It was almost the end of the Fall 2008 semester. It was quite a whirlwind with tons of papers due, and final exam preparations, but I was completely oblivious of the series of events that were about to unfold. The devil had some plans up his sleeves. While the devil was planning, and getting his team together and getting ready to strike, God was also planning to bring the plans of the enemy to nought and so He began to get His team together to frustrate the enemy’s plans and turn them in my favor. One day, I was heading to my department to see one of my professors. As soon as I stepped into the J.C Long building, an older black man stepped into the building seconds later. I pressed the elevator button and then noticed that the man was waiting for the elevator too and couldn’t take his eyes off me. “I know you from somewhere.” He turned and looked at me. I turned around and looked at him and the face didn’t look familiar. “Hmmm… I’m not very sure we’ve met before.” I said. “Are you part of the Charleston Nigerian Association?” He asked. “No, sir! I know very few Nigerians here and I haven’t attended any of the Nigerian Association events here in Charleston.” I replied. The man was still convinced he had met me before and kept trying to place the face. Then he extended a hand… “I’m Dr. Edozie (Not his real name) with the History department. I’m from Nigeria.” He introduced himself and then we shook hands… “I’m Sana, from Nigeria as well.” “Wow, you don’t say?! Do you have sometime? I would like to show you my office.” We were heading to the same floor, so I obliged. We got to know more about each other and when we got to his office, he handed me his business card and said, “If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, email me, or stop by my office.” I thanked him and left the office. What I didn’t know at the time was that this meeting was ordained by God, and the timing in which we met was absolutely perfect for what was about to happen.
On December 15th, 2008, after my final exams, a professor from my department forwarded me an email from one of the administrative offices about my financial situation and my inability to complete my tuition payment for the Fall semester. According to the email, the administrative staff had spoken to someone from the financial aid office and the financial aid representative said that the amount I was owing couldn’t be rolled over to the Spring semester, and that they discovered that I was allowed to be put under a payment plan which according to them was illegal under federal law for foreign students. As a result, my debt from the Fall semester, and the Spring semester were due on the first day of the following semester before I would be allowed to attend classes and failure to do so would result in me potentially losing my status as a graduate student. The professor said in his email that based on the forwarded email, I may be running out of options and that I should go and talk to the parties involved to see if they would be willing to put me on a payment plan the next semester. I was alone in my room when I read the email and began to laugh hysterically. Then I got up and began to address the enemy. “Satan, you don’t know who you’re messing with! I’m a child of the Most High God and you’re going to loose this battle!!” Immediately, a song by Clint Brown came to my spirit, and I sang it over and over again. “I have a friend His name is Jesus… He’s the one, that I lean on, He’s the shelter from every storm, I have a friend, His name is Jesus. Let the wind blow, let the rain fall, there is a place that I can go. I have a friend, His name is Jesus.” I sent a reply to the professor who forwarded the email and said, “It may look like I’m out of options, but when I am down to nothing, God is up to something!” The following day, I went to the financial aid office to speak with one of the executives regarding the email I had received and asked if there was any way he could make an exception and allow me continue with my payment plan, but he was adamant.
Few days later, I travelled back to Columbia for the Christmas holiday. I spent quality time with my family and they were completely unaware of what was going on. My parents were still paying tuition for two of my siblings in college and there was no way I was going to make my tuition their responsibility too. The new year 2009 came and as usual, I spent the first week in prayer and fasting about the new year and regarding my graduate school tuition and the false federal regulation that was made up to make it difficult for me to return to College of Charleston. Several days into my fasting and prayer, the Spirit of God told me to sit up and that He had a plan concerning my situation at school. Do you remember the Nigerian man you met at your school recently? Forward him all the emails you’ve received from all the parties involved. Let him know what is going on. The Spirit of God instructed me. I forwarded all the emails to Dr. Edozie immediately and informed him about what was going on. Dr. Edozie replied shortly and expressed how sorry he was about my situation. He also said he was not aware of such a law and that he was going to look into the matter. Dr. Edozie reached out to someone in the office of International Programs and asked if the regulation existed, he even reached out to someone from the Avery Research Center at the college, and they confirmed that such a regulation never existed. At this point, emails were flying back and forth and soon word got to the parties involved that they were being investigated. As soon as they were aware, I received an email from the professor who forwarded me the email saying that he had been looking for ways to help and that I should return to Charleston and see him. The financial aid representative called and explained that the law preventing foreign students to make payment plans was no longer enforced which was not true… it never existed. He told me that he would allow me to make a payment plan again.
I returned to Charleston on January 15th, 2009. That same day, the professor who forwarded me the email handed me a check of $2,000 towards my tuition, bought all my textbooks, and helped me get a part-time job with the Computer Science department as an office assistant. Double for my trouble!!! Thank you Jesus!! God brought the devices of the enemy to nought and turned them around for my favor. I continued to work part-time with the office of Institutional Research as well. The extra income went a long way to help with rent, food, and tuition to an extent. Thankfully, my elder sister gave me two months worth of rent money and my family continued to assist with tuition from time to time that semester. This was just the beginning of many victories in Charleston that I never expected. Are you fighting battles in life and everyday it seems like the enemy is winning? Step aside and let God fight for you. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!
To be continued…