Tag Archives: testimony

Bullied at work

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Two years ago, I moved to The Netherlands for work. On my first day, I was introduced to my team. My manager told my colleagues which “band” I was on and that I had no prior experience. She made a sarcastic comment and said “.. not sure why she is on this band considering she doesn’t have any experience”. My new colleagues started to complain saying that it took them ‘years’ to reach that band and that it was not fair. That is when my horrifying experience began. There I was day in day out in an office with colleagues who refused to talk to me. I ate my lunch alone. They were supposed to train me on the job, but refused to train me. After two months, my manager instructed them they had to do so at all cost.

After 3 weeks of training, my colleagues informed my manager that I was ‘not competent’ and would never be able to learn the tasks of the role. They refused to sign me off, thus my manager assigned me to do filing and photocopying. The lady who was working me was unfriendly from the beginning. Eventually we got round to talking about church and she told me she was a church goer. She was so cold, she would come in, not say hello and sit next to me for the next 8 hours. Then reported me to my manager that I was making a “mess of things” and unable to file. She reported that when she left the room I would check her e-mail (her desktop was locked) and go through her locker (which was locked with a key). By this time, I was becoming depressed, unable to sleep at night and asking God why He allowed me to move to The Netherlands to endure such hardship.

My manager whom I had confided in, also turned against me. She was the only one who would go to lunch with me. She made it clear that she was my manager and had a High School diploma. My university piece of paper was useless. I was on a one year contract. Without my knowledge, my manager informed the director that I was not performing well and that my contract should not be extended. The director had hired me from the UK and was shocked by the feedback. He said that my interview was very good and was surprised I was not managing the role. God gave me favour with this man, and he renewed by contract for a further 11 months. My manager was not pleased about it and ensured that I did not get a pay rise.

I was nominated for an awards ceremony for the members of staff who attributed to the core values of the company. I was humbled, thankful and had a prepared a speech. Two days before the event, one of the organizers told me they had to take me off from the event. They received information that I was not a good role model for the company and based on the information given, they had chosen another candidate. It ended up that one of my colleagues went to the organizer and spoke many lies. I was heartbroken.

Also, all my colleagues were allowed to go on courses besides me. It was one excuse after the other as to why I couldn’t follow a course. Moreover I already had a “piece of paper” and so there was nothing else they could offer me. That is when I decided to pursue a masters whilst studying fulltime without their knowledge. I completed this with a distinction within one year on a scholarship (see God’s restoration blogpost ).

The maltreatment at work continued, there were days when I just wanted to quit. I went back to the Father and reminded Him of the promise He gave me when I moved. I had received a prophetic message that God opened the door for the career move to elevate me. However, this was a contrast. One day, I said to myself, I could no longer take the treatment. I made an appointment with the director and told him everything whilst uncontrollably crying. That is when he told me all the lies my manager had told him. The next day, I was moved to another department. In this department, I have been accepted and the colleagues are wonderful. I also now have a permanent contract.

A few weeks ago, I posted on my Linkedin that I had completed my masters with a picture of my graduation ceremony. Who were the first to comment? My former manager and the colleague who got me removed from the awards ceremony and refused to sign my training. Then, I bumped into them in the corridor and they were praising me for how amazing my academic achievement was and that they had no idea I was doing the course whilst working. I politely said thank you and walked away. I forgive them for their ignorance.

Psalm 23:5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

I can now confirm that (less than a year later) I have been promoted to one of the prestige positions within the company. This was a position that I did not apply for, but was handed to me by the Vice President of the business unit for my academic success and hard work . In addition to this, the lady who reported me for not being able to file will be reporting to me- THANK YOU JESUS!

I want to encourage you today that God sees your struggle-nothing goes unnoticed. Sometimes, God allows us to go through the fire to build character and produce testimonies. Once God elevates you, He will elevate you higher than you ever imagined!

God’s restoration

restorarionI have always loved studying. My mum sometimes reminds me that when I was in primary school and did not get an A, I would sob the whole day and cry. I wouldn’t say I was naturally ‘clever’, but hard work was installed in me.

