When I graduated with an R.N. from the Atkinson School of Nursing at Toronto Western Hospital in 1973, it was about as far as a young woman without any money could go in their education. I was grateful for the opportunity to get out of Lucan, even if my education wasn’t everything I desired. Over the years as I was promoted to managerial positions I took numerous courses – over forty in fact – to keep up with the demands of my increased responsibilities. Unfortunately, as the courses I took were purpose-driven to meet the challenges of my job, they never translated into a degree, closing the door to further education.
Nonetheless, my career in Nursing Administration and the networking and communication skills I developed turned out to be ideally suited for ministry in Southeast Asia as I was called upon to develop an evangelical outreach through health care in Cambodia. The last five years have been an amazing adventure with God and I have used everything that I have learned over the course of my career to meet the challenges of ministry. However, with every accomplishment, with every open door, there has been a new challenge and a new responsibility. Often I have found myself scrambling to learn the things I need just in order to do my job, which just keeps growing.
My responsibilities have now grown to the place that I recognize the need to document and systematize the process that I have initiated in order that this project may receive the recognition in university and college settings that would allow it to be of practical use in other mission fields. When Steve and I returned to Asia in July we began investigating the possibility of furthering our education. We were delighted to find a Masters program at Fuller Theological Seminary that would give us an opportunity to put to good use the lessons and hard won successes that God has lead us through in the last five years. This program would also help me to develop the educational foundation I need to take my work in this region to the next level.
The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies (MAICS) is designed to prepare students for various types of cross-cultural ministry and provides a foundational set of integrated courses from the schools of theology, intercultural studies, and psychology as well as a second set of missiological courses such as anthropology, globalization, mission history, spirituality, and a theology of mission. Elective classes are available in the areas of mission history, international development, children at risk, and urban ministry.
A month ago, so quickly that we barely had time to take it in, Steve was accepted into the program and just yesterday completed his registration for two courses that he will begin online in January. My enthusiasm for my husband’s acceptance was tempered by the knowledge that despite all my efforts to obtain transcripts and provide documentational support, it looked as if I wasn’t going to be accepted. Greatly disheartened I began looking at other options, but there really wasn’t anything else out there that would meet my needs in ministry. Steve continued to encourage me to believe that God would grant me the desire of my heart, but I must confess that my own hopes were dimming.
What a shock it was then this morning to wake up to an email message from Fuller congratulating me on my acceptance into the program! I am staggered by the grace of God speaking His words of hope and encouragement into my heart. We are so excited to be at this stage in our lives and still have the opportunity to be learning and studying courses that will apply directly to our work here. We have ten years to complete the course work and even if it takes that long it will be well worth the journey. Surely God is faithful to those who seek to faithfully serve Him. I am now a candidate for a Master’s Degree! How amazing is that!