Theology

Two Hebrew students selected for research trip in Israel

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Multnomah seminary students Chad Woodward and Alyssa Schmid will embark on a one-of-a-kind research excursion this summer in Israel. The two Hebrew students will partake in several archaeological digs, take various tours of the Holy Land and learn about Israel’s history from the Bronze and Iron Ages up through the modern day.

Woodward views the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It’s always been my desire to experience the Holy Land and see the places mentioned in Scripture,” he says. “I think this trip has a great mix of work and sight-seeing.”

The month-long expedition is made possible by the Scholars Initiative, the research arm of the Museum of the Bible, one of the world’s largest private collections of rare biblical texts and artifacts. Multnomah has been connected with the Scholars Initiative since 2013, when Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz was chosen to translate a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls with four of his students.

Since then, MU has been trusted with even more research projects, which opened the door for students to apply for trips sponsored by the Scholars Initiative. Over the past three years, seven Hebrew students have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford. Similar to the Oxford internship, the Israel trip is limited to students working on Scholars Initiative projects.

Kutz couldn’t be more proud of his students. He views the trip as a great addition to Woodward and Schmid’s academic experience.  “The chance to work on a dig is a tremendous opportunity,” he says. “The students will get to see firsthand how the archaeological process works and learn from scholars who have devoted their lives to this area of study.”

The trip, which starts in Jerusalem in mid-June and ends in Bethlehem in mid-July, will be an immense privilege for Woodward and Schmid, who are already so familiar with the ancient Near East. As the two students travel, they will take with them all the passions and skills gained during their time at Multnomah.

“I’m honestly humbled by this,” says Woodward. “I think the Hebrew program really supports their students well and creates amazing opportunities.”

Hebrew, Th.M. student accepted to Ph.D. program at Wheaton

Comments Off on Hebrew, Th.M. student accepted to Ph.D. program at Wheaton Written on March 6th, 2017 by
Categories: Faculty, Press Releases, Programs, Seminary, Students, Theology

Daniel

Master of Theology and Hebrew student Daniel Somboonsiri has been accepted to the Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies program under Dr. Daniel Carroll Rodas at Wheaton College. Congratulations, Daniel!

What does this opportunity mean to you?

I'm really still in shock over having been chosen. I knew a few years ago that Dr. Carroll Rodas was the mentor who could best equip me for the research I want to do. I started reading his books, and the books he had read. We started emailing back and forth so that I could do whatever it took to be mentored by him.

After years of preparation, I was the one person chosen this year to work with Dr. Carroll Rodas. While I still do not know how God will provide for my family during my Ph.D. studies, I am overjoyed to have been selected. I had a rough childhood. To be where I am today is the miraculous grace of God, for which I am gratefully undeserving.

How has MU’s Hebrew program helped get you to where you are now?

Multnomah has one of the best Hebrew programs in the world. Though it is a smaller university, our Hebrew program is highly esteemed by those in academia who know of it. During the interview process, I was never asked to prove my capability with Hebrew. It seemed as though my Ph.D. supervisor was well aware of the language training I had received. Beyond the nuts and bolts of knowing the biblical languages, I was given the opportunity through Multnomah to co-author three papers on three unpublished Dead Sea Scrolls. While there was a lot of "on the job" learning for these projects and help from my academic mentors, those projects are now listed on my CV and likely helped me get noticed in the highly competitive Ph.D. application process.

My Ph.D. research will also lean heavily on what I have learned through The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. My research will integrate cultural studies and the Hebrew Prophets. Dr. Paul Metzger has been instrumental in training me to be an astute student of cultural issues and their relevance to biblical studies. Through my work with New Wine, I was given the opportunity to serve as editor on "Prophetic Lament" by Soong-Chan Rah, which also contributed to my development and application for Ph.D. studies. During the Ph.D. interview process, I was asked about my involvement with New Wine on issues such as interfaith dialogue and advocacy for the poor. In all, it is the overall development process, both academic and spiritual, which has prepared me to move on to study and teach at the highest level.

What are the highlights of MU’s Hebrew program?

We, the MU Hebrew family, do life together. We bond through learning the Hebrew Scriptures. We learn and pray together. This probably wouldn't happen at a larger university. The classroom size allows Dr. Becky Josberger and Dr. Karl Kutz to really invest in our lives and foster community.

Dr. Kutz, with the help of Dr. Josberger, has put together a method for teaching biblical Hebrew that is unlike anything else. They teach Hebrew in a way that brings the language to life and allows it to stick without memorizing hundreds of rules and charts.

What are you hoping to do with your Ph.D.?

