First of all, thank you so much for taking your time to read this! I have no words to express how thankful I am!!!
Well, my name is Lidia Botia, and for those of you who don’t know me, let me tell you a little bit about my story….
I was born in Spain, but when I was 8, my parents felt a call to go and serve in Tanzania, Africa, a place we had no idea where it was on the map! So on the 6th of January 2007 we got on a plane with 8 suitcases, left everything behind, and started a journey that would soon change our lives in ways we had no idea!
My parents started a rehab centre (Changamoto ni Matumaini) there to help people with any kind of addictions or any other kinds of hard situation they were experiencing. And I spent my days at an amazing international school called Haven of Peace Academy, where I met people that would soon become mentors, family, and role models. Since I was a little girl I had always wanted to become a teacher, I remember placing all my toys and stuffed animals in my bed and pretended to be a teacher and teach them and also playing and teaching English with my local neighbor friends in Tanzania. However, it wasn’t until grade 10 when I felt that teaching wasn’t just a dream little Lidia had, it was so much more deeper than that: it was my calling.
Since the moment we started living in Tanzania I saw the true power of education, the power it had to completely change a little child’s life. It had the power to do something that millions of families are fighting for: freeing themselves from the poverty cycle. Living in Tanzania taught me how to value life in a way that I would have never learnt if I had stayed in Spain, it taught me to see life so differently and so beautifully, learning to value every little thing I have.
I had the amazing privilege of volunteering at several public schools around the area for quite a few years and working with some of the most amazing children I have met in my whole entire life. Children that with one simple smile lightened your day no matter what, children that had every reason to not smile, yet found joy in every single situation. Smiles that show you that even all the money in this world could never buy the happiness these children breathed. I remember entering a small classroom packed with hundreds of beautiful smiling faces waiting for me to teach them English, eager to learn anything!
I realised that what I had felt being in front of all of them, that something that made my heart burn was indeed my calling. Doing what you were made for is so powerful and so impacting that there are absolutely no words to express it! There were no spotlights, no big revealing dream, no vision. It was a normal hot and humid day in a classroom packed with hundreds of smiling kids with hardly no room to sit down and no notebooks to write on, looking at me. It was that humble and yet most beautiful moment that I felt: this is it, this is what I was born to do.
A phrase that I have always had on my wall is, “You do not have to change the world in order to change the world”. We all want to find a way to have an impact in this world, to leave our footprint, to change huge problems, but the beauty of changing the world is that we do not need to change a whole country in order to make that happen, we do not need to “save” the world in order to be classified as: leaving a footprint. No, what if I told you that changing just one kid is as powerful as changing a whole country? That the one kid you impact will come to impact two more children, the two impacting ten, the ten children impacting a hundred and so on. A productive chain reaction you could say. I know I am called to change this world one kid at a time. It is not something that is “worthy” of being posted in the New York Times, it is no big project that will change the problems of this world from night to day, no, instead it is a much more beautiful job, it’s a job whereby I get to leave a footprint in each of their beautiful hearts, I get to wake up every morning and get the privilege of serving the future’s minds that will change the world. I get to change the world, one child at a time. And I wouldn’t change my calling for anything in this world.
I do not want to become just another teacher, I do not want to become just another adult standing in front of kids and teaching them how to read. I want to become something more than that, I want to become a teacher that does not see her kids as just grades or accomplishments or as my paycheck. I want to wake up every morning and know that each day is going to be a battle I need to win for them. A battle against this world trying to tell them they can not do it, a battle against society telling them they are not beautiful enough, a battle against this world telling them success is only seen in bank accounts. I want to be so much more than a teacher, I want to be a mentor, a friend, a big sister, I want to show them that the classroom is a place where they can be themselves and where we will be a family, and most of alI I want them to see that i am so much more than just a “teacher”.
Why Grand Canyon?
I applied and got accepted at: GCU Witworth University Hope College Biola University Union College Charleston Southern University Gordon College
However, due to expenses and God's guidance I know that GCU is the University for me. Grand Canyon University offers me the tools and experience needed for all of this to happen and for me to have the amazing privilege of impacting our future’s fighters. They not only offer me an education that will equip me with all the necessary knowledge but with the most important aspect of impacting a child: Jesus Christ. Getting a Christ based education will teach me how to impact children through the love of Christ; the most important way I believe to leave a footprint in the hearts of my future students.
Other advantages of GCU that really attracted me is the small class sizes, the “incredible instructors” and the “hands-on opportunities to learn how to teach both inside the college classroom and in the field classroom experiences”
Having been part of Young Life for a while now (been part of Young Life Tanzania and Spain), I know it is something I want to be part of at university as well, at Grand Canyon there is a great Young Life team that I would love to be able to be a part of and reach teenagers and win them for Jesus!
Why invest in my education?
Investing in me is not only investing in the next 4 years, is investing in the future minds. It’s investing in children that deserve a chance to have an education that will enable them to leave the poverty cycle that so many families find themselves in. You will invest in someone that is not looking for a job, but to fulfill her calling, someone who is so passionate about teaching, someone who doesn’t see teaching as a job but as a dream come true, as a door to impact the world in such a powerful and beautiful way.
I am not someone that takes education for granted and never will. My parents have always worked super hard to pay for my education and in fact every year was a miracle from God that we were able to afford highschool, and so I knew that slacking and wasting this amazing opportunity was not an option. I graduated with a 4.0 GPA and with straight As and A*s in my Cambridge final exams and I have won multiple honours awards for my outstanding effort and results as well as been accepted into the honors school of GCU. Adding on to this, I have won multiple awards for serving and organizing events for my community. I guarantee that I will not waste a single second at GCU, that I will keep working as hard and even harder than I have worked so far, because what my future holds depends on how much effort and love I put in my work now. I know that my work right now will no be wasted but in fact is the start of my journey to having the honor of teaching my future beautiful students.
About my goal….
As full-time missionaries, my parents live from donations, which average to about 4000 dollars a year. This is clearly not enough to cover the 15,000 fee that GCU costs a year (it includes everything: housing, meal plan, tuition...etc). By July 2018 (in about 2 months) I need to be able to deposit the 15,000 that is for the school year of 2018. However, I also need to raise money for the next 4 years since I will not be able to work in the USA (not allowed to work with a student visa and use it to pay for my fees). In this case, fundraising is the only way for me to be able to afford university and so my goal (45,000 dollars) which includes my whole university degree.
I have paid for my fall semester online since it is a lot cheaper, and that way be able to work full-time in Madrid at the same time. I will be move to the USA in January to start Spring semester there! SO CRAZY EXCITED!
What are my plans for the future?
My long term goal is to go back to Tanzania and be able to set up schools in local areas for children that can’t afford or are too busy at home to go to school. I know this sounds like a crazy huge dream but I am a huge believer of dreaming big, and for sure a believer of fighting for my dreams. I want to go back to where God showed me He wanted me to become a teacher and be able to help children that don’t have the resources necessary to go to school. But before going to Tanzania my plan is to get some experience somewhere else to be fully equipped and ready for that. However, my main goal is to follow God’s calling wherever He takes me. So many times His plans are not the same as our plans but we are so lucky to know that His plans will forever be so much better than ours and that His plans will always glorify Him! So in short, my plan is to follow God’s call wherever He takes me and to follow His voice!
If you have any questions, doubts or anything please feel free to contact me! I would love to hear from you!