Fall 2017-spring 2018 was a challenging year, I went from having one full-time job to having four part-time jobs, and we went from needing to raise around $6,000 for my first year in the doctoral program (fall 2016-spring 2017) to needing to raise $9,000 for my previous year in the program. Through it all God was faithful. God provided for us at every turn, and we are so grateful to so many of you who opened your wallets and gave so generously.
It is hard to believe we are already entering into my third year in the doctoral program. Some exciting things have taken place. I passed my upgrade defense and am now a doctoral candidate which means I am in the last leg of the journey for getting my PhD. When I first began my studies, my doctoral supervisor, Melissa, and I all thought it would be best if I was enrolled as a part-time student since I am also working full-time and supporting a family. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that I have been moving more quickly than we had expected through my doctoral studies, and so my status has been updated from a part-time to a full-time student. This is exciting because the end is now in sight as we plan on my graduation being in June of 2020! However, it also means that my tuition expenses will be higher this year (fall 2018-spring 2019) and next year (fall 2019-spring 2020) since I will be paying the full-time tuition rate rather than the part-time one.
Over the past two years, we have created an Ebenezer: a 200-piece mosaic in which each “stone” represents a different donor and the finished mosaic is an artistic rendition of a key scripture for my dissertation. Last year the verse was Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God.” This year, we chose Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good: Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” However, this year, rather than a mosaic, Melissa created a piece of art that will serve as a reminder that God will be faithful throughout this year.
Melissa and I see this stage of our lives as a time that we are investing in God’s calling on my life. I am not pursuing a PhD for the sake of the academy, rather I want to use the gifts and talents God has given me for strengthening and building up the church in the truth and beauty of the gospel. The apostle John encourages Christians to support one another and thereby be fellow laborers together in the gospel (3 John 1:8).
Will you prayerfully consider laboring together with me through financial support as I work for the truth of the gospel?