My emphasis will be on social ethics in the Hebrew Prophets. My research proposal is to look at Micah through the lens of the social sciences and literary analysis to show how Micah can in part be recognized as social theory. In Micah, God condemns an wicked society that fosters poverty and oppression of all sorts. In contrast, Micah envisions a future world ruled by God in which nations live together in community without war and oppression.

While my Ph.D. work will focus on the book of Micah in its ancient context, my life's goal is to research, teach, and write on how the biblical prophets can serve to shape the life of the Church and the Church's engagement of culture in ever changing contexts.

Want to read more student stories? Check out our student stories page!

What I learned at the Global Missions Conference: A student’s perspective

Comments Off on What I learned at the Global Missions Conference: A student’s perspective Written on February 28th, 2017 by
Categories: Events, Students, Theology

Global studies major and Marketing Assistant Meghan Krause shares her perspective on this year’s Global Missions Conference. 

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Dr. Karen Fancher speaks at MU's 77th annual Global Missions Conference.

This past week, Multnomah hosted the 77th annual Global Ministries Conference, or GMC. The GMC’s slogan for this year was, “Cultivating Renewal: Back to the Beginning.” A team of five students, led by Dr. Greg Burch, brought this whole conference together. These five students were Jamilyn Cummings, Moriah Paterson, Kara Swanson, Annica Davis and Jared Stone. From the decorations, to the advertisements, to the selection of speakers and guests, these five students confronted all of us about creation care and the part we play in this topic.

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From left to right: Moriah Paterson, Jared Stone, Jamilyn Cummings, Annica Davis, McKenzie Chapman and Kara Swanson.

GMC2One of the students from this team was senior Jared Stone, the GMC’s logistics coordinator, whom I caught up with as everything concluded. “The GMC went better than I even expected — from the coordination of decorations, to the responses the skits received, to the talk I have overheard from fellow students about the workshops,” he said. “It was great to bring the topic of creation care to the table for us as Christian students.” His statement appears to speak for itself from my observations.

As a student, I attended every plenary session that featured the keynote speakers, Dr. Miriam Adeney and Dr. A.J. Swoboda. With conviction, these two speakers connected Christianity and creation care on theological and practical bases. I attended a decent amount of the workshops as well. From these workshops, a few things definitively stuck with me. For example, La Montana exemplified how ministry and creation care can be quite interconnected. Dr. A.J Swoboda showed the significance and rejuvenation that keeping the Sabbath can have in all areas of life.

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Another thing that I observed during these workshops was fellow students pursuing knowledge and connections that would guide them in their journey of creation care. Questions like, “What can I do as an individual?” were thrown around, and answers were given that ranged from education and advocacy to living a simpler life. I myself, and many others, also enjoyed networking and learning from the many missions organizations that came to this year’s GMC. Meeting with individuals representing different organizations gave the GMC a personal touch, as students could find specific ministries that called to them.

GMC3A final aspect of this conference that students seemed to enjoy was the worship, led by Caleb Schmidt from Youth With A Mission. Every day I saw different students having intent conversations with Schmidt. So, I decided to ask about his experience at the GMC. “The best part has been seeing students encounter God and the concept of living present-centered lives,” he said. “The hospitality here has been amazing, and I love the heart for missions I have seen.”

Whether it was the plenary sessions, the call to creation care, or individual connections, the 77th GMC had something to offer to each member of the Multnomah community.

Global Ministries Conference to make creation care a priority

Comments Off on Global Ministries Conference to make creation care a priority Written on February 8th, 2017 by
Categories: Events, Students, Theology

PORTLAND, Ore. — From February 21 to 23, Multnomah University will host the 77th annual Global Ministries Conference (GMC) on campus. The title of this year’s conference is “Cultivating Renewal: Back to the Beginning.” The seminars, plenary talks and activities will revolve around creation care in its many aspects. Read the rest of this entry »

Global ministry trends and issues, part seven: Unreached people groups

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part seven: Unreached people groups Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Feature, Missions, Theology

This is the seventh post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog. Read the rest of this entry »

Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth Written on August 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Theology

This is the sixth post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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This week’s focus has been the primary issue for me as a practitioner and researcher in life. Children and youth continue to experience pressing needs in our world today. I think particularly of those affected by global poverty and other factors that have led to an increase in children growing up in circumstances that put their lives at risk. One-sixth of the world’s children are living in crisis (Douglas and Steffen 349).

This population represents some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Street-living and working children, child soldiers, gang-affiliated youth and others are in desperate need for mission praxis that is informed through best-practices in the field (best practices are models and approaches that derive from research and agreed upon standards from experts in the field). In the least developed areas of our world, children comprise 41 percent of the population (Payne 113). In some countries, that percentage rises above 50 percent, yet so often our mission training programs focus on the other half of the world’s population.

