Nankal Darshak, a December 2022 graduate of Kuyper, began her journey to the College on the other side of the globe.
Born in Nigeria, into a family of seven children plus her mom and dad, she was raised in a Christian home and professed Christ at an early age. Following violence between Muslims and Christians in her hometown of Yelwa, she decided to take her faith to a deeper level by being baptized.
“Many houses, including mine, were burned down. This and the deaths of people I knew personally caused me to pause and take stock of how I was following Christ,” she recalled.
Darshak began pursuing an education degree at a local college, but another conflict sadly took place. Her family home was again destroyed, and she nearly lost her father to the violence, but she did not lose hope.
Reflecting on this time in her life, she said: “My faith in God and in his love was strengthened during this time. It was a very hard time, but I treasure it all the same. I learned what it was to depend completely on the Lord.”
As she depended on God, she also nurtured a dream. “It was my prayer for a long time to get some education in the States,” she said. “God answered my prayers by giving me admission to Kuyper College. That was a great privilege for me, for my dream had come true.”
A scholarship she was awarded through the Multiracial Student Scholarship Fund (MSSF), a program of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), was an important part of making that dream come true. The MSSF is a strategy employed by the CRCNA’s Office of Race Relations to develop multiracial congregational leadership.
In Nigeria, Nankal had met and married her husband, a minister with whom she shares three children. She had become comfortable with the life of a pastor’s wife, including leading the church’s women’s fellowship. But in 2014, he received a scholarship to attend Calvin Theological Seminary and traveled to the United States while she stayed with their children in Nigeria and taught at an elementary school.
The next year Nankal and her children were able to join her husband in the United States. Adjusting to their new life was difficult at first, especially when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but she still felt God’s guiding hand upon her life.
“Had I been in Nigeria, I might not have found out about the cancer,” she said. “Sometimes things happen, and we don’t see God’s plan until we look back. In hindsight, I have seen so much of His grace and faithfulness in my life.”
That includes her Kuyper College experience.
“I will always remain grateful for Kuyper College, to the MSSF and all the other donors who supported me and the scholarships they provide for people like me to make studies possible,” she said. “Thank you so much for your work of expanding God’s kingdom on earth.”