Family, friends and church step in to help Chakara and Sakaela
It takes a lot of faith to trust in God to provide when money is short — so learnt friends Chakara Burrows and Sakaela Ebbin-Simons.
The young women, both of whom attend New Creation Worship Centre in Pembroke, spent several years working to raise funds so they could study in the UK.
They saved up and got into the college of their choice, but realised just before leaving Bermuda that they didn't have enough.
To their surprise close friends, family and church members have stepped in to help.
New Creation Worship Centre will host a potluck dinner, complete with live entertainment, on Friday from 5pm until 9pm at the Old Berkeley Building, Berkeley Road, Pembroke.
“I almost cried when I found out what they were doing for us,” said Ms Ebbin-Simons, who will study film production at Southampton Solent University. “I was at work when I heard, so it was an overwhelming feeling knowing that people wanted to do this to support us.
“It was completely unexpected. In fact, Chakara and I had even talked about planning something ourselves to get friends and family to come together, so it's a really nice feeling. We are both very appreciative.”
The 22-year-old started a YouTube channel two years ago, offering make-up, hair, fashion and lifestyle tips.
She hopes to expand her videography skills and add other topics, such as her faith. “I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember,” Ms Ebbin-Simons said. “I was saved for the first time when I was 14, but I started to backslide in my teen years.
“In 2015 is when I decided to make a conscious effort to live a Christian life.
“I got tired of being on the fence about my faith. I would go to church on Sunday, cry and repent and then go back to doing the same things. I wanted to know Jesus, but didn't want to make the full commitment.
“I realised it was a waste of time living like that and decided I just had to make a choice.”
It has been a test of faith waiting on God to provide the necessary support for her education, she added.
“I've been working since 2015 to save up for school and just barely made the mark financially, so this fundraising event is really a godsend and will make it so that we don't have to worry or stress so much about that. No matter how much is raised, we will be grateful.”
Ms Burrows, 26, was in a similar predicament.
She graduated from Oakwood University in 2014 and worked to save enough to pursue a master's degree in blood science from London Metropolitan University.
“My goal is to become a medical technologist in the lab and I've been working at the hospital for the past year in order to make this possible,” Ms Burrows said. “It's definitely been a faith move and I left it completely up to God.
“I told Him, ‘You know what I want to do and what I need, so I'm leaving it in your hands'. It's a one-year programme so I've saved up enough for my tuition but I need a little bit extra to cover living expenses in London. I have enough for a couple months of rent and then I will be scrambling.”
Ms Burrows has been involved at New Creation Worship Centre for nine years, but has been a Christian for as long as she can remember.
“I had a friend who joined this church and she created a youth praise team and invited me to be on it in 2009.
“My faith has definitely grown since then. I have learnt to trust God more and have been blessed to hear so many testimonies from people who have seen God moving and working in their lives.
“One friend spoke of how she was being intentional with studying God's word, praying and tithing and she ended up getting a scholarship.
“I figured if being obedient to God could work for her, it could definitely work for me, so I've been actively trusting more in the Lord.
“I've stopped worrying and stressing about everything. I've been believing that God will make a way.”
Tickets for Friday's potluck dinner at New Creation Worship Centre are $25. Tickets for the show are $5 and $10. Chakara Burrows will sell a limited number of custom-designed hats; Staphen Dill of Optimistic Photos will sell two of his photographs and donate the proceeds to Ms Burrows and Sakaela Ebbin-Simons
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