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January 29, 2013

God’s will for Godswill

I met Godswill five and a half years ago.

Well, to say I met him is a bit of an overstatement; I talked to him and some other children living at the Stephen Centre in Nigeria over the phone for about an hour, interviewing them for a VOM article. Back then, Godswill was a shy, quiet, 14-year-old boy who liked soccer.

Godswill-THEN
Godswill around the time Dory "met" him, after he arrived at the Stephen Centre.

I wondered how he'd gotten such an unusual name. He told me his mother had given birth to twins before he was born, but they did not live. Then she didn't have another child for nine years. When her son was born, on February 15, 1992, she named him "Godswill."

In 2009, I met Godswill's mother, Ruth, in northern Nigeria, while visiting widows and victims of the religious violence. Ruth's husband, a leader in the Christian community, was killed during a religious riot in Kaduna in 2000.

As a widow, Ruth struggled to support Godswill and his younger sister, Joy. So when our partners in Nigeria offered Godswill and Joy a place in a VOM-supported boarding school called the Stephen Centre, Ruth made the decision to send her kids away to be educated. It wasn't easy for her to let them go, but she knew she'd never be able to provide them with a good education.

Last week, I met Godswill again. Now 19, Godswill is a confident young man pursuing a law degree at a university near the Stephen Centre. He loves the Lord and works hard at both school and at being a man of character. As I interviewed other children now living at the Stephen Centre, Godswill acted as my "fixer," suggesting children I could interview. He knows almost all the 307 children living at the school, where he's seen as a leader.

Godswill - NOW
Godswill (center, striped shirt) was among the first class of graduates from The Stephen Centre. All these students are now in college.
It was so encouraging to see how God has worked in the lives of some of these young men and women. Godswill lost his father at a young age and had to live apart from his mother for much of his formative years. But instead of using his suffering as an excuse or a stumbling block, he's taken it as a challenge and used it to motivate himself toward better things. He reported that his mother continues to do well as a cloth-seller in the Kaduna market, and she continues to meet with other Christian widows in Kaduna.

His mother named him Godswill, and I know that Godswill will go on to serve the Lord and carry out God's will in Nigeria.

 

Dory P. has worked with VOM for six years. She grew up in Ecuador, met her husband while working with another mission organization, and now lives in Oklahoma. Between Dory, her husband and two-year-old son, they share five passports. Dory helps tell the stories of the persecuted through VOM's newsletter, and her husband serves with VOM's international department.

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Comments

Praise the Lord for turning sorrow and suffering into joy and a beautiful future both for Godswill, Joy and their mother Ruth!
I'm very thankful for the work you are doing among the persecuted, and I always read your updates prayerfully, and especially interested in stories and news from Nigeria, the country
I hope to move to and serve in, Lord willing.
Our Faithful and True Master bless you and keep you all continually.
by grace alone,
Isabella

What a inspiring story. Thank God for such wonderful opportunity for many.

Thanks for posting this story. So wonderful! Praying for Godswill...

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