Hi friends and family!
First off, this is long. I apologize. Okay, now you can read. =]
This is my first of many prayer letters you will be – Lord willing – receiving in the coming years. I’m writing this note mainly to ask for your prayer and to let you know where I’m at in terms of graduating, my degree, and future plans!
This afternoon at 4:00 pm, I have my first of two interviews here at Azusa Pacific University for a program that the Office of World Missions (OWM) offers called H.I.S. Years (hearing, investing, serving). 7-10 applicants are chosen from the pool of 20 who submitted the application.
To give you some insight and explanation surrounding this important interview, let me begin. If you are reading this, the odds are that you most likely know that God has placed in me an immense desire to reach the unreached people groups in the world with God’s redemptive plan of salvation, the Gospel. I have spent the last three years as an undergraduate student majoring in Theater Arts and minoring in Philosophy. God has so incredibly blessed me by condensing a top-of-the-line four year undergraduate education program into three, significantly reducing my loans for tuition (which as it stands is a little under $40,000/year), and further enabling me to fastidiously get to the field to “fill up what is lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24) and to fulfill my ambition for preaching the gospel not ONLY where Christ has been named, but also “to preach the gospel, NOT where Christ has already been name, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.” (Romans 15:20)
In 2007, the Lord struck me with a sense of my finiteness and short period of time I have here on this earth, “For [I am] a mist that appears for a little time and vanishes,” and I need to redeem the time and pursue the Kingdom of God, not only here and now in the comfort of my relatively easy American life, but also in places where they have zero access to any resources that would even remotely point them to the Gospel.
Graduating this coming spring, I will have $43,000 in student loans in my name. This is fantastic considering what it would be if I had taken on all four years. However great this financial success may seem, it is still a heavy financial burden to bear and would most likely stall me from getting to the field for several more years. As it now stands, I was planning and will continue to move in the direction of New Tribes Mission and attending their 4-year long cultural/linguistic acquisition and Bible school as well as Mastering in Education and quite possibly Intercultural Studies elsewhere using an online degree program. This is not to mention the years I will be spending paying off my school loans before any of this can even begin to take place. This is where H.I.S. Years comes into the picture:
H.I.S. Years is a two-year cross-cultural program designed for seniors seeking to serve cross-culturally after graduation. It provides them with emotional and spiritual support during their final year at the school, financial assistance through means of paying student loans during the two years of service, and an assigned mentor to each student preparing to enter the cross-cultural mission field. It is designed to give students an opportunity to serve in a missionary role in a cross-cultural context in order to prepare them for full time ministry abroad. Ultimately, being accepted into this program would enable me to get to the field in the most efficient and time-redeeming manner that is accessible to my faculties.
My request is that you pray ardently for me this afternoon and as often as the Lord puts it on your heart. Pray that the Lord would vindicate His Holy name as I explain the passion that he has put inside of my heart for the supremacy of his glory among the nations. Pray that he would continue to humble me over and over and that I would joyfully accept it without bitterness or complaint. Pray that my answers to these questions would be a reflection of the power of the Gospel and not my abilities, desires, or hopes for my own life. Pray also for direction in the next 10 years. My plans are at a conceptual and tentative stage, but I’m willing to take other avenues to reach the destination that I prayerfully know the Lord has for me. And be praying if God would have you support me in anyway He sees fit in the years to come.
I love you all and pray that this letter finds you joyful, encouraged, and delighting in the Lord.