Scripture speaks boldly about the importance of children. Noted researchers in children’s spirituality focus on several biblical narratives where children are involved (Scottie May, et. al 39). One such story is the reunification of Esau and Jacob. When Jacob responds to Esau’s question about, “Who are these with you?” Jacob joyfully responds, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Gen. 3:5). Other biblical passages from the N.T. are noted as well. The authors argue that “not only is the presence of Jesus’ teaching on children in the Gospels significant, but the emphasis in those teachings heightens their importance . . . understanding what Jesus says about children is at the heart of being a true disciple of Jesus” (39).

Given Scripture’s clear emphasis on recognizing the importance of children, understanding the risks they face is important.

Statistics reveal the need for caring for these young people:

• Two million people between the ages of 15 and 24 die each year globally from preventable diseases.
• 20% of adolescents experience mental health problems every year.
• Interpersonal violence kills about 565 young people between the ages of 5 and 29 every day.
• AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses account for the deaths of more than half of young female Africans (Payne 119).

Global development and mission organizations will continue to look for qualified candidates that are well-rounded in their skills and training. Local churches are critical to engaging with young people on the margins as well. “From the perspective of a missional engagement with children at risk, there is no replacement for the establishment of churches among every group of children who suffer the atrocities of a fallen world” (Pocock, Van Rheenen and McConnell 75).

Yet to care for these children, churches and agencies must move beyond a mentality that holds to a myopic approach to transformation that divides physical and emotional needs from spiritual realities. Spiritual conversion is critical for transformation, but a holistic approach that is focused on proclamation and formation, demonstration of compassion, restoration and development, and finally, confrontation of injustices will be critical to addressing both individual and structural issues that continue to contribute to the vulnerability of at-risk youth and children (Castellanos 136). Another way of saying this: We need to couple Word and Deed in our missional models for engaging with youth and children.

The implication of the abovementioned statistics recognizes the need for people to be trained through interdisciplinary programs that prepare caregivers from the fields of theology, business, psychology, sociology and health professions. General practitioners will continue to provide care as they launch programs that respond to the needs of at-risk children around the world. Combining the disciplines above will lead to robust programs that care for the whole child (thus bringing together the spiritual and physical realities).

One such example of a program that seeks to bridge both Word and Deed are found in some child sponsorship programs. Johnson and Wu, in citing a recent Christianity Today article describe the powerful effect that child sponsorship programs are having on vulnerable children (181). Sponsorship programs need not only passionate people trained in child survival practices, but business and marketing backgrounds as well. Happily, we have seen some Multnomah students from our programs going that direction. Children and youth also need pastors who are willing to open up their churches to serve those most vulnerable in their community. Academic programs that are multi-disciplined can provide the essential training that is needed for this type of ministry.

The need for partnerships and interdisciplinary approaches is critical for preparing future workers among this population of young people. Internships and practicum opportunities, as well as working with organizations that understand best practices, give students the opportunity to put into play what they are learning in the classroom. This is a critical piece for preparing younger generations in mission engagement. As a student at Multnomah in my undergrad, interning with a nonprofit organization in Colombia played a critical role in my vocational calling. It was that interplay between theory and practice, the classroom and field work, that eventually led me to full-time work in Latin America upon graduating.

Children and youth are clearly seen prioritized in the ministry of Jesus as he places the child in the midst of His disciples (Matt 18:12). It is time that our academic training institutions follow His example and provide programs that focus on those most vulnerable in society.

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Works Cited

Castellanos, Noel. Where the Cross Meets the Street. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015.

Johnson, Todd and Cindy Wu. Our Global Families. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015.

May, Scottie, Beth Posterski, Catherine Stonehouse & Linda Cannell. Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 2005.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen and Douglas McConnell. The Changing Face of Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008.

Global ministry trends and issues, part two: Discerning the terms

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part two: Discerning the terms Written on July 20th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Theology

This is the second post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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Beirut, Lebanon.

Recently while traveling in a creative access country (generally a country where missionary and evangelism activity is restricted), I was reminded of the importance of not using terms like missions and missionary. The use of these words in some contexts can land a Jesus-follower in jail or even worse. While traveling throughout this country, I spent some time considering the use of these terms in our world today.

Mission literature has also found it necessary to review some of the very terms that often accompany our global church activity. Mission and missions are two distinct words that have caused much confusion for younger generations. “Within mission discussion since the 1950s, terms have developed in such a way that it can be confusing to the uninitiated. Essentially mission (without the s) and missions (with the s) are used to indicate different things” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 69). The two definitions, as laid out by Scott Moreau, Gary Corwin and Gary McGee are helpful as we explore terms. Missions is understood as the “task of making disciples of all nations. It is seen through the work of mission agencies, churches and missionaries around the world” (70). The specific emphasis is on cross-cultural ministry in international contexts.

