As I am growing (physically) and maturing (mentally and spiritually),I am beginning to see and understand how God works in mysterious ways.Not that I understand what He will do next but how He uses people and situations we never expect.I have come across incredible stories of people who have done exceptional things-believers and non-believers.As a Christian(who is not perfect but being perfected),it has opened my eyes as to how amazing God is willing to use anyone whether people accept it,condone it or believe it.He is a God of unsearchable knowledge and infinite love.He has made vessels of unexpected people from different places and backgrounds.Some have changed lives academically,mentally and some have resonated the human in us.
Today I will name a few of these people,who have inspired me and changed my way of thinking.Some of these stories have even pushed me as a Christian to ask myself if my lifestyle really yield the characteristics of who I say I am.
Sir Nicholas George Winston (19 May 1909-1 July 2015) was a British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children,most of them Jewish,from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”.This was during the holocaust (Shoah) in which Adolf Hitler murdered 6 million Jews and any person who was not of the aryan race.
Shortly after the 1938 Christmas,Sir Nicholas was planning to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. He decided instead to go to Prague and help his friend who was an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia then in the process of being occupied by Germany.He single-handedly established an organisation to aid children from Jewish families at the risk of the Nazis.Thanks to his connections in Britain,refugees younger than 17 were allowed entry into Britain provided they had a place to stay and a warranty for their return to their country.He was helped by family and friends to look for homes for the children he saved.The world found out about his work over 50 years later in 1988 and he was knighted by the Queen in 2003.
Helen Adams Keller (27 June 1880-1 June 1986) was an American author,political activist and a lecturer.She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.She proved to the world that deaf people could all learn to communicate and they could survive in the hearing world.She also taught that deaf people are also able to do things that hearing people can do.She was taught to read,write and give speeches by her teacher and companion Anne Sullivan who was also visually impaired.Her difficulty beginning (she would become so frustrated when Anne was teaching her) gave her the appetite to affect the world around her.She enjoyed music by feeling the beat and had a strong connection with animals through touch.m
“Knowledge is happiness.To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man’s progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through centuries;and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving,one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life”-Helen Keller.
She was delayed at picking up language but that did not stop her from having a voice.
3.SCRINIVASA RAMANUJAN (INDIA)
Srinivasa Ramanujan (22 December 1887-26 April 1920) was an Indian mathematician who lived through the British Rule in India,a time when the British were only considered and accepted as the great thinkers of the world.Even though he had almost no formal training in pure mathematics,he made substantial contributions to mathematics,analysis,number theory,infinite series and continued fractions including solutions to mathematical problems considered to be unsolvable.He developed his own mathematical research in isolation which was quickly recognised by Indian mathematicians.Ramanujan when asked how he came up with new formulas and theorems,he said that he dreamt them.Seeking mathematicians who would best understand his work,he began a postal partnership with an English mathematician,G.H Hardy at the University of Cambridge,England.Impressed and recognising his extraordinary work,Professor Hardy arranged for Ramanujan to travel to England.He produced ground breaking theorems including some that Hardy stated had defeated him and his colleagues completely.He independently compiled 3 900 results,were many were novels and his original and highly unconventional results such as the Ramanujan prime,Ramanujan theta function,partition formulae and mock theta functions.
As late as 2011 and 2012,researchers continued to discover that mere comments of his writings about “simple properties” and “similar outputs” for certain findings profoundly and subtly remained unsuspected until nearly a century after his death.Hardy stated that a single look at Ramanujan’s work,was enough to show they could only have been written by a mathematician of the highest calibre,comparing Ramanujan to other mathematical geniuses such as Euler and Jacobi.
Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank (12 June 1929-February or March 1945) was a German born novelist.She is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust,she became famous after the publication of Diary of a Young Girl (originally Het Achterhuis,German for The Secret Annex) which is her journal when she was in hiding from 1942-1944.
Anne spent the two years she journaled in her diary-before being arrested and imprisoned in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp together with her mother and older sister Margot.She documented about how they went in hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in a building where her father worked up until her family and some of the friends they shared the rooms with,were arrested by the Gestapo in August 1944.Anne died at 15 years old in March of 1945,a few weeks before British soldiers liberated the camp in April 1945.
Through out,Anne was optimistic and she believed that peace would return again,even when many Jews were being tortured and killed.
“Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion,misery and death…I think…peace and tranquillity will return again.I must uphold my ideals,for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.”-Anne Frank.
5.MALALA YOUSAFZAI (PAKISTAN)
Malala Yousafzai (12 July 1997-) is a Pakistani activist for female education ad the Youngest Nobel Prize laureate.She is known for human rights advocacy,especially the education of women and children in her native Pakistan,where the local Taliban had at times banned girls to go to school.
In 2009 when she was around 11-12 years old,Malala wrote a blog under pseudonym BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat.The following Summer,a journalist from America,made a documentary about her life and she rose in prominence-which made her a target of the Taliban.
October 9,2012 while on a bus after taking an exam,Malala and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation with her activism.Having been hit by a bullet in the head,Malala was in a critical condition ad remained unconscious.She survived,relocated to the UK and is currently studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy,Politics and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall,Oxford.
In her first speech following the attack,she addressed an international Youth Assembly at U.N Headquarters:Let us pick up our books and pens.They are our most powerful weapons.One child,one teacher,one pen and one book can change the world.Education is the only solution.”