Putting a Theology Degree to Work in Unexpected Places

The Gospel Coalition | 5/23/2019 | Staff
adele2234 (Posted by) Level 3
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I don’t know that Koko had ever opened a Bible, let alone studied it verse-by-verse. But as an international student desperate to pass the TOEFL test, she wanted all the English practice she could get.

Koko’s name was actually Hiroko. She was a Japanese college student staying with my young family. My 18-month-old son couldn’t pronounce “Hiroko,” so she quickly became “Koko,” a friend who brought him candy and taught him Japanese words.

English - Day - Bible

While we kept complimenting her English, she was always asking us to correct her. When I asked one day if she’d like to study English with me using the Bible, she quickly said yes.

I’d previously taught ESL during seminary as a way to earn grocery money. But my lessons with Koko were something new. Instead of focusing on conversational vocabulary, I had to find basic English words to explain complicated theological concepts like the Trinity and the incarnation.

Gospel - John - Koko - English - Ideas

The Gospel of John led Koko to new English words—and new ideas about God. But that wasn’t the only way it was new. It was also another unexpected place for me to use my theology degree.

Why Go to Seminary?

Plan - College - Student - Pastor-husband - Son

My plan hadn’t been to teach a Japanese college student while living with my pastor-husband and 18-month-old son in St. Louis. Originally, I went to seminary with the plan of returning to sub-Saharan Africa to teach at a Bible college where I’d spent a summer during college. I was the nerdy girl who got a thrill translating passages from Greek or Hebrew to English in my little cubicle in the quiet library.

I was determined to quickly finish a degree, raise support, and get back to Malawi. I had seen women in many roles on the mission field and knew my degree would be helpful. What I hadn’t anticipated was God’s creativity, and the need...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Gospel Coalition
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