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Junior High Days

New Friends

155-5524_img.jpgLast Sunday I had a real treat.  I took a bus to Itaewon, South Korea and made some new friends over an enjoyable time of dinner. 

I met up with Dr. Michael Christensen and his wife Rebecca Laird.  They are from New Jersey and were here in South Korea doing a conference on a Henri Nouwen book that they edited/wrote titled Spiritual Direction.

Dr. Michael Christensen is the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew University in New Jersey and his wife Rebecca is an Associate Pastor at a Presbyterian church in New Jersey, a published author and a trained/practicing Spiritual Director.

At this point you might be clicking to another site on the net out of boredom or you might be asking "Why?" did you meet these people and "How?" did this meeting come about.

Good questions, here are my answers.

Why?.....I don't know, yet.

 How?.....Good question.  Over the past year I have been curiously looking on the internet at online Doctor of Ministry programs.  I learned and grew so much in my Master's of Spiritual Formation program that I have found myself interested in continuing in that experience--the next logical step would be a Doctor of Ministry program. 

As I was looking at online programs I ran across Drew University and noticed Dr. Michael Christensen's name listed on the teaching staff (along with Dr. Leonard Sweet).  I knew the name Michael Christensen from my early NNC days--he was a young, progressive Nazarene minister that was known for a cutting edge inner city ministry in San Francisco and he was married to the daughter of Dr. Irving Laird, a loved and highly respected religion professor at NNC.  Over time, Michael Christensen's and Rebecca Laird's names have come up in relation to their ministries and service in and outside the Nazarene Denomination.

When I saw Dr. Christensen's name on the Drew website I also noticed a link to a blog that he was posting.  On the blog, CitiHope Malawi Mission, I read that he was on a sabbatical leave from the university and was working with CitiHope International on a service/ministry outreach to the people of Malawi, Africa.  On the blog I noticed that he and his wife were just days away from coming to Seoul to lead a spiritual direction conference.  So......

 I sent him an out of the blue email, introducing myself, dropping some names of people that we both knew and letting him know that if it was possible I would love to meet with both of them here in South Korea and talk about life and the Drew DMin program.  Surprisingly, Dr. Christensen emailed me two hours before they were to board the plane to come to South Korea and he said they would love to meet up with me.  A week later we met up for dinner on a Sunday night.  It was a real treat for me to meet them, hear about their lives and ministries and to talk with them of spiritual things.

Crazy connection, huh?

Back to the earlier question......Why?

As I said before, I don't know why...yet.  I don't know what will come out of this experience and this "connection" as we like to call it.  Will I start the DMin program?  I don't know.  I learned a lot about the program from Dr. Christensen and I learned that I am the type of "person" they "want"to have in their program--but I also learned that I have some prerequisites that I need to acquire before I could even consider applying for the program.

I don't know "why"--specifically--that I had this meeting with these folks.  However, I am beginning to see the "why" of this situation in a general sense. 

In this situation I took a risk in an unknown area, with unknown people.  I followed my heart in contacting these people--I would like to think that I was following the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.  I want to live my life following the Holy Spirit--trusting God, living as Eugene Peterson says, "haphazardly for God."  

The details?--they don't matter.  What matters is that my plans become His plans, my worries are replaced with Trust in His ways and that my life is filled with the precious and unpredictable Holy Spirit.



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