Almost immediately upon moving to Countryside God opened up an area of our hearts that we didn’t know existed. He threw us in the middle of the Hispanic culture where we were loved and accepted with open arms. We share hugs and smiles and tears together. Because of that new found love, we met Kiara’s family.
Her mother, written about here, is such a breath of fresh air and Kiara is the same. Their love for Jesus is evident in their speech and their smiles. And especially in their love for others. I hope you enjoy a small portion of Kiara’s testimony today. We have had the privilege of walking beside her and praying for her regarding the school financial situation she speaks of. We have seen God answer prayers and we are confident that He will allow her to graduate. Pray for her with us today as you read her story.
I’ve never had an opportunity to write part of my life on a blog until today. I hope this goes well! I have had the wonderful blessing of getting to meet Amber, Grant and their kids Asher and Evan Grace since this past summer. Thank you Amber for being encouraging and for letting me have this opportunity.
My name is Kiara Alvarenga. I have been blessed with an amazing family and God continues to bless me as I keep getting older. My family consists of my mom, dad, and two little sisters. I was born in Honduras, but at the age of eight I moved to the U.S because my mom was very sick and the only specialist that could help her was here. I have had the best years of my life here, and I am very thankful for the ways that God has molded me. I became a Christian at the age of nine.
Academics were always my thing growing up and I was very involved in my studies and extracurricular activities at school. When I was in High School I was in the Beta Club and in the Honor Society. My junior year I was eligible for an early graduation opportunity so I decided to take it. My dream at the time was to attend Clemson University and to become an architect. I applied to Clemson, USC, and the College of Charleston. I was very excited about going off to college to follow my dreams. I waited and not to long after turning in my applications, I received letters back from the schools saying that I could not be accepted, and that I could not receive any financial aid because I was not a U.S Citizen. My heart broke to pieces. It was one of the most difficult experiences in my life.
I decided to follow through with my senior year and graduate with the rest of my class in hopes that by then a law would change in which I would be able to receive financial aid. At the end of my senior year all of my friends had already been accepted into college and I was not able to go, or so I thought. One of my friends kept mentioning how he got accepted to North Grenville University, and how he was looking forward to being there. I had heard of North Greenville, but I was never interested in a small private school that didn’t offer engineering.
I still decided to give it a try and without much mention to my friends or family, I applied. I now know that God was the one who gave me the incentive to apply at NGU because at the time that I did it, I had already started to give up on going to college. A few weeks after I applied to NGU I received a letter in the mail letting me know that I was ACCEPTED! I cried and I told my parents. The first thing we did was kneel and give thanks to God. We made an appointment to go talk to an admissions representative one month before school started. We were told that it was true that I was not eligible for any state or government aid but that I was eligible for private scholarships. I decided that since this door had been opened, I would attend NGU that fall. My private scholarships covered almost half of every year at North Greenville University, so my parents took out the rest in loans from the bank.
The past few years at NGU have been the best of my life because I have been able to grow more in my personal walk with Christ. I have been through many ups and downs but I’ve had Jesus right there by my side. I know that this is where God wants me. God’s plans for my life were different than the ones I had. I am now a marketing Major and I am happy where God has me. I often wonder how much easier my life would be if I had just been born here and not had to go through these crazy life experiences, but then I realize that maybe if my life was easier, then I wouldn’t look to God in the midst of all of my problems.
This past year has been the toughest, financially speaking; my parents are no longer able to make loans because they have taken out over $20,000 for my tuition in the past two years and the bank can’t keep providing loans, my mom has lost her job, and I cannot make a loan at the bank unless I am a full time worker. If I leave school for a semester I will lose a significant amount of my scholarships because they are private and would be given to the next student who needs them. I don’t know exactly how I will be able to pay the $13,000 I’ll need for my senior year next year but I know that God provides.
I know that my story might not be something that you can completely relate to, but I know that God has many different ways of speaking to people. I have learned to rely on Him, and understand that His plans are greater. I don’t live a perfect life, but I am so happy with everything and everyone that God has blessed me with. I look forward to seeing where my Father takes me in life, and whatever I do with my life, I want it to be for God’s glory and to reveal His love to others. Christ took everything that I thought was best for me away, gave me much better things and I couldn’t be happier. He’s just that awesome.