Birthday Gift

Birthday Gift

June 29 was my birthday. It fell on a Monday, so I decided to have birthday celebrations the weekend before. It isn’t necessarily those days that I want to talk about; rather, it is what happened during those days that I want to talk about. More specifically, it is about a certain birthday gift I received.

In my last week’s blog post, I discussed many possibilities for what’s next for me as I continue advancing my author career. This week is a continuation of that discussion because of another new possibility that just came about in a rather unexpected birthday gift from an unexpected source.

Before I get into my birthday gift, I want to bring back your attention to a post I made in January about my resolutions. There were four that I wanted to accomplish by the end of 2020. You can find the full post here, but in short, those were:

  1. Finish the first draft of my fourth novel by the 30th birthday.
  2. Apply, get accepted, and start a Master’s Program in the Fall of 2020
  3. Read at least 15 books in the new year
  4. Get new personal records for lifting at the gym

This past weekend I woke up to some of the best news that I could have ever woken up to—an acceptance letter from the University of Florida for admission into their program in Digital Strategy. I have to make a decision by July 10th whether or not I want to continue, but I do not see any reason why I wouldn’t continue forward with this plan because this acceptance is truly a birthday gift from God.

What do I mean by that?

Last year I found God. Rather, he found me. I was invited to a church in Shanghai by my American-Colombian colleague and I experienced something new that I had never experienced before—the gift of prophecy. This particular church is called “Iglesia de Dios Ministerial de Jesucristo Internacional,” or in English, “Church of God Ministry of Jesus Chris International.” They are international and you can go here to find out if there is one near you! I am unsure why not all churches have something like this, but let me explain what prophecy is so you can truly understand how special this acceptance letter from the University of Florida is.

If you’ve read the Bible, you’ll know that Jesus died for our sins. He lived a perfect life in order to cancel out the Law of Moses and begin with us a totally new covenant. In dying, he sent from the Father the Holy Spirit that is here with us today.

There is a multitude of spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, one of them being prophecy. People who have the gift of prophecy have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, and when giving prophecy, will lay hands on you, pray to the Lord to enter them, and then they speak to you; rather, the Lord speaks to you through them. If you are a skeptic about this, don’t worry, you are not the only person who is a skeptic. I was as well, and my first prophecy experience was actually rather vague and general and I don’t really remember it at all.

That all changed when I decided to receive prophecy again a second time and it was then that God spoke to very specifically about a past relationship that I was in. In truth, it made me shudder, it made the hair on my forearms rise. This was someone who I never talked to but they told me things about me that only God would know. They helped me overcome the emotional turmoil that I had been going through at that point. It was beautiful.

Since then, this experience has happened to me multiple times. It is the reason why I keep coming back to the Church and has truly helped in edifying the presence of God in my life. Because I have felt his manifestation multiple times throughout this past year, I have been able to do and accomplish so much and this acceptance letter, this birthday gift, is just another form of his manifestation.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, let me backtrack a little bit so that I give you the full context of why this particular acceptance letter is a birthday gift from God.

In April or May of 2019, I remember a prophecy where God spoke to me about my education. It was at that time in June of 2019, I had plans of going to Colombia to pursue a degree in Creative Writing from Bogota, and I thought that that was the direction that God would send my life.

This prophecy came about because I had been praying to God about my education, as I felt my time here in China was being wasted, and for some time, I had been wanting to further my degree. God mentioned to me that he would be taking care of my educational needs. He mentioned that he would be putting me in a specific field and that the concerns that I have I shouldn’t have because he would be opening up doors and allowing me to study the right program at the right time. I would be advancing my career in such a way that it would allow me to have time for all of my projects. At the time, I thought that he was talking about this degree in Colombia. It turns out he wasn’t.

After researching that degree more and seeing a couple of red flags, I decided not to pursue Colombia. It was at this point that I began researching for other alternatives and I came across this program for the University of Florida in Digital Strategy. This program interested me because it was completely 100% online, meaning I could do it while maintaining my job in China. Also, the cost was relatively low when compared to other master’s degrees in the States. On top of that, as I began thinking about it, I realized that it would complement my Advertising Major for my bachelor’s degree and it would also help me potentially with my author career by helping me convert sales online. I saw this as a win-win so I began reaching out to the university and getting some necessary information.

They told me I needed to take the GRE and obtain a Verbal score of 156 and a Math score of 146 in order to get into the program. Knowing my goal, I was determined to study for the GRE upon coming back from my vacation to Australia and New Zealand. When I came back, I found the testing centers booked until June, so I immediately registered for a spot in June. I would have one chance to take the GRE and get the necessary score before the deadline closed on July 1st. This added a lot of stress to me. On top of that, the coronavirus situation also added lots of stress and actually closed testing centers down. I was hoping that the situation would be okay by June so that I could take the test and still apply. It wasn’t. The testing center was closed.

I spoke with the university about this and they told me options of taking the GRE virtually like some places were allowing. Well, China is not one of those places. The closest place is Hong Kong. However, China right now has a travel ban, and if I were to leave China not only would I have to quarantine for fourteen days in Hong Kong, but then I would not be able to come back into China due to this ban. How then was I supposed to take the test that I needed to get into this program?

Speaking with the university further, I ended up filing a petition with them in order to bypass the GRE requirements and enter the program based upon the other materials required like past transcripts and letters of recommendation. To my surprise, this went according to plan, and I was able to petition that my literal inability to take the GRE shouldn’t affect my application and that they should waive it. This worked. Then, I waited. And waited. I prayed while I waited saying, “Lord if this is the program that you have in mind for me then you are going to get me into this program without the GRE, and if not, then deny me entrance from this program.”

Finally, this past weekend I received word that I have been accepted into the program.

Truly, God manifested into my life this past weekend and it was an amazing heavenly birthday gift.

With this manifestation, I will now have completed another of my four items on my list of resolutions. The only one that I have to do now is to complete my weightlifting goals, but I have successfully written the first draft of my fourth book, and I have read fifteen novels so far this year.

It seems that what’s next for me is a Master’s Degree in Digital Strategy from the University of Florida. I believe this program will help not only my author career as I mentioned before, but it will compliment quite nicely my plans and intentions for YouTube channels and podcasting as I mentioned in the last post.  

Everything that I’ve done this year so far is because I’ve put God first in my life. I want to share with you a video below I was sent recently about putting God first in our lives. Denzel Washington claims that it has helped him get to where he is today as well. And, in the non-fiction novel that I am currently writing, I do mention how the simple act of putting Him first in our lives impacts our lives in unforeseen and unfathomable ways. I know that it is God’s manifestation in my life that has allowed me to accomplish what I’ve been able to this past year.

As it says in Matthew 7: 7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

What’s more, in making such an important decision and financial and time investment, I asked God for confirmation that this was the program that I should be entering, even after already being admitted. I did that through prayer, asking him to show me in a dream an alligator or something that would allow me to know it’s the University of Florida (they have the mascot of the gators).

After praying about this, I had a dream where I was chased down by men to this banquet hall where many people attended and there were multiple floors (kind of like a university) and outside an alligator protected me from those people coming inside. Now, symbolize that as you may, take it for what it is, I am certain that this fancy banquet hall that I attended were other professionals I would meet, and the alligator outside representing the university.

Ask and it shall be given.

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