Thoughts : Poverty : Response Letter to Wheaton College

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Dear —-, hi. Thank you for your email and sorry for this late reply. As much as I want to study in Wheaton (and I really do!) I have decided after much consideration that I would not like to burden my parents with the cost of the education eventhough they could afford it and are very willing to send me.

Knowing so much poverty exists in this world makes me think twice about how I want to spend my own money and that of my parents. Being a Christian and one that wants to view my passions (Development and Politics) from a Christian point of view, I would have loved to attend Wheaton as I consider it the best Christian university in the world. However, I guess I also have to be faithful to my own principles. My love for International Development and International Politics/Relations stem from my heart of compassion for the poor and oppressed – which I believe is God’s heart too. It is by God’s grace that I was born in the country of Singapore (a relatively well-off and developed nation) and live in a middle-class family. I don’t want to take this for granted knowing that billions of people around the world live in poverty. I want to be a good steward of the God’s gifts and not use money in an unnecessary and wasteful way.

It is not that I consider spending on the education at Wheaton wasteful, but I cannot justify spending US$100,000 of my family’s money just for my own education. Again, it is the poverty in the third-world that comes to my mind. US$100,000 for my education is just too much and I’m not worth it. I think nobody ought to spend that much when thousands die each day because of starvation.

Therefore, sticking to my principles necessitates that I should not accept the offer. It is not only for me that I do this, but for every poor person out there. I just cannot get them out of my head. It is my small little sacrifice for them. It is a symbolic stand. It is my act of solidarity with them.

Please do not misunderstand this email. I am very much delighted to have been accepted to Wheaton College. I consider it a real honour to be selected. And I wish I could have received the quality education I would get if I were to study there. Believe me, I’m one of the biggest believers in education and the power of education to shape minds and lives. I know that any university I eventually go to will not be as good and challenging as Wheaton College for my Christian mind, but I also know that one’s University education is not everything in life – definitely not, when people cannot even afford to live.

When I applied to Wheaton College, money wasn’t that important to me. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was. But now, things are different. A knowledge of what goes on in the world around us changes our perspective of things and life. That’s the power of ideas, knowledge and education (be it informal or formal).

Thanks anyway and I wish Wheaton College all the best. May it continue to mould many more godly people and shape the thinking of young lives in a godly way.

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