Posts Tagged ‘Missions’

MU’s global studies program prepares students for work around the world

Comments Off on MU’s global studies program prepares students for work around the world Written on March 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Missions, Programs

MU's intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. But the switch is more than a name change. I sat down with Global Studies Chair Dr. Greg Burch for the full scoop.


How is global studies different from intercultural studies?

Global studies provides students with everything intercultural studies did, but changing the name opened up the opportunity to add five concentrations:

  • Global Ministry
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture and Diversity
  • Applied Linguistics
  • International Regional Studies

These concentrations are interdisciplinary. So a student might take an English class on minority voices. Or say you have a student who wants to work in the Middle East after they graduate. Now they can spend a semester over there. Want to translate the Bible? Applied Linguistics will teach you how to preserve culture while giving the written word of God to those who haven't had access to it. Our concentrations provide students with better skills to work in their area of interest.

Why was this change made?

Over the past couple of years our department has been researching a way forward for our program given the complexities of our globalized world. We noted that the intercultural studies program had remained virtually unchanged for a number of years, so we assessed the program through student focus groups and one-on-one interviews. We got the sense that the current program was not connecting as well as it could with this generation of students who were living in a highly complex mission environment.

What kind of feedback were you getting from these focus groups and one-on-one meetings?

Students talked about needing practical skills and a targeted education. Now these concentrations get to the skills they wanted. We’ve also indicated potential career options around each concentration.

Another thing they mentioned was having redundant classes. So I removed an entire class and combined other classes.

What are you most excited about as you move forward?

The Children at Risk concentration. I’ve worked with street children and children at risk for over 10 years. That’s what God has made me for. This concentration prepares them for national and international work with kids.

We’re also enlarging the opportunities students will have for vocational ministry and marketplace jobs. I’m excited about the fact that we’re getting beyond that secular/sacred divide in missions that was so ingrained in many of our Bible colleges and seminaries. We have come to realize that we must engage with our culture and world in vocations that are relevant to where people are at.

Some students are not in the position to raise support for missions the traditional way. But there are things they can do beyond missions work. Their calling can be found in governmental or secular organizations. They can have salaries and still serve Christ in their mission. Others will still feel called to serve with faith-based missions agencies, and we still prepare people for support raising and missionary service.

There is a crisis in missiological education today. The culture of missions is changing, but a lot of missions programs haven’t changed. We’re trying to get ahead of the curve, and we’re trying to engage where we are today without watering anything down.

Who is this program for?

If you’re interested in serving people, working with ethnic groups, church-planting, international vocations — this is critical for you. You’ll be given the tools to thrive. If you want to be a transforming force in the world, these classes will help. Each concentration has its values and provides practical skills in those areas.

What are the benefits of getting the Bible and theology major with the global studies major?

You’ll be well-rounded. You’ll become someone who loves God’s Word. And if you work with non-faith-based organizations, where you might be a minority as a Christian, developing habits of spiritual discipline will be all the more important.

Also, understanding global theology helps us understand what other people are thinking, so we’re not surprised with different ways of processing. We need to think openly when learning from the global church. Our faculty does a wonderful job preparing students for that.

Join the party

The Global Studies Department is having a celebration/informational meeting, and you're invited!

Friday March 13
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.*
Bradley Hall, B3

Intercultural studies students will learn about transitioning to global studies, and others can hear details about the new program. There will also be food, music and a time of international worship.

*This time counts toward chapel credits

Learn more about our global studies program.

Multnomah Education Provides Solid Foundation for This Fall’s Graduates

Last Friday, 58 students walked across the graduation stage and received their diploma. Graduation was held at Central Bible Church on NE Glisan.

We sat down for a little Q & A with several outstanding graduates to hear more about their time at Multnomah and the impact it’s had on them.
Read the rest of this entry »

Project Patch – James and Sarah Smith

Project Patch – James and Sarah Smith

James (Dip '73) and Sarah (Wendy) Smith

It seems forever ago that my wife, Sarah and I, attended and lived on or near Multnomah University’s campus. During that time two of our three children were born and we began the adventure of serving Jesus vocationally rather than pursuing the career of my previous education. During those formative years at Multnomah, as a new Christian, we learned that God was true to His word. Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings From Africa

Greetings From Africa

Warmest of greetings to you from Uganda, East Africa! My greetings today come from Jinja where I am currently serving with a mission’s team from our church. In addition to our ministry here, I'’ve had the privilege of connecting with Multnomah alumni and have been encouraged to see the work God is doing in and through their lives in building His church around the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Featured Faculty – Dr. Norm Cook