Five years ago, last term of my degree in Biomedical Science. My research project was the last component to complete my degree. My supervisor, Mrs H, refused to offer any assistance. She didn’t come to the lab to show us how to hold a pipette, let alone explain to us what microvesicles were. She ignored all emails. With four weeks to go, I knew that if a divine intervention did not occur ASAP, my final grade for my dissertation would be 0 and I would drop down to a third class degree. I remembered how three years prior, I had gotten a conditional offer to study medicine. The day my exams started, my dad passed away. I chose to not go to Uganda to bury my father, and focus on ‘passing my exams’. I ended up failing miserably, and my route was diverted to Biomedical Science. Is this how my journey was going to end once again?

One day in the lab, I bumped into a PhD student conversing with one of the lab technicians. The lab technician introduced me and said: “Vanessa is also doing a project in microvesicles”. That is how myself and Ahmed clicked and for the next three weeks, we worked long hours on my project and even stumbled upon a new scientific discovery. His supervisor, the professor was so impressed with my work; he invited me for an interview for a PhD position. The interview went well, and given an offer to commence in 3 months. Mrs H wanted to submit a proposal for a research paper using my results. She contacted me and asked if I could send it before the due date and that she would refer to me in the ‘abstract’. I told her that I no longer had the word version of my dissertation. Why would I help someone who offered me zero assistance? In hindsight, perhaps I should have sent it to her. Out of spite, she went to the professor and I don’t know what was discussed in that office, but he was no longer interested in having me on board. I never heard from him again.

By God’s grace, I ended up completing my degree with a 2:1. One day, one of the technicians called me in confidence and told me I was never to tell or show anyone what he was going to show me. I agreed. He told me that they had stored research projects in the office next to the lab and he found my dissertation. I saw the grade 87 % being crossed out with a red pen to 70%. I was heart-broken.

I knew that with my research project, I would be able to attend a better university for further studies. I got a place at one of the best universities in the world to pursue my masters. I had worked as a science technician at a secondary school, and used all the money I earnt to pay for the course. From the first day I started at the university, I felt like I didn’t belong. Perhaps it was because I was one of few women of colour on my campus. I worked extremely hard during that year and didn’t go out (only had money for my travel card and for my lunch).

When I received my results, I scored very highly on my thesis, but received 0 for all three exams. I knew the course was intense and challenging, but didn’t expect to fail that badly. I was informed I have failed the course, not allowed to see my test papers and to come back in a year to resit. During this year, I was not offered any help and had to pay for these resits. I spent an entire year studying whilst working at this point. I sat the exams and I received the same results. I was not allowed to appeal, not allowed to see my test papers and was not allowed to receive any form of diploma. All they were willing to do is issue a letter from admin that I ‘attended’ the university.

For me, that was the most painful situation I have ever been in. I worked immensely hard to raise the money, studied long hours to end up empty-handed. I cried to God, “Take me home, I am tired of these disappointments”. It was my heart’s desire that God would one day compensate me for the disgrace, pain and disappointments.

Two years went by and I was working in the cytogenetics lab at one of the London NHS hospitals. The NHS was funding a handful of employees to pursue a masters in Genetics (course I had previously done) at one of the affiliated universities. I believed God for restoration and my manager put me forward and I was given the grant to do the masters (part-time whilst working full-time). I was so thankful, as this is what I had asked Him for. However, the following week, I was offered a job in Amsterdam which was a stepping stone in my career and an offer I could not reject. Why has this job offer come at a time like this? As painful as it was, I rejected the masters offer and moved to Amsterdam.

For months I pondered upon whether I had made the right choice to leave the masters opportunity for a job. I still didn’t have peace about it, so I started looking for masters courses within my current field (pharmaceuticals). I applied for a distant learning masters course in Pharmaceutical Sciences at one the top UK University for studying Pharmacy. They offered me a place on the one year course. I couldn’t afford to work part-time, so this meant working 40 hours whilst pursuing a full-time masters. I took a leap of faith and paid the tuition fee. On the day of enrolment, I happened to stumble on a scholarship on the university site. This scholarship was a full academic scholarship. I had nothing to lose (I had already lost enough) and decided once again to take a leap of faith and submitted the forms. To my surprise, I was invited for a Skype interview with the professors. A week later, I was granted a full scholarship and my fees was reimbursed in full (this happened to be on my birthday). This was last year. Two weeks ago, I was awarded a distinction for my masters.

