Recently I was flying home from the East Coast. As I looked down, I thought about how much perspective changes everything. The view from 30,000 feet is radically different than the one on ground level. Life moves fast, and often times we don’t see the bigger picture.
From God’s vantage point, the seemingly small activities on earth come into focus as part of a much larger picture. At Multnomah, we do lots of educational and biblical activities daily. Sometimes we wonder what the big picture looks like. Are we making a difference? A recent story illustrates that we are!
Nineteen years ago, a divorce ripped through the Paterson family. Seven siblings were scattered to pursue separate lives. But God had plans to reconstruct what was broken, and Multnomah would play an important role.
Monica was introduced to MU by a brother who lives in Oregon. When she visited campus, she immediately felt at home. “I was sold when my tour guide told me professors pray with their students,” she said. But Monica had three conditions for attending: her sister had to attend, all expenses had to be paid, and she had to be able to live with her sister at some point.
Monica’s sister (who will be kept anonymous due to her field of work) was a missionary in Budapest. She was convinced she would never return to America. But God had different plans. One day He asked her: Will you go to America? Her immediate answer was, “No!” But gradually her heart softened. “Finally, I realized God is sovereign, faithful and knows best,” she said. So, with encouragement from her brother in Oregon, she applied to MU.
In the meantime, another brother, Jonathan, was in Missouri contemplating seminary. When he heard his sisters were headed to Multnomah, and that scholarships had helped make it affordable, he enrolled at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. “Soon my wife and I had jobs and a place to live,” he said. “My chances even looked
good to graduate debt-free.”
The family members settled into their studies and began to invest in one another. “God sent me to the best college for teaching me how to love,” Monica said. “The focus of this school is relationships.” She even plans to room with her sister in the near future, which fulfills her last requirement. It’s a testimony of God’s hand in even the smallest details.
Jonathan used to only see his sisters annually, but now he interacts with them daily, even if it’s just exchanging a hug in the hallway. “I’m getting to know them again,” he said. Next year, a fourth Paterson will join his siblings in Oregon. The scattered pieces are being gathered at last.
This is the big picture. Multnomah was a place of healing for this family because of God’s work through the faculty, staff, alumni and friends who support MU with their prayers, service and giving.
A few weeks ago, we celebrated 115 godly men and women who walked across the stage during graduation. Whether these graduates work for churches, nonprofits, local schools or corporate America, be encouraged that they know the Scriptures well and have high ambitions to transform the world for Jesus Christ! They were truly blessed by those who gave generously to Multnomah, and we challenged them to give back by supporting the students who come after them.
I want to urge you, like Paul urged the Corinthians, to participate in a collection for Multnomah students like our graduates and the Patersons. When Paul wanted churches across the ancient Mediterranean world to assist the needy in Jerusalem, he wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2:
“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”
This is the message I’m sending our alumni and friends today. Every dollar we receive by June 30, 2016, will be matched thanks to God’s provision through a generous giver. We still need $211,445 to meet our scholarship goal. Would you ask God what part you might play in a student’s life by submitting a gift? Together we’re a part of God’s big picture!
G. Craig Williford
President, Multnomah University