Featured Faculty – Dr. Norm Cook

Former Professor and Director of the Missions Department, Dr. Norm Cook, was born and raised in northern Indiana. His journey as a believer began as a 16 year old high school senior, soon after he met his future wife, Muriel, and many of her missionary family and friends. Later while studying at Taylor University, he experienced an encounter with God that lead to a commitment to ministry and missionary work. Read the rest of this entry »

Ambassadors Carry Hope to the World

Ambassadors Carry Hope to the World

Message From the Alumni Director

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6 Read the rest of this entry »

Kigali Update 7

Comments Off on Kigali Update 7 Written on June 24th, 2010 by
Categories: General, Missions, Students

For the full context of this story, check out our posts tagged as Kigali. Or, if you already know, but want to get caught up on Update 1 or Update 2 or Update 3 or Update 4 or Update 5 or Update 6Read the rest of this entry »

Alumni Missionary Support – Final Wrap-up

Comments Off on Alumni Missionary Support – Final Wrap-up Written on July 1st, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, General, Missions

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

After traveling 19 hours in flight, I arrived safely Monday afternoon.  How wonderful to be back on American soil again and to take pleasure in the familiarity of being home: seeing familiar faces, enjoying warm receptions and sleeping in my own bed. 

This past week was such a gift. I said goodbye to our team a week ago Sunday and had the privilege of staying an additional week in Jinja, where I enjoyed precious moments with my sister Danielle and her family (The Pierce's our team hosts).


Dentists, Superglue, and Braids

While the week was restful it was certainly not without adventure. A few highlights include: An opportunity to experience dentistry in Uganda, when one of my back molars broke off, sitting for seven hours straight and having two African mama's braid my hair (I am now sporting a new African doo) and discovering the multi purposes for superglue, when my niece fell from a top bunk and busted her chin and we super glued it back together. True story!  (a great remedy for those of you who, like myself, may fear needles...It works!)


Thanks and Praise!

dsc04947Many thanks again to each of you for journeying with me these past six weeks.  While it is hard to summarize my experience in just a few words, overall I would say: God is faithful and is at work doing amazing things through the lives of our alumni. Through each unique and significant cultural experience I was able to witness what He is able to do through lives surrendered to Him.

May He continue to be at work in and through each of our lives as we yield our hearts and hands to Him as vessels for His use.

Appreciative of your prayers and partnership,


Alumni Missionary Support – Uganda Update 3

Comments Off on Alumni Missionary Support – Uganda Update 3 Written on June 22nd, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, General, Missions

Dear Partners of Prayer and Faith,

Musiibye mutyano (How are you?)

I pray this greeting finds you well and enjoying His best. Our time here in Jinja is quickly coming to a close. With such amazing experiences accompanying these past few weeks it's hard to believe it's been such a short time. The days have been so full that they have felt like weeks...So much to reflect upon, process through, apply and implement. Our lives have certainly been touched and marked in powerful ways.

Forgotten, Imprisoned Women

This past Tuesday we returned to Kirinya (the women's prison) where we were given another opportunity to share personal testimonies and teach on servant-hood, as well as to demonstrate Christ's servant heart through a special foot washing and bless each woman with her very own pair of sandals. Words cannot communicate appropriately the experience in full and how rewarding it was to serve these women in this way. Forgotten and dismissed among the Ugandan society, many of these women are imprisoned on account of false accusation. Some will serve a 1-2 year term before even being offered a trial. What a blessing it was to bring a little joy and hope to such a dejected and despondent community. A memory that remains precious to us was the gift we were given as we departed. With tears streaming down faces (theirs as well as ours) and with their beautiful Ugandan voices they sang: Tembeyana Yesu Tembeyana...(Go with Jesus) "...Go with Jesus and we'll see you one day again in heaven." What a gift it was to be able to affirm these women in their worth and value as we shared with them Christ's love knowing that one day we would see them again in glory.

Calvary Chapel Jinja and Orphanages

On Wednesday we had the privilege of sharing with the women serving on staff at Calvary Jinja. In anticipation of our trip this year, this event was again another one that we were excited about and looking forward to with hopes of continuing relationships with our African sisters that we had began in 2007. It was a real treat for us to be able to pour back into the ministry God is doing through their lives as we enjoyed a Ugandan meal together, encouraged them on the importance of abiding, and the challenge of ongoing dependence (a key principle being: God is more interested in what He is doing in our hearts, than what He can do through us)-a wonderful reminder, even for our team.

