Alumni Report: Jesse Masai

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Jesse began his education at Daystar University when it was still a wild and dusty campus in the small town of Athi River, a growing suburb of the capital city Nairobi. Snakes and leopards were not a rare sighting. “Students enjoyed walking around on the rocky hills, taking photographs, and swapping tales about the wildlife they had met,” Jesse said, reflecting on his years at Daystar. It was at Daystar University that Jesse cultivated his skills and passion for communications and serving others. As a reporter and editor for Daystar’s student newspaper, Jesse took it upon himself to tell important stories about the campus and people in the surrounding communities. “I have memories of walking to nearby villages with my team, reporting on hunger, drought, and chronic diseases,” Jesse said. “Our stories were often picked up by the mainstream media.”

Studying communication at Daystar University wasn’t always Jesse’s plan. His parents were missionaries to an unreached people group in Kenya. He first heard about Daystar while volunteering at the missionary agency’s headquarters. He helped edit their prayer newsletter and his sharp skills drew the attention of his supervisors. They told Jesse that Daystar University would be the best place to develop his communications skills while also learning to use his gifts for service to God and humanity.

Jesse’s supervisors personally took him to Daystar’s Nairobi campus to process his application. But Jesse was from a humble background and paying tuition and fees seemed impossible; however, with the help of donors in the United States, Jesse was awarded a scholarship. “Mine was an improbable tale,” Jesse said, “Nowhere else could it have been possible but at Daystar.”

Jesse earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Art and graduated in 2004. “Daystar University has given me three things I keep finding useful in my journey,” Jesse reflected, “practical skills with which to carry out my tasks, values to guide my commitments, and attitudes to keep me grounded in the basics of faith, life, and learning.”

Jesse has brought those three things to his position as the Director of Communication and Public Relations for the County Government of Nyandarua in Kenya. He can recall several times where his Biblically rooted education from Daystar has impacted his career. Working in government in Kenya poses threats to values everyday, particularly around money, sex, and power. “Against a culture of overbearing displays of power, I am modeling a life of servant leadership,” Jesse said. “Against a culture of falsifying expenses, I am modeling a culture of accounting for every cent.”

Jesse credits his values to what he learned at Daystar University. After being asked how he has seen Daystar University impact Africa Jesse said, “One cannot talk about value-laden education in Kenya and Africa without mentioning Daystar University. Most alumni are doing a great job to impact Africa in whichever sphere of influence they may be found.”

Jesse and his wife Juddy, who is also a Daystar alumni, on their wedding day.

Jesse and his wife Juddy, who is also a Daystar alumni, on their wedding day.

Jesse reflected on the recent 2017 general elections in Kenya, “In my role, I am responsible for coordinating media and publicity. Some media owners attempted to bribe me, to sway advertising business their way.” But Jesse stayed true to his values, with his wife supporting him along the way. “Together we were grateful for the grace to light our tiny candles in the darkness of public services,” Jesse said.

There are thousands of Daystar alumni like Jesse, displaying unwavering values in the face of adversity. Whether serving in government, the medical field, or helping others on a grass-roots level, Daystar alumni bring unparalleled values and transformation to Africa. 

Behind the Scenes: Meet Mailou

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Help us welcome the newest member of the Daystar U.S. team, Mailou Thao! Mailou is a 2013 graduate of Bethel University with a major in social work. She joins our team as our new administrative assistant.

Mailou worked as an operations clerk for Wells Fargo before coming to Daystar U.S. and currently serves as the assistant treasurer for her church. Mailou loves working behind the scenes with numbers and databases.

Mailou is dedicated to helping others pursue education and has a dream to give a personal scholarship to help students in need. This dream encouraged Mailou to join the Daystar U.S. team and its mission to transform Africa by educating Christian servant leaders.

When Mailou isn’t working she enjoys reading theology books, hiking, and playing board games with her friends. We are very excited to welcome Mailou to our team!

Farewell to Mary

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Mary Gosselin has served as the executive administrative assistant for Daystar U.S. for over four years and will soon enjoy a much-deserved retirement. Before coming to Daystar U.S. Mary worked as a school secretary for 25 years. “I was praying for a new part time job when I heard about the job at Daystar U.S.,” Mary reflected. “I was really excited about Daystar’s mission to transform Africa.”

Mary experienced Daystar’s mission firsthand when she traveled to Kenya in 2015. “Daystar University is a shining light in that city and country,” Mary said, “The most meaningful thing for me was actually seeing the faces of the students we help. Those students have such an earnest desire to get an education at Daystar.” Mary was inspired by the students she met and everything they sacrifice to get an education, often giving up food for tuition. “Giving my time by working at Daystar U.S. was one of the ways I could give back to those students,” Mary said. 

Mary enjoyed traveling to Kenya in 2015 and meeting Daystar University staff and students.

Mary enjoyed traveling to Kenya in 2015 and meeting Daystar University staff and students.

During her time at Daystar U.S. Mary was a true servant leader, always lending a quick and helpful hand to anyone who needed it. “Mary is the most positive person I know,” said Nancy, Daystar U.S. Finance Manger. “She has the greatest servant leader heart I’ve ever experienced.”

Mary, third from right, is looking forward to spending more time with her family after she retires. 

Mary, third from right, is looking forward to spending more time with her family after she retires. 

Mary’s joyful spirit and quick laugh will be deeply missed at Daystar U.S. and she deserves to be celebrated for her years serving the organization. “I’m looking forward to having time to rest, study and pray and spend more time with my family and grandchildren,” Mary said. “And, of course, I’ll be volunteering at Daystar U.S.”

Student Profile: Faith

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My name is Faith and I am the youngest in a family of five. We were brought up by a single mother. She tried her best to send us to school but sometimes she couldn’t even afford to pay for our basic needs. My older siblings didn’t manage to finish their studies because life was too hard, and they are still struggling today. My hope in Christ helped me persist in my education and made me strong everyday. High school was challenging for me because I had to spend most of my time out of class because we could not afford the fees. But God saw me through and my grades were good enough to go to college.

I joined Daystar University in January 2014. I came to school having only 5,000 Kenyan shillings ($50) and went through the orientation program. After that it was not easy to pay the fees. I met some friends who told me about financial aid where I met Jennifer, Daystar University’s financial aid officer. She took me through the steps to apply for a scholarship and by January 2015 I received a full scholarship. This helped me greatly because I was able to concentrate on my studies and give it my best. If it wasn’t for the Daystar U.S. scholarship I can’t tell you what could have happened to me.

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I studied mass communication and electronic media and graduated in July 2017. At Daystar I learned to be a servant leader and that is the most important thing I am taking with me to the professional world. I want to have a positive impact on people. I am trusting God to give me a job opportunity and want to serve Him my entire life. My dream is to open a children’s home so I can give back to my community. Eventually I would like to get my master's degree.

Thank you so much for your gift and for the sacrifice that you made so I could study at Daystar University. May the Lord bless you more and more so that you may continue to bless others.