Luke's Story

Typically children complain about going to school because it is a lot of work. They do not want to get up early and they would rather stay home and play. However, when education is a rarity, the reverse can be true of a child’s attitude, they beg to go to school.

Luke grew up in a poor farming village in Africa. He was one of 10 children. His father raised beef cows and he also ran a small butchery in a nearby town. Although Luke was a teenager, he had never been given the blessing of his father to attend school. Instead his father preferred that he work in the family business. As Luke watched his older brothers go to school each day, he longed to be among them. His father explained to Luke that he simply could not afford for anymore children to attend school, and that Luke should not worry about going to school, he didn’t need it to be a good businessman.

Luke spent his childhood working for his father but he observed that the first week of each school term was free, school fees were not collected until the 2nd week. So for that first week of each term (3 terms per year), Luke would get up very early, tend to his chores for his father, find someone else to watch the cows then he would sneak away to school. Each time his father caught him going to school, he would beat him. But Luke was determined and he kept going for those 3 free weeks each year, even though he knew he would receive a beating for going to school.

As time went on and Luke watched his older brothers complete primary school and enter into secondary school, his desire to become educated grew even stronger. Luke kept pleading with his father and said he was willing to earn the necessary school fees by doing small jobs around the village. Finally his father agreed and Luke started raising chickens. He then sold his chickens and bought a lamb and began raising sheep. In time he had what he thought was enough money for the school fees, so his father allowed him to go to school using his own money. Yet the money was not enough to pay for the entire year’s fees, and the Head Master chased Luke from school telling his parents they were being negligent. This was too humiliating for the father and again he forbid Luke to continue in school.

Things progressed like this until Luke was 14 years of age. At this time the government made primary education mandatory for all children, and they also made it free. Luke was elated because he knew his father could not refuse him any longer and he would really be given a chance to go to school full time.

The first day of school, Luke was placed in Grade 1, but he felt ashamed because he was much bigger and older than the other children, and the work was simple for him. Determined to try Grade 2 instead, he left the Grade 1 classroom and sat in the back of the Grade 2 classroom for 2 days. He listened keenly to all the teacher said. When the Head Master found Luke in Grade 2 he told him that he must return to Grade 1, but Luke told the Head Master that he understood everything and he proceeded to give all the correct answers to the math problems on the chalkboard. The Head Master was impressed and he agreed to give Luke 1 week to prove that he could do Grade 2 work. At the end of the week the Head Master found that Luke was number 1 in the class and he allowed Luke to skip Grade 1 and proceed in Grade 2.

His father then changed his mind and thought that primary education would be good for Luke and make him a greater asset to the family business. For the next few years life was good for Luke, the beatings stopped, his chores were reduced and he now was receiving his father’s full blessing to go to school. Luke worked hard in primary school, graduating at the top of his class. He was encouraged by his teachers and Head Master to carry on and go to secondary school because he was an excellent student. His father however had other plans. He wanted to put Luke back to work in his business. Luke again pleaded with his father to allow him to continue with his schooling. But his father would not hear of it. Luke then realized it would be solely up to him if he was going to continue his education.

Luke kept his sheep business going throughout primary school and eventually sold his sheep to buy 3 cows. Unfortunately, while Luke was in school his brothers stole 2 of his cows and sold them; Luke was left with only one cow by the time he graduated from primary school. He decided to sell his remaining cow and send himself to secondary school, with or without his father’s blessing.

At the beginning of the next school year, Luke registered himself at a boarding school without telling his father which school and he attended almost the entire year. Sadly, he ran out of money before the end of his first year and had to return home. His father beat Luke so brutally that his mother intervened to save him, and she took the rest of the father’s wrath upon herself and was beaten badly.

It took Luke a long time to heal from this beating. He lived in fear of his father so he went back to work for him. But Luke never gave up on his education and over time he managed to earn enough money to begin secondary school again. This time he found a school with lower fees that offered him an academic scholarship. The father again was furious, but he could not find which school Luke was attending. Luke performed very well and when he would go home during break times, he would avoid his father, and would run away if he tried to abuse him. Because he did not want to endanger his mother, he would secretly sleep in the barn and never ate a meal at home. It was in this manner that Luke was able to complete his secondary education which opened the door for him to go to college. Luke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business. He also studied to become an ordained pastor.

Today Luke is married to a veterinarian, they have 5 boys of their own, and all are in school getting a good education. Luke has spent his career in the pastorate, has begun several churches and has become a successful mentor and teacher in an equipping ministry for church leaders. He and his wife are also the founders and directors of a school for underprivileged children.