Hello friends, family and all who read this!
This blog serves several purposes; to update you and let you know what I’m up to, to show you my dreams and hopes for the future, and to ask you for help.
First, what I’m up to. Right now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Old Town Chicago, sipping on a cup of tea and taking a break from Greek homework. For those who might not know, I’m currently a sophomore at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. I’m in the Pre-Seminary program, working on my Bachelor’s degree. The way Moody works their degree program is unusual, so I am effectively double majoring. Every student is a Bible major and also chooses a secondary major. In my case, Pre-Seminary falls under the umbrella of our Pastoral Studies department, which allows me a strong emphasis in Biblical languages, theology and Bible classes. That said, I am loving every moment of school!
I also love living in Chicago. Those of you who live in Southern California can have your beautiful weather, beaches and In-N-Out burger, I’ll take 4 seasons, corn fields and the opportunity to live and work here (but I’ll totally take California when I visit!). This past summer I stayed in Chicago and worked on campus, for our tech support department. I lived about 5 miles from campus and biked to work every day. Last year I led worship at my church every week and even got to preach once!
I’m currently involved with the youth group at my church, and I lead worship for the youth every week. I am still singing with the Moody Men’s Collegiate Choir (Look out Southeastern US, we’re coming to visit this spring!), and I am working about 30 hours per week, on top of school. More on that later.
I want to take a moment to show you my dreams for the future and the vision for ministry that I believe God has given me. I believe God has gifted me in leadership and teaching, and has given me a love for His word. It is with this belief that I am studying to become a pastor. I would love nothing more than to be a pastor full time, teaching the word of God and ministering to hurting people. My dream is to graduate Moody and continue on to seminary, where I plan to complete an M.Div. (Master of Divinity) degree program at the minimum, possibly continuing on to a doctoral program.
After I’ve finished an M.Div. program, I hope to begin a position as a pastor at a church. There is nothing I think I’d love more than to remain with a church for several decades. In the distant future, if I was to leave a pastoral position, I would like to teach at the college level. That is a dream that may never come to fruition, but I would happily jump at the opportunity, should it ever present itself.
I said at the beginning of this letter that I wanted to ask for help. More accurately, I’d like to ask for your support. As I mentioned, I’m working about 30 hours per week, and I thank God for the ability to do that, and the sanity to keep up with it. However, I am struggling to pay for school going forward. Moody has a tuition paid program, which means they use a combination of donor gifts and Federal aid (given to students individually) to cover the cost of tuition for each student. What that means for me is that I am responsible for paying room and board, along with other miscellaneous fees. This totals about $12,000 per year. So far, through the gracious assistance of Valley Baptist Church and the goodness of God, I have paid this without going into debt. However, as I advance in my degree, my courses are becoming more academically rigorous, and I find that I am increasingly challenged to work enough to pay for school while keeping my grades up. This is where I would like to present you with an opportunity to support me.
Before I get into the details of this, I would like to thank those of you who already support me with your prayers. I know that many people are praying for me regularly, and I don’t want to underestimate the power behind that prayer. I ask that you all would continue to pray for me. It means a lot to me.
I also appreciate financial support. As of right now, I owe about $4,000 for the current semester. That amount needs to be paid in full by November 1st. If you feel that what I am doing is something you would like to support, and you are able to support financially, you can send checks to
Moody Bible Institute
P.O. Box 6500
Chicago, IL 60680-6500.
Include my name and the ID number 4130864 on the check, so that the money can be credited to my account. Again, I appreciate anything you are able to do, be it prayer or financial support.
Finally, in the words of Paul the Apostle,
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5).
I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)