Dec 5, 2014

A Dream Finally Fulfilled As Academic Journey Comes to an End in 2014

Ministering at our SHINE Duluth outreach, Duluth, MN
In a few days, 2014 will close on us. In retrospect, it has been a whirlwind. Besides being a husband and dad, I travelled to five different countries logging over 100,000 miles in the air for ministry. I led our SHINE team to successfully minister to over 50,000 people in Rwanda, Kenya, DR Congo, Tanzania, and around the United States.
 
I successfully completed, defended my doctoral thesis in global leadership, and graduated from Bethel University in the month of May. I successfully defended my statement of faith (theological beliefs) and ministry leadership philosophy in readiness for ordination through Westwood Community Church under Converge Worldwide (Formerly Baptist General Conference). Finally, I successfully petitioned to become a US citizen and voted in local elections for the first time.

Graduation Day


The academic journey that started sixteen years ago when I left my obscure Kenyan village to study as an undergraduate in the United States finally came to an end. It was an extra-ordinary journey by every measure. Except for the clothes on my back and the clear sense of destiny, I arrived in Minnesota on a cold January night in 1998 with no prior relationships, very little money ($50), and REALLY BIG CONFIDENCE in God who had called me.


Graduation day, leave alone multiple graduations over the years, had seemed like a too far distant future that was clouded in uncertainty. It only existed in the imagination. Under God’s mercy, I walked step by step through the process with the undying conviction that He wanted to accomplish something on the world stage in our time in and through my life. I persisted through my first, second, and third academic degrees punctuated by multiple internships with churches, believing that the preparation was essential to my effectiveness in the mission God sent me on. Here is to God's Faithfulness!

Ministering at our SHINE Rwanda mission, Muhanga, Rwanda 



Over the years something amazing has happened. As I graduated from Bethel, I was no longer alone. I had my wife Suzanne and our two kids standing by my side looking on. I had family, peers and friends from all over the world cheering me on. I had professors and ministry mentors that God raised up over the years celebrating with me. In one important way, America is no longer the foreign land of my sojourn. It is home and the place of my primary relationships. It is both my global base as well as my mission field. God is, indeed, an awesome God!


What is next? …you ask. Well, Jesus defined the greatest need in the world and invited us to pray for a solution. “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest,” and again, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (John 4:35 & Luke 10:2).
Ministering during our SHINE India mission



Jesus was not talking about wheat or corn fields. He was talking about people that need to be brought into the Kingdom of God through evangelism. We have over seven billion of them all around us. With the academic preparation finally behind us, Suzanne and I along with our growing SHINE team are eager to elevate our efforts for the Kingdom of our Lord in reaching them for Christ.


3 comments:

  1. I get to say "I remember Sammy back when..."!! And I'm totally taking credit for paving the way for you to become Student Senate President at Bethel Seminary. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!! ;-)

    Blessings on you brother, may you continue to THRIVE!

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    1. Haha! Nice one my friend! Yes, you did pave the way for me to serve my fellow seminarians as their senate president. One thing I've learned over the years is the realization every person God brings on your path matters, of cause some more than others, but all count toward the totality of who you become.

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  2. Haha! Nice one my friend! Yes, you did pave the way for me to serve my fellow seminarians as their senate president. One thing I've learned over the years is the realization every person God brings on your path matters, of cause some more than others, but all count toward the totality of who you become.

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