The year was 1968. I arrived in America as a visitor from India, with the hope of graduate school slimming by the minute. Paying for my plane ticket had taken a major bite out of my savings, and the exchange rate at National Airport depleted the rest of my money. One hour after arriving in America, I was left with exactly $20.00—not even enough for a taxi to my brother’s house. But I did have my dreams, which I hoped were God-inspired.
On exiting the airport, I encountered an even worse shock. I had arrived in Washington, D.C. just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. My expectations of coming to “the land of the free” were met by what looked like a war zone. Streets were barricaded. Shops smoldered from gang burnings. Police were everywhere. Sirens wailed.
Less than a week later, Andrews University’s graduate admissions office informed me that all foreign students had to make a deposit of $1,000.00 before they could register. Although earning that amount of money seemed fairly impossible, I started working. Living with my brother helped, and gradually, earning less than $3.00 an hour, I started to recoup my money. Although I missed the September deadline for registration at Andrews, I did make the December admission deadline with the help of a small loan.
My biggest surprise was arriving in South Bend, Indiana to begin graduate studies. My plane landed after a major snowstorm. I had the admissions fee but no boots and not much of a coat. Luckily, someone picked me up at the airport and brought me to the campus, while others helped me find a job at the university’s furniture factory.
Was I tempted to spend my tithe and offering during my no-money days? I don’t remember that as one of my options.
Two years later I had my master’s degree and no debt. I paid God first, for He had blessed the effort that paid for the rest. I remember the blessing. If I had any doubts, they’ve settled into a pattern of giving that shelters me with security.
Photo by: Michael McKennis (eyesoulphotographyllc.com)
Psalm 34:10 “The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good things.”
Fred Khandagle was born in Nasik, India. He completed undergraduate work at Spicer Memorial College and a Master’s degree at Andrews University. He was Bible teacher at Sligo Adventist School for fifteen years. Fred and Maria have three children: Kenneth, Keith, and Kathleen.