MY NAME IS RUTH. I am in the 11th grade and will graduate next year. I want to share with you my story, and describe how our challenges shape our character and fill us with the strength to persevere. I am convinced that in Jesus there is always hope. With God, nothing is impossible.
My father and my mother are from different ethnicities; my father comes from Kalimantan and my mother is from Java. Especially in that generation, someone from Kalimantan would usually not marry someone from Java. So, when they fell in love and decided to get married, both families didn’t agree because of their cultural traditions. Because of the animosity of their families, my mom and dad had to leave their village, and find a place where they would be accepted. They moved to a small village and worked there as farmers. That is where I was born. We had almost nothing, but my parents raised us in a loving home. My family was my comfort zone. I knew that my family loved and received me, and my family environment instilled confidence in me.
My mother never had a chance to go to high school, but she taught me everything she knew and made sure that I went to elementary school. She was my motivator, and my father was for me a rock of strength. God blessed me with wonderful parents. My childhood was amazing. My brother and I were always ranked among the best students in our school (so, as our reward from our teacher at school, we got books, pencils, and everything we needed to study). I liked to climb trees, swim in the river near our house, and walk into the jungle with my father. I often helped my parents work in the rice field.
When I was 8 years old, my father suddenly died. Our lives suddenly became a disaster. I was enraged with God. He took my father, who I had loved so much. But, somehow we had to stay alive. My mother, brother and I continued working in our garden for food. Sometimes my mother helped our neighbor for a bit of pay so my brother and I could keep going to elementary school. I was so mad at God! Why did He make our lives this hard? I didn’t understand. I believed He didn’t love me, because he caused this immense pain. I always asked Him where are you? You say that You love me, but where is Your love? Where is Your grace and mercy? Why don’t You protect me and lift this burden?
My brother eventually moved on. So, that left only me and my mother. The final year of junior high was the hardest time, but I did well in school. The lowest mark that I got in my classes was 9, and I usually got 10’s. I graduated as the top ranked student in my school. Was I Proud? Yes, I was proud for about a week. Then I had to come back to reality. There was no money to continue my education. What was the use of my achievements in junior high school, if I didn’t have the opportunity to advance to high school? God wasn’t answering my prayers! My life was in chaos. I didn’t want to meet my friends who were talking about their plans to enter high school. I ran from reality. Wanting to be happy, I chose the wrong friends.
One night I hit rock bottom. It was a quiet night. I felt a deep loneliness that caused me to weep. I thought, “no one understands me!” Finally, that night, I faced a moment of decision. My soul cried out, “I refuse to give up hope!” I knew I had to find a job and work hard. So, I walked away from my village. Eventually I found a job and began carefully saving money for my education. I enjoyed my job, but every day, after work when I came back to my room, I would always cry. I missed my mother, and I had to be wise with the money that I had. But, I kept praying and survived.
After a few months, my mother came, and told me about a high school that might just provide me with a scholarship. I could live in a dormitory and all I needed to do was focus on my studies. God had finally answered my prayer.
Now I live in the Mustard Seed school dormitory. In this school, I am being mentored, and taught to use my time wisely. I have met people from different backgrounds. My experiences here are shaping my character. It is not easy, but it is good for me. At the age of 17, I met Jesus personally. I have decided to leave my past, my pain and my selfish attitude and live for God.