During every visit to Daystar University, our staff is overwhelmed by the wisdom and gratitude poured out by the scholarship students supported through our office. As each of the students share stories of their childhood, their financial hardships, and their seemingly impossible dreams, several themes standout. This blog series is inspired by these students who are now our teachers in the lessons of life, faith, and service.
Proverbs 2:10 – “Wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
An Investor's Return
An investor directs his money to a certain area expecting to make a profit. In the same way, donors in the U.S. direct their financial gifts to scholarship students at Daystar University anticipating that the student and the university will steward the gift and grow its impact in Africa. Over time, Daystar U.S. has noticed that these scholarship students are very similar to the praised servants in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. In his story, found in Matthew 25:14-23, a master gives his servants money to look after for a season. When he returns, his servants show him how they earned more with the funds he gave them, thus multiplying his investment. He blessed their faithfulness by giving them positions of authority over his estate.
Investing funds into students’ education in Kenya is not merely a story. Donors make actual investments into the lives of students year after year, and their investments are earning great dividends both on earth and in the Kingdom. Donor and Daystar U.S. Board Vice Chair Jon Halverson said, “If you’re interested in transforming lives and an entire society, then giving to Daystar University and students is incredibly strategic. I had the privilege of meeting students who came from very, very underprivileged backgrounds, who attend Daystar only because of the generosity of donors. Trust me, they are incredibly grateful. They want to give back to society in the name of Jesus just like the donor that supported them.”
Students steward the gift of education by taking in all that Daystar has to offer: engaging in discipleship opportunities, practically applying Biblical truths to their personal lives and their educational experience, working on campus, participating in student clubs that help them gain experience in their fields of study and grow as leaders, and helping fellow classmates in need. They nurture the gift given to them and watch the investment grow within their very hearts. After graduation, the investment grows further, and there is tangible fruit to show as they multiply what’s given to them through their careers. They now have the chance to create literal and spiritual wealth of their own using the skills learned at Daystar.
Several alumni stories give life to Jesus’ parable:
- David Dut Aboor Tiel, a South Sudanese refugee, earned a degree from Daystar in 2011. He returned to his home country and is now the Head of Disaster Management at the South Sudan Red Cross. David says, “I am not boasting of my position, but I am counting the blessings of what God is doing for me through my donors. I would like to assure them that the money they invested in my education was not spent in vain because I have helped many vulnerable people from 2011 until now.”
- Bernard Omondi Oloo, touched by his donor’s generosity that lifted him out of poverty and crime, established a foundation in his name after graduating in 2004. Motivated by his scholarship, he says, “I made a promise to use every opportunity at my disposal to help those like me attain an education and to encourage them to excel. I may not have the capacity to reach thousands, but one life is enough.” His main occupation is serving as Senior Logistics Assistant with the World Food Programme in Somalia.
- Julienne Mukansanga graduated from Daystar in 1998 and now works for Peace Building, Healing and Reconciliation Program (PHARP) in Rwanda. She takes up an active role in helping to build capacity and restoring dignity for hurting women in Rwandan refugee camps inhabited by a majority of widowed Congolese women. Through her efforts with PHARP, these women are grassroots agents of social reform and healing for their own communities. One woman’s testimony says it all: “[PHARP] taught us how to forgive those who hurt us so that we can live in peace.”
These Daystar alumni—who were once scholarship recipients—learned how to multiply donors’ financial gifts to create impact in priceless ways. They are stewards of which the Lord would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23). These three alumni are not exceptions; student after student from Daystar’s scholarship program express not only a desire but also the commitment to be a steward and give back.
The Lord says, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and enter into the joy of the Lord.” As God appoints the graduates in leadership and service-centered positions across Africa, they enter into the joy of the Lord, along with their investors, who see the prize of their investment come to life.
As we conclude our series on lessons from Daystar scholarship students, let us remember that storing up “treasure in heaven” is a guaranteed deposit that will never be destroyed or wasted (Matthew 6:20).