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  • Writer's pictureJeff Kaldahl

Up Close and Personal with Marianie

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Our scholars are considered to be the best in their class, and we're really proud of them. House of Hope helps them find ways to build their careers. They work hard and have great skills, but sometimes the pressure gets to be too much. It's not just their families who expect them to succeed, but the whole village too.

This amazing story is about Marianie, one of our students who went through tough times but was given another chance. She's working hard to make the most of it and not let it slip away.

Marianie dressed up for church on Sunday.

When Marianie was in high school, she realized that life was difficult for her family. She helped her parents on their farm and during the summer vacations, she worked as a house cleaner for her teacher in the city.

During this period, Marianie had a meaningful encounter with Christ. Cha, who was both a teacher and a board member of The Rising, organized lifegroups at the village school. Even though Marianie belonged to a different faith, her friend convinced her to join the lifegroup because they served snacks. Surprisingly, Marianie continued attending for several weeks until the teachings of God started to touch her heart, bringing about a gradual transformation in her life. She decided to dedicate her time to being mentored by Cha.

Emerging As An Achiever

Despite facing many challenges, Marianie showed remarkable determination and achieved great success. She was the only one in her group who passed the scholarship program at a prestigious university in the city, where she finished her final years of high school.

Marianie had to overcome a lot of obstacles while studying alongside wealthier students. She dealt with bullying, struggled to understand complex concepts and theories that were not taught in her village, and even though her tuition fees were covered, her parents had to sell ginger from their farm to provide for her daily needs.

There was a time when Marianie's mother had to visit her at school to give her money, but she hid in the guard's quarters. When Marianie and her classmates asked why, her mother's response broke her heart: "I was hiding because my feet are dirty from harvesting ginger, and I was worried that you would be ashamed of our life in the village."

This moment brought tears to Marianie's eyes because she had never been prouder of her parents and their background. To show her love for her mother, she grabbed her arm and asked a classmate to take a picture of them at school.

Marianie, middle, with The Rising staff and scholars during their trip to the beach

The Struggle

After graduating from high school, Marianie believed that she was getting closer to making her dreams come true. Unfortunately, she encountered several obstacles that made her feel disheartened. She was rejected for a scholarship because her chosen course didn't match the requirements, and when she tried applying for a city scholarship, the government office in her village couldn't give her an important document due to a broken printer. However, even in these difficult times, Marianie had someone looking out for her— the Lord. When she was feeling frustrated, Jeni extended a helping hand and encouraged her to apply for The Rising's scholarship program.

The Flight of Icarus

Marianie thought that college life would be easier after graduating from one of the top universities in the city. She believed that her early achievements had given her the confidence to succeed. However, like the mythological character Icarus, she flew too close to the sun and ended up falling.

"I overestimated myself," she admitted.

The college lessons intimidated her, and she struggled to keep up with the demands of her electrical engineering subjects. She felt completely lost. The nights seemed never-ending, and she cried many tears. Making it through her second year of college was a real challenge. Even though she didn't want to continue, she had to push herself not to disappoint everyone who had believed in her. Everyone was incredibly proud of her, and her school in the village even made a large banner displaying her achievements.

Marianie experienced a heartbreaking failure in her course. It felt like her whole world was falling apart, and to maintain her family's spirits, she resorted to hiding and denying the truth.

"Everyone had such high hopes for me, but I let them down. I disappointed The Rising, my family, and my village," she expressed, feeling devastated.

However, despite her shattered world, the Lord extended an invitation for her to step out of hiding because He had not given up on her, even if she was on the verge of giving up on herself. When Marianie couldn't progress to the third year, she found the strength to humble herself, no matter how difficult it seemed, and opened up to Leah.

Marianie, middle, with Leah and other scholars playing board games

Embracing God’s Grace

Marianie believed that everything was going wrong, but she was met with the loving grace of God. The Rising organization embraced her flaws and supported her as she started fresh in the College of Technology. When she recognized her weaknesses and learned from her mistakes, God showed up for her.

"I experienced God's grace through the acceptance and guidance of Leah and Jeni, despite my past failures. They helped me move forward, and I realized that God is faithful. I finally found the inner peace I had been longing for, and I received additional scholarships as unexpected blessings. Truly, God never abandoned me!" she joyfully shared.

Through her journey with The Rising, Marianie's understanding of God's grace deepened. It made her appreciate how kind and patient the Lord is, even when we disobey and try to hide from Him.

“Even if I sinned greatly, I was met with endless grace. I was forgiven, I was accepted even when I felt that I was a failure,” she recalled.

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” - 2 Timothy 1:9

Marianie, in red, with the Rising staff and scholars during a birthday party at House of Hope

Marianie wholeheartedly embraced her new season, carrying with her the valuable lessons she learned from her past experiences. Through those challenging times, God shaped her to become more reliant on Him, helping her recognize her need for God in her moments of weakness. She realized that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but an act of bravery. This newfound understanding allowed her to be more open and transparent with her family and The Rising. She came to accept that it's perfectly okay to face detours in life and to surrender to God's guidance during transitions. Marianie found solace in letting God be in control, trusting His plans even in times of change.

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