Mission, on the other hand, has been used in recent years in a broader sense and typically refers to “everything the church does that points toward the kingdom of God” (70). While these definitions are helpful to clarify what we mean in engaging in a specific kingdom activity, I find it more more helpful to use terms like cross-cultural (or even intercultural) ministry to specifically identify when one is involved working in a community other than one’s own cultural group.

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Crossing a river into an indigenous village in the Caribbean highlands with my son.

Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas explore the idea of whether or not the term missionary is even appropriate in our day and age (34-35). One of the primary concerns with the use of the nomenclature is the negative connotations associated with it internationally. It is frequently connected to ideas like colonialism and imperialism. Whether justified, or not, the authors raise concerns and ask the question, “since the term ‘missionary’ has negative connotations for a large segment of the world that the Christian church is trying to reach, and is not found in God’s sacred storybook, should another term or phrase replace it?” (Steffen and Douglas 34). While there are no conclusions here, the raising of the question from prominent missiologists demonstrates the shift occurring within the field of missiology and missions today. Similar to the sentiment expressed above, Raymo and Raymo also bring into question the usage of the term “missionary,” especially as it relates to the millennial generation (28-29).

Essential to our exploration of terms is the Latin expression Missio Dei. Missio Dei is a common term used by both ecumenists and evangelicals. It is defined by Moreau, Corwin and McGee as “a comprehensive term encompassing everything God does in relation to the kingdom and everything the church is sent to do on the earth” (71).

David Bosch rightly acknowledges that, “Mission has its origin in the fatherly heart of God” (240). Mission that resonates with this generation of cross-cultural workers must be understood from this perspective. For to separate mission from God leads us to charitable intentions, yet lacking the power for true transformation in the heart of the goer and receiver.

Charles Van Engen appropriately contends, “We cannot have mission without the Bible, nor can we understand the Bible apart from God’s mission” (37). The Bible is the main source for missions and must be understood as a means of contributing to the ultimate task of the Missio Dei. Scripture plays a role in defining unchanging truth to a changing context.

Steffen and Douglas note that, “Christian witness is always lived out in social environments influenced and shaped by local and global economics, politics and religions” (343). These are critical topics that demonstrate the importance of an interdisciplinary understanding of the field. As Van Engen notes, “Theology of mission, then, must eventually emanate in biblically informed and contextually appropriate missional action” (25). It must not remain static or purely theoretical. This need emphasizes the place of an appropriate contextualization to each of the explored trends and issues that follow in the coming weeks.

 

Works Cited

Bosch, David. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1980. Print.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2015. Print.

Raymo, Jim and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2014. Print.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008. Print.

Van Engen, Charles. Mission on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996. Print.

Global ministry trends and issues, part one: Discerning the times in global mission

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part one: Discerning the times in global mission Written on July 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Theology

This is the first post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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Taken from the El Cristo statue in Bolivia, looking out onto the city of Cochabamba.

Over the next eight weeks, I will be presenting some of the current movements and trends within global mission efforts today. As contexts of mission shift, theory and practice must also keep up the pace. A primary motif within current mission literature seeks to understand current issues and trends in the field. One thing that must not change is the theological basis to global mission. Theology and mission must be closely tied as we re-consider and reconfigure what we mean by global mission in an age of radical change. Too frequently in the past, our theologies have remained dormant and detached from social realities. And likewise, mission has been divorced from a strong theological foundation, manifested, in some cases, more like a social service disconnected from God’s central purpose in building his kingdom. When this all happens, “The result is a theology divorced from human realities and a missiology that lacks theological foundations” (Paul Hiebert 38).

There are a number of shifts taking place in global mission today. Strategies and approaches will need to be assessed to keep up with current events. One example from this past week is the new Russian law that prevents one from sharing his or her faith outside of a church or religious building (including online and in residential buildings). The new law, which was attached to anti-terrorism amendments, goes into effect on Wednesday, July 20. (For more on this law see Forum 18 – a local news source in the region.) How should mission organizations and others deeply concerned about growing God’s kingdom respond? What is the best approach to missional activity in such a restricted context?

