We have so many amazing stories from our time visiting Cambridge this spring. I’d like to share one today. It’s about an amazing woman we met named Jolly.
Leon, our dear brother and host for our stay took us to one of the oldest pubs in Cambridge on our first night, called “the Eagle.”
Here we met Jolly. Jolly is a Rwandan woman born in Uganda. Here she is…
This woman’s story deserves a book.
Let me briefly retell it. Jolly grew up in a poor village in Uganda, one of 9 children. None of the family were believers. Her story is one of God’s promises and then life not looking like it lines up with those promises… until she discovered the very setbacks and disappoints she faced were leading her right into her Promised Land.
She received a prophetic word early in life that God was going to bring her to the highest levels of academia. (A powerful word!) She then received scholarships to go to these prestigious elementary and high schools. This was a huge deal for a family who had never had opportunities like this before. The word began to be fulfilled.
Then by a total surprise she didn’t get into any of the prestigious colleges. She ended up having to go to a poor community college. She was strapped for money and finally ended up selling jam on the side of the road, making a dollar a day.
Jolly’s passion and humility is striking. She had been taken high then low, and she said she was honestly thanking God everyday for the jam selling job.
So often on our journey with God He will give us a picture of the Promised Land, but to get there we must walk through a dessert. A dry, barren, hard place that is extremely difficult to survive, but in that dry place our character is produced to prepare us to be good stewards of our Promised Land once we arrive. This is actually for our own protection, and the protection of those we will influence once we reach it.
After a while one of the people she sold jam to offered her a job in a lab. Now making more money she began investing all of it in her siblings’ education. Paying for everything she can, getting them into better schools in town, saying “I just don’t want them to have to go through what I did.”
After a while she gets an opportunity to get her masters degree, but from a school 1.5 hours away by bus. (Glimmers of the Promise? God always gives us opportunities to remember the Promise, these opportunities then become a heart check up to see if we still believe He can do it. The good news is even if we’ve let it go, He is faithful to remind us and encourage us and get us back on track).
She traveled 3 hours a day back and forth from school. Sacrificing.
READY, NOW IT GETS REALLY WILD. Somehow miraculously through all this she is recommended to apply for a job at the ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda to manage World Bank funding. She gets the job.
She goes from selling jam to personally managing 35 million dollars worth of World Bank aid!!!
Under her management the program thrives and the aid grows from 35 million to 300 million dollars, 10 fold!
She is then recognized by the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. as one of the top 25 most influential women in all of Africa.
From there God opens a door for her to pursue a PhD at Cambridge studying how to support small rural farmers in agricultural development, which is why we are now sitting with her in a pub hearing her story!
Her story is still unfolding. She is only beginning to see the fruit from her Promised Land. What we see, though, is that her character developed in the wilderness is so bright!
She asked to pray with us. She took us into her college’s beautiful chapel. Each “college” within Cambridge has their own “chapel.” To us in America each of these “chapels” would be like the most beautiful church in the city! Here it’s another chapel 😂.
Have you ever had an experience where God clearers out every other distraction, keeps every other person away so you can come alone and meet with Him and have a “holy moment“? We had one of those in this chapel. We found we were completely alone, and we remained alone until we finished and were getting up to leave!
We each prayed for one another. God gave me the distinct privilege of blessing Jolly with the same priestly blessing my family has been imparting for millennia, going back to Moses. And she gave me a powerful prophetic word.
So this is our new “old friend” Jolly, who really is family now.
Thank You, Father, for creating such holy moments as this. Times to meet our extended family, times to be challenged and encouraged by powerful stories from them. I pray for everyone reading this. I pray for “holy moments” and “divine encounters” that introduce them to Your Promises for them. And for all those struggling in the wilderness, I pray for endurance, strength by You to keep going and remember that this is FOR THEIR GOOD to prepare them to be healthy stewards in their future Promised Land. In the mighty Name of Jesus I pray, amen!