The Princess rubbed her bleary eyes, rolled to her feet and padded to the window. The curtains parted to reveal the grounds of a childcare centre. It was her first glimpse of the campus. They had arrived in the dark of the early morning hours, after a drive that took nearly 12 hours.
Upon arrival they had fallen on bare unmade beds into an exhausted sleep. Now they had woken to life in their two bedroom student flat, Isaac asked “Do you want to go to the dining hall for breakfast?” “No thanks, I’m not up to meeting people just yet. Can you just bring us some food?” she asked.
When the Princess did venture out with her daughter, she found the place had a different vibe from any place she had ever been. Every person on the campus seemed to know the King. He was spoken of in the lecture theatre, the dining hall, and all throughout the campus. Warriors casually strode through the place wearing their swords, and there was not a dragon in sight. They all ate together in a big dining hall, and did not have to lock their doors. The Princess gradually stopped keeping an eye out for dragons and relaxed.
The College was small compared to UCOL, but punched above its weight, especially in the field of animation. Their credo was “Do it with excellence”. As well as the campus, and the childcare centre, there was a church, a farm, a TV station, and a home for the intellectually disabled in nearby Warkworth. The campus was located on a peninsula in the Hauraki Gulf, part of the Auckland isthmus. Kawau Island, a large island with no roads, lay offshore. Auckland lay one hour south by road.
The land was called Mahurangi, meaning ‘Open Heaven or open sky’ in the Maori language. The name suited the land. Picturesque beaches and bays fringed with Pohutukawa trees dotted the area, and behind that there were vineyards, farms, villages and pockets of bush.
The College was constructed by a visionary Prince named ‘Trevor’ and his wife Jan. His name in Welsh meant “great settlement”, which was appropriate. They were promised work on the campus, but it soon proved to be nothing but a mirage, putting them in a financial bind which she hated. In the vast desert she had crossed, mirages meant death. What had she done? The Princess missed Engedi, her son, her home, the cat, and her income. It wasn’t a good place to start from.
The King sent a woman to her table as she was eating lunch. The woman was visiting her student son, and did not know her. “May I bring you a word?” she asked. Wondering, she nodded her agreement. “You are with Him in fellowship with his sufferings. He knows how much you have given up for Him. He knows. He is here with you. He is going to bless you.”
Reassured by the King’s words, the Princess tried to settle in to her new life as an adult student.
Besides the mirage, there were giants in the land. The first giant was an obstacle called maths, statistics to be exact. Statistics was a paper that barred many students from gaining the Diploma of Business.
Looking at what lay before her, she renamed the subject sadistics, and dug her feet in. She sat in the lecture theatre looking at the lecturer blankly – clearly not understanding the paper. The Princess spoke to the King in disbelief. “I have not been able to grasp maths since the age of ten. You know that, and now you want me to learn first year university maths in four weeks?”
“You can do it” the King reassured her. Isaac patiently taught her remedial maths, putting up with the anger, frustration and hurt as painful memories from the words and actions of her previous math teachers tumbled out, haunting her. In her mind, the ghosts from teachers past all pointed out she could not learn maths. The King did not agree that she could not do it. “You did not lack ability. Your teachers lacked accountability. They focussed on the children of the parents who expected results” He explained. “That sucks” she snarled. “My mother was no match for them, and it ruined my career prospects, until you came along and made me sit that IQ test”.
She bowed to Him, remembering what He had done for her. “The teachers did not ruin your career prospects, although they did blight them for a while. In the end, you got there in spite of them. Do not believe their words, or allow them to determine your destiny” He replied, adding “You have the ability, you always did. Now make friends with maths.”
The giant beat her back the first time. “I can’t do it” she sobbed. The King stood there, urging her “You CAN do it”.
Isaac told her “It’s just another programming language” “Well, it’s a rubbish language, the rules are not explained, and I can’t understand the logic” the Princess complained, but Isaac had sown a seed. “You don’t need to understand the logic. You only need the rules” Isaac patiently explained. The Princess got it. She had learned several programming languages, quite easily. If she could learn those, she could learn the rules.
The King reminded her of what He had taught her;
“Throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow.
She came back at the giant obstacle, and ran hard at it, throwing her heart over the bar. This time, helped by the King, and helped by Isaac, she soared over it, hitting a mark of 83%.
“What have you learned?” the King asked afterwards, as He smiled at the triumphant Princess. The Princess replied “I have learned not to believe the teachers who said I can’t do it. You strengthen me and say I can do it. With you, I can scale a wall.”
I have learned that I can do all things through the power of Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13