheryl's response was: "God is faithful!"
Upon booking the ticket, we purchased one that was $248.70. That same week Cheryl sent an e-mail informing me that an additional $25 had been donated in April. So we had $250 left in Semaj's ACWR fund to purchase the $248.70 ticket. God had provided $1.30 more than we needed!
Throughout this process we have simply taken one step of faith at a time, and waited on the Lord to prove His faithfulness and open the door for the next step. God is faithful!
Semaj recently returned home from her first semester at HDBC, and Lord willing will return on Aug 25th for the fall term. Please keep Semaj in your prayers, both for her continued college growing experience, but also for the next three months that she'll be here at home in Jamaica. Pray that she does not get discouraged but that rather she can experience the Lord's nearness and love in a new way this summer, and that through the various opportunities she'll have to become even more of a leader amongst her peers, she will grow and be strengthened, ready for another semester in Georgia.
We have nearly 75% of Semaj's support pledged on an ongoing basis, but last semester was made possible through quite a few one-time donations. If you would be interested in supporting Semaj's ongoing journey, even if its $25 a month, or a one-time gift of $50 or whatever, please let me know. You can also contact Cheryl Wuthrich at ACWR Child Sponsorship at <email@example.com>