JOY Stories


Maria Anifowose

He is Faithful

I come from a family of six from Lagos, Nigeria. It’s a very popular city, but they have some communities that are full of a lot of challenges – like in the slums. That is where we lived. Our home had no running water and was built on top of a garbage dump because the land was free.

When I was younger, I watched a tv show. There were these young kids who were sponsored to go on a trip abroad. I was just sitting there, staring at the tv and looking at those kids. If those kids can go abroad and get a scholarship, I can do it too. It opened my eyes to dream big. I was telling my friends, “Hey guys you know what, my dream is to go abroad one day.” They would look at me like, “Really, Maria?” They thought I was crazy because my parents could hardly afford three square meals a day. But I just kept saying those dreams into the ears of God. Though my earthly father could not provide the financial means, we have a Good, Good Father who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think.

In 2017 I was selected by my school to attend a conference in the United States because I had the ability to speak and write English well. When I got to Atlanta, I only had $7 in my pocket. I had no jacket, and I was freezing. For me, just being in the United States was already the miracle. I am here. God will provide. And He did. I came here just for that conference. I had no clue what was going to happen after that week. But it was at that conference I got my first scholarship to go to school. That’s what God can do!

I am currently studying communications. I want to go back to Nigeria to start a communications school to teach kids how to speak English in the proper way. Being able to do that helped open a lot of doors for me in Nigeria. If this skillset helped open those doors for me, I want to give those kids the same chance to dream big. I want to let them know that you can’t allow your background to put your back on the ground.

To remind myself of the faithfulness of God, I go back to having zero dollars and no food in Nigeria to flying in a plane to the U.S. He is faithful. He did not bring me this far to leave me alone. What he has started… he’s going to finish. I am so glad and grateful for any opportunity to share the story of God’s Glory. He’s alive and He’s real and He shows up in our lives. It’s an honor to just share His story. The Gift taught me to experience God's streams of Joy that never run dry regardless of ANY season of life where we may find ourselves. The Gift came at a time where we were experiencing grief. My host mom's dad, and my Papa, passed on the day after my story was shared. As we grieved, donations came in and it was a reminder of God's light in the middle of the dark; God's Hope in the middle of hopelessness, and that God is the source of joy in every circumstance!

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them.' The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalms 126:2-3 NIV

Since The JOY FM shared my story, I started my senior year of college at the University of North Georgia; and we paid tuition stress-free. Also, it is dangerous for me to return to my hometown in Nigeria at this time. With the money raised, we have begun praying that I will be able to get a masters degree. This will allow me to expand my skills to help the children in Nigeria when I return and also to wait for the unrest to improve.

I am so grateful for the gift of love shared with me. I am walking each day rejoicing in hope, and in joy that was brought to me through God and the love and kindness of the listeners at the JoyFM

Photos for Maria Anifowose


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