I wrote this for an application to grad school/seminary. Thought you might enjoy…
I grew up in a Christian family. My parents, and their parents, emphasized the preeminence of loving God and faithfulness to the church. Nothing, I was taught, is more important than living for the Lord. Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, following my beliefs was a struggle. I would wax and wane between fantastic zeal and spiritual anxiety. There was a frustration inside of me; I clearly could not sustain holy, joyful living for any length of time. There came a time, however, where my spiritual roller coaster went from up and down to mostly up – with some bumps.
When I was in my middle teenage years, the Lord worked in my heart to enable me to love Him more than anything else. I was converted and no longer enslaved to the frustrations of self-determined spiritual schizophrenia. It is very encouraging to look back on that change in my life. My Christian life has not been perfect, but it has been marked by a consistent desire to find satisfaction in God above all other things. Though I often experience the pain of failure and backsliding, God’s hold on my soul does not fail. It is a wonderful thing to be His beloved child.
In conjunction with my conversion, the desire and opportunity for mission work came into my life. With my father, I was able to visit the island of Jamaica five times for service and evangelism. These trips stoked a fire in my soul to take the gospel to the less-reached in our world. I also began to empathize for the Jamaicans in their poverty. I would formulate ideas about economic and educational opportunity in the Caribbean. In the midst of these trips, I committed myself to the Lord not just in religion, but also in vocation. I remember promising, “Lord, I don’t know just what I’ll do, but I want to live my life serving you. I don’t know what kind of ministry, but some kind.” Time has shown that my heart and gifts suit me for missionary service. I majored in English education in college in order to open doors for cross-cultural ministry.
I first preached at a youth-led service in my home church. The weight, responsibility, and joy of sharing God’s word had a lasting impact on me. On one hand, I knew this was serious business and not simply giving a spiritual speech. On the other hand, it was such a satisfying and enjoyable experience that I hungered to do it again. Since then, I have taken occasional opportunities to preach and serve in international missionary work. Nothing in life has satisfied me like meeting people from other backgrounds and enjoying the goodness of God with them.
I have served in pulpit supply; ministry in Jamaica, Haiti, and the Philippines; children’s ministry in a local church; and lifestyle and intentional evangelism in my own community. My current primary spiritual responsibility is leading my family to love the Lord. After that, I endeavor to build relationships with my students and neighbors so that I might show them the love and truth of Christ.
Earning a Master’s degree in Divinity is a means to an end. The training in Biblical languages, history, practical living, and interpretation skills (among other disciplines) would serve me as I aim to serve God’s kingdom. This training would put give me tools to grow in, know, and share the Good News about Jesus. I would be better equipped to lead a local church and disciple other Christians. Additionally, I hope to earn a Master’s degree in English. This degree would enable me to serve bi-vocationally. Such certification also creates tremendous opportunity for missionary work – especially in countries hostile to the Gospel.
It is my dream, along with my loving wife, to take to Gospel to people who have never heard it. We desire to love and serve these people as best we can. It is possible that the Lord would create opportunities for a church plant, a school or college, perhaps an orphanage or other relief work. Whatever our lives may be, our chief desire is to spend our lives for Christ in a way that counts for eternity. He has loved and saved us and our only dream is to live for Him with devotion and passion.