Friday, May 27, 2011

From Riches to Rags to Riches

Christina Osborn graduates with a B.S. in public relations and advertising in May.

The life of Christina Osborn was changed the day the power went off.

For years, she’d been living a life many young girls only dream of living. She was a top model in Thailand and the Philippines. She had sports cars, jewelry, and often partied in exotic locales at a moment’s notice. She had everything—and nothing.

Then one day she was cleaning the bathroom in her Manila apartment. The floor was wet and she felt her legs slide from beneath her. She fell hard on the tile and quickly learned that she couldn’t stand or walk.

This turned out to be the end of her modeling career. Within a day or two, she couldn’t move. Days turned into weeks, then months, and the doctors couldn’t determine what was wrong with her. She relied on her live-in boyfriend to take care of her finances.

And then 18 months later, in March 2006, the power in her apartment went off. She learned that her boyfriend had emptied her bank accounts and sold her expensive jewelry, using the money for partying and drugs.

She was stuck in Manila, penniless. She charged her cell phone at a plug in the lobby. Her parents in the United States sent her enough money for food.

Then she discovered that her bag with her passport and IDs had been stolen and that her boyfriend had allowed her visa to expire. Not only was she unable to enter the U.S. consulate because she had no I.D., she couldn’t leave the country because she had no visa.

“I was totally stuck,” she says. “All I could think was to pray, ‘God, get me out of here!’” And when she prayed, she saw the life she’d been living. “Asking for forgiveness was the second thing I started to do.” She began reading The Story of Redemption and learned that God is willing to forgive no matter what. She asked friends to find more books, and began praying, “Please, God, let me walk because I want to go to church.” Within a few months, she discovered she could stand, but she still couldn’t walk. She slowly grew strong enough to get to the doorway, then down the hall, and eventually down the four flights of stairs to the lobby. The first time she walked to church, on the way home she fainted twice from the pain.

Now able to walk, she worked for weeks to come up with a postal ID which had her picture on it, which got her into the American embassy where she got a new passport.

At Christmas, Christina attended a party at the family home of her boyfriend. His uncle, who had friends in immigration, agreed to help her get her visa. With the help of her parents, she paid a fine and was soon on an airplane on her way to Keene, Texas, where her parents worked at Southwestern Adventist University.

When she arrived, she looked around for work, and saw a job opening at the campus radio station. But in order for her to work at the station, she learned she’d have to register as a student.

In May, she graduated from Southwestern Adventist University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. She found that she loved working at the radio station, and hopes to make it a career. And most importantly, she found the love of her life, a theology major named Nick Osborn. They were married in March, 2008.

“I have to believe that God has led in my life,” she says. “If I didn’t, I’d be a fool.”

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