Pam and I were well into our Master’s at Fuller when we saw an opening for the MAGL (Master of Arts in Global Leadership) program that was a little more geared to our area of ministry. We switched over last September and completed the initial course in December that basically just set out our academic direction for the next two years. This winter semester things got a little more serious as we had to complete residence requirements in Colorado Springs for the degree. Each of the two courses that we are presently taking required a week of on-site instruction from Fuller staff. Dutifully we committed our way to completing this, not really knowing how we were going to fit it in to our already overloaded lives. Fortunately for us, God had a plan.
God always has a plan, we know that well enough by now. What we didn’t know was both how complex that plan was going to be (anyone who thinks the Lord’s work is simple is just not paying attention), and what an unbelievable blessing it was going to be. The three days we had spent in Los Angeles was enough for us to get over the worst of our jetlag, so we arrived in Colorado well rested and in good spirits. We were met by one of our classmates who lives in the area, and her bubbly 11-year-old daughter. Our $40 a night stay was in a recycled Hyatt hotel that has been taken over by Youth With A Mission and used for training missionary recruits. We had a spacious room and easy access to local restaurants, and the place soon filled up with other classmates coming from all over the United States and the world. It made for very pleasant evenings chatting with others about their ministries.
Classes started at 8, and worship was special, as several of our colleagues were gifted in music. The classes ran until 4:30 when we would usually all go out for a meal together. Our instructors were first rate and discussions were very interesting with a wide range of views and experiences being expressed. Everyone had a chance to share their own faith journey with the class, which helped with developing deeper relationships with those with whom we are going to share the next two years as we make our way through this degree. On one fine Sunday afternoon we all went over to the home of one of our classmates to watch the Super Bowl and eat nachos.
We even had an opportunity to meet up with Ken Anderson, with whom we had shared a year in ministry in Germany. He was in town with his mission organization in preparation for going to Nepal to conduct training workshops for Nepalese pastors. During the week we were also treated to a tour and a talk at a local Greek Orthodox Church, which was notable for the beauty of its sanctuary, and a quick drive through some of the regions more interesting rock formations. The take away for us in all this is what an inspiring and selfless group of individuals we have the good fortune of learning with. The courses may be demanding and time-consuming, and certainly they are not cheap. But the journey has been richly rewarding in friendships with the people of God and understanding about the work of God. And at the end of it all, Lord willing, we will both have Masters’ degrees that will be useful in ministry for the next chapter in our lives.