A college student’s prayer is answered in an unexpected way.
Leizl Totaram sensed God calling her to move to San Diego to continue college. After facing various trials to get there, God did something completely unforeseen. This is her story.
The cushioned seat in the dainty church felt unusually hard all of a sudden. I played through what I would say in my head like a movie reel clicking along.
What I wanted to mention in my prayer request was that I was trying to move to San Diego for college to pursue fashion design. My family wasn’t able to afford tuition and as it turned out, we weren’t able to take out loans either. With the declining economy, my parents’ credit hindered us from having a loan without a cosigner. So, we asked close family and friends to cosign, but time after time, they were also unapproved either because of their credit or citizenship.
We had been praying for months and tried everything we could.
I love that my church in Northern California was as small as it was because each Sunday, people would raise their hands and share their hearts. Then the pastor would lift each prayer request to God right then and there.
On this particular Sunday, when the pastor finally asked if anybody had any prayer requests, I confidently shot up my hand. I stood and shared, “So as many of you know, I’m supposed to be going to school in San Diego...” Tears suddenly began to stream down my face. I inhaled deeply but all confidence left me as I realized the gravity of my situation.
Tears suddenly began to stream down my face. I inhaled deeply but all confidence left me as I realized the gravity of my situation.
Out of the corner of my eye, through blurred vision from the tears, I saw my dad looking at me. I could tell he was wondering if I would be able to continue speaking. I waved my hand at him, signaling him to get up and speak.
“I’ll communicate on Leizl’s behalf,” he said. “I can’t…well, because of my credit…I’m not able to take out a loan. We need someone to cosign for us. So, we just want to pray for that. That God would provide so that Leizl can go to college.”
We both sat back down, closed our eyes, and lowered our heads as a member of the church prayed for us.
After service, an elderly couple turned around to face us. The man pushed the wheelchair that his wife was sitting in. She looked up at my father and me and said, “What is it you need, honey?”
Dad and I looked at each other. I replied, “I need a cosigner for a loan so that I can go to school.”
“Well,” she smiled, “I don’t see why we can’t help you out.” Her husband nodded his head in agreement.
My heart jumped. I couldn’t contain the smile that began to spread across my face. “Oh! Okay!” I was in complete awe. I even realized that I barely knew these people, so much so that I began to introduce myself. “I’m Leizl.” I scribbled my number on my notebook with some other information they needed to move forward in the cosigning process.
A few days following, the husband said he wanted to speak with my father and me before service on Sunday. What if they changed their minds? I thought.
The three of us sat down in a small room near the church sanctuary. “I looked into it and discovered that you would be paying back two to three times as much as the original loan amount,” he explained, very father-like.
“Oh, I understand. I just want to get there. I will do whatever it takes to get there.”
He continued, “Now, I’m still willing to cosign for you, but I wanted to offer you another idea. I’m willing to lend you this money myself. We can figure out the logistics of how you can pay me back later with a small interest rate but for now, we need to get you to school.”
I blinked. Then came the tears. I could barely speak as I looked at my dad, “I think that’s a better idea.”
As we wrapped up our conversation, the older gentleman put his arm around my shoulder as we walked into church. “So, what school are you going to, honey?”
I grinned and told him I would be transferring to The Art Institute of California in San Diego to be a fashion designer. He smiled excitedly and exclaimed, “Well, that sounds like fun!”
I still couldn’t believe that somebody who just met me would be willing to lend me thousands of dollars so I could do what God was calling me to do.
I still couldn’t believe that somebody who just met me would be willing to lend me thousands of dollars so I could do what God was calling me to do. He previously had no idea what I was going to be studying, which college I was going to, or even what kind of student I was. But he didn’t have to. He saw my need and was willing to meet it.
That Tuesday, my parents and I met the elderly couple in their home. There, the husband wrote up a contract and a timeline of monthly payments of the loan that I would start to repay around graduation.
From our short time there, they continued to amaze me. They explained that they have granddaughters in college and through them, they’ve seen how challenging it is to afford school. I thought, Wow, they have a family this could be going to but they, for some reason, are gifting this to me. That day, they wrote me a check for over $13,000.
Two days later, I left for San Diego.
In the following months, I wrote that sweet couple letters and would visit them every time I returned home during holidays.
After a year, he pulled me aside one day at church when I was at home visiting. He said, “I know you’re going to be repaying the loan. But you know, I probably won’t be around that long. So, I would rather you give it to the church, and it can go to a scholarship for students there who are planning to go to college.”
Now, the church hosts a “graduation lunch” every year and they donate to the students’ college fund through the money that the man had lent me. He not only helped one girl go to college, he’s continuing to help many students live out their calling through this one investment.
Leizl finished art school. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fashion design. She was also awarded Most Outstanding Fashion Design Student. Currently, she is starting her own fashion line and contracting as the Creative Project Manager at Rock Church.
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