Today we will have an opportunity to be back at Amani baby cottage and New Hope orphanage and then Sunday we will worship one last time with the community at Calvary Jinja before the team heads home.

amani-baby-cottage-36 amani-baby-cottage-37


As we shared together (as a team) yesterday afternoon, the things the Lord had been speaking to our hearts, I was encouraged to hear all that God had been at work doing. Our prayer has been that this trip would be more than just a 2 week missions experience but that God would use it to bring about real change...not only in the hearts of those we minister to, but in our hearts as well; and that He has done. We've gained new perspective and a greater desire to live intentionally-lives that care deeply for others-a reality that has been modeled for us through our interactions with the African people.

Other Highlights

Apart from ministry, some of the other highlights that were shared around the breakfast table this morning include: Enduring the 82° F humidity sleeping conditions, becoming well acquainted with our bathroom friend (a cockroach we've named Ralph), cold showers that can seem as effective as hot, when seeing red African dirt fill the tub (a good investment of soap and water). Ironing line dried underclothes (to avoid the eggs of mango flies embedding under our skin), enjoying African chai and chapatis (an African tortilla), and the amazing home cooked meals from our team hostess, Danielle (many from which the produce has been harvested right out of their backyard). It has been an exciting and enriching adventure!

Thanks again to the many of you who have supported us and covered us in prayer as we've continued in this journey. We are looking forward to being home with you soon and sharing personally all that God has done.

With deepest appreciation for your ongoing love and partnership,

Michelle (for the team)

Alumni Missionary Support – Uganda Update 2

Comments Off on Alumni Missionary Support – Uganda Update 2 Written on June 14th, 2009 by
Categories: Alumni, General, Missions

Praise God for the gift of His amazing grace and the beauty of answered prayer!

These past few days have been filled with incredible opportunities for seeing God's grace at work. Yesterday we had the privilege of spending our morning with a group of AIDS orphans. Through our teaching time, singing songs, playing games and providing material gifts we were able to share God's great and eternal love. What a testimony it was for us to be able to experience such thankful hearts through these orphans. As we distributed clothes, underwear, shoes, toothbrushes and toothpaste (many thanks again to those of you who helped contribute to the support of this outreach), we were able to share with these children that our reason for coming was because of a desire to be an extension of God's love and grace. Words cannot express the beautiful sight it was to see them coming out of the orphanage dressed in their new slacks, dresses and shoes as they displayed radiant smiles of deepest appreciation. When asked how many of them had given thanks to God for the things He had provided (a place to live, food to eat each day, mama's in the orphanage who love and take care of them, etc) it was such a testimony to us to see all of their little hands go up-- the practical things of life we so often take for granted were recognized as daily gifts from their Heavenly Father.



Yesterday afternoon we were able to visit Amani. Amani is a baby cottage that has been providing care for orphaned and abandoned children since its founding in 2003. Many of the children there are without parents due to AIDS, birth complications or other factors. Some are abandoned in the hospital after birth. Others are found abandoned at taxi stops, in latrines, or on the street. Amani's goal is that each of these orphans would find a place within a loving Christian family. After spending time holding and loving on these little ones it was hard to believe that anyone could give up these beautiful children and it was hard for us to have to give them back.

Women, Prison, Christ

Following our Sunday worship service this morning we were able to visit the women in Kirinya prison. This had been a highlight from our 2007 visit so it was with great anticipation that we were looking forward to this day, but what God had in mind for us was far beyond what we could have ever imagined. We had come hoping to plant a few seeds of God's love but today we were able to enjoy in the reaping of a great harvest. As we shared testimonies highlighting our need for personal relationship with Christ and the ability to find eternal joy in the midst of suffering, three women responded to the gospel invitation and accepted Christ as their personal Savior. "Mukama yabaziwe" Praise His name! What an incredible delight it was to be able to participate in harvesting such fruit from the investment that had been sown through the Pierce's ministry.


As we found a common bridge through dancing, ululating and worshipping; barriers were brought down and a unity of Christ's love was established. As the women worshipped and shared with us their traditional dances and songs we were blessed. In return we shared with them our traditional American dance ..."the hokey pokey." I can't say that it was as impressive but a commonality of sisterhood was certainly established.

Tomorrow we will enjoy a day of rest and Tuesday we will be returning to the prison to share on servanthood and have an opportunity to bless these women as we demonstrate Christ's servant-hood through a foot washing service.


Please continue to pray for us and for the ministry God has ahead. Pray also for these three who have made a decision to follow Christ as they follow Him to fuller maturity.

Rejoicing in His faithfulness and the beauty of answered prayer,

Michelle (for the team)