Other issues we will consider in the coming weeks are new mission terms. Even historic and traditional ways of describing mission are being debated. The issue of nomenclatures and mission program titles has, as of recent, been included in mission conferences and frequently debated in recent works. Take, for example, the recent American Society of Missiology’s annual meeting (2015) and the Professor of Mission conference as they discussed such topics as Missio-logoi: The Many Languages of Mission and What’s in a Name? Assessing Mission Studies Program Titles. These are current issues that are reflective of the changes taking place in the field. Even our own mission program at Multnomah recently went through some significant changes. See Global Studies for more on MU’s own experience with this topic.

Andrew Kirk writes from a conciliar position on mission as he explores the need to incorporate a broad missiological foundation that includes mission to the poor, creation care, contextualization, social justice, pluralism, violence and peacemaking, and global partnerships. In his proposal, he suggests that mission be inclusive of a broad range of issues (24, 28-29). One of the stronger emphases noted in the writings of Kirk is how many of Jesus’ friends were indeed outsiders. The poor, with whom Jesus associated, were much more than those who did not own property; rather, they were people who had been intentionally disadvantaged and forbidden to enter into the life of civil society. They were forced to become powerless to make any difference in society (48). Given the place of the poor and marginalized in Scripture, they will be a primary motif in the coming weeks as well.

As we discuss trends and movements within global mission today, we must remember that mission knowledge is built upon the past and mission praxis is built upon the present. This review will seek to keep an eye on both.

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The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut, Lebanon.

Works Cited

Hiebert, Paul. “Missiological Education for a Global Era.” In Missiological Education for the 21st Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals, edited by Edgar J. Elliston, Charles Van Engen and J. Dudley Woodberry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996. Print.

Kirk, Andrew. What Is Mission? Theological Explorations. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000.

MU professor co-leads pastoral conference in Malawi, Africa

Comments Off on MU professor co-leads pastoral conference in Malawi, Africa Written on May 20th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Faculty, Missions, Pray For MU, Theology

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MU professor Roger Trautmann will be conducting the Pastors’ Enrichment Conference in Malawi, East Africa May 24-25. Trautmann, along with  Carl Palmer from Global Training Network, was chosen by the Luis Palau Association to lead the event, which will draw nearly 800 pastors.

Many African church leaders face a startling deficit of biblical and pastoral training, which is exactly what promoted the Luis Palau Association to launch a leadership conference for local pastors. “In East Africa, pastors have little access to good training,” says Trautmann, who will be teaching on topics such as Bible study methods and the Pastoral Epistles. But lack of preparation doesn’t mean lack of motivation. “I’ve met pastors who’ve started 20 churches, and they’ve never had any official training,” he adds.

Although Trautmann has taught at this conference once before, he’s been conducting workshops for pastors in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burkina Faso for many years. “They’re hungry for good training,” he says. “That’s why I’ve been participating since 1994.”

During the conference, please pray that God would give both Trautmann and Palmer Christ’s wisdom as they teach and His power as they work to strengthen the Church in Africa. Pray also that the pastors and leaders in attendance would be encouraged and challenged during this powerful outreach.

 

A heart for Hawaii: M.Div. student Kunāne Hillen connects theology to his native culture

Comments Off on A heart for Hawaii: M.Div. student Kunāne Hillen connects theology to his native culture Written on January 25th, 2016 by
Categories: Seminary, Students, Theology

Kunane_H_2v02For Kunāne Hillen, moving to Portland, Oregon, was a big change. “My first thoughts were, ‘It’s cold!’” he says. He was firmly attached to the sunshine, warm ocean waves, beaches and culture of his hometown — Honolulu, Hawaii. He’d never spent more than three weeks away. And yet he knew that, despite the climate change, Multnomah University had what he wanted for an M.Div.

Body surfing, ukulele, church friends and family were the main factors in Hillen’s life throughout his childhood. During his senior year in high school, Hillen took a Hawaiian history class that made him realize how much he loved his own people.

“After watching a film about Hawaiians, my heart broke,” he says. “I originally wanted to do intercultural missions, but then I got a heart for Hawaiians.”

Hillen attended Bible college on the island and earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible and Pastoral Ministry. He then began to wonder what was next. “I was looking for a school that would help relate Hawaiian culture to theology,” he says.

Multnomah brought those components together for him. “MU is really helping me process my theology,” Hillen says. “I get to tie Hawaii into my papers and discussions in class. I want to learn what the gospel means, not only in the Hawaiian community but also in the global indigenous community.”

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Hillen also appreciates his professors. “They are very personal,” he says. “They are willing to meet outside of class. They encourage me to talk. They don’t just teach to blank faces; they’re engaging.”

When Hillen returns to the islands, he’s excited to teach the integration of theology and culture to his fellow Hawaiians. And he’s especially eager to get back to his own warm beach. “I dream of the waves sometimes,” he says wistfully.