God is amazing, He is big. It is us who limit Him. He is the one who restores, honors and blesses. When He blesses, He does not hold back. He taught me how to hold unto Him during pain, to have faith for the impossible and to never let go of my heart’s desire. I thank God for the tribulations because out of it He has molded me, as well as birthed out a testimony glorifying Him.

For it is written:

The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.

Who would ever have thought that the girl who missed out on medical school, PhD, and a masters from a top university would one day complete her masters in one year with a distinction whilst working full-time on a full time scholarship? That could only be the hand of God!

Silent lips

Silencing my lips is something I learnt to do in this season. Who to trust and who not to trust is the question. Who will tell and who can keep secrets? Trust issues. Who will rejoice with me and who will be envious- paranoia. However, is it paranoia or am I being realistic? After all, we are all humans (Psalm 146:3).

I recently received some good news. Not only was it good news- it was mind-blowing news. God had done the impossible and in fact the whole breakthrough was His divine intervention. Bursting with joy, I wanted to share this wonderful news of Gods’ goodness, and how this fantastic miracle was going change the course of my life. I looked at my phone book and as I looked at each name, I started pondering on which friend I could tell and which one I couldn’t. ‛If I tell her, she will tell the whole world’ etc and so I went on name by name. At first, I thought I was being paranoid and judgmental, but as I elaborate you will understand why these thoughts rushed through my mind.

It is common within the African culture to be ‛pre-warned‛ never to tell people about good news just in case they ‛bewitch you‛. I always thought that was an overstatement and exaggeration, but with time I have understood that not all will celebrate and be pleased for you.

I decided to tell one of my closest friends about my news. As I started to elaborate in joy about the breakthrough, her face changed from excitement to emotionless within seconds. There was no rejoice, let alone congratulations. There was silence. When she eventually spoke, she reminded me of other times when God came through for me, and stated that God ‘always’ seems to bless me. I was shocked because she knew the struggles I had gone through in life, but at that moment it became irrelevant. I tried to explain to her that there are many areas in my life where I am still waiting on a breakthrough and have been very stagnant. She didn’t take any of it in. Envy blocked her from seeing how blessed her life was. It was then that I realized that she had been desiring the same breakthrough in her life and it had not yet materialized for her.

It is very easy to envy someone when they receive a breakthrough. One may wish it was them at that moment. But one will never know the hardship, waiting, sacrifices, humiliation, disappointment and most importantly PRAYER that one had to go through to eventually receive the blessing. People just see the wonderful blessing. We can’t compare ourselves to others because we have not walked in their shoes and vice versa. However, God does not forget us and He knows our prayers and the things we desire. We all have something we desire so badly and need grace for patience. Nevertheless, He knows what is best for us and when is best. Had I received my blessing any earlier and in ease, I would not have given God as much glory as I can today. It was all His doing and no human effort would have enabled it to materialize. I also thank God that I had not received this blessing earlier because I would not have been as humble as I am today. May God give us the grace to wait on His perfect timing.

I was quite upset with my friend and I just didn’t understand her way of thinking. However, last night I had a dream whereby I was walking with the same friend. I ignored any form of conversation with her in the dream. We were going to the same destination; and I was meant to take the same exit as her. She took the exit but missed it and had to go a long way round to get to the same destination. The Holy Spirit then spoke to me that because of my unforgiveness towards her in my heart, I was bringing about delay in my life. I have been asking God for grace to forgive ever since. Unforgiveness is just not worth delay!

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Is silencing our lips the option? I don’t think so. We need to pray for discernment on who to share with and who not to as only God knows the depths of the hearts of man.

An example of this is in Isaiah 39 (please read), whereby Hezekiah shows the son of Babylon all his most treasured possessions.

Isaiah 39:2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses–the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil–his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

The prophet Isaiah then prophesied that because of his ignorance he would lose all these possessions and brought a curse upon his household.

Isaiah 39:6 -7 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

May God continue to give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding and to give us more discernment in Jesus name