(Posted September 1st 2016 @ 12:15 PM by: Melody Reever)
I guess I’ve always been a nerd. Even as a young girl, I loved education. When other children chose to play sports for electives, I volunteered to stay in the classroom and teach the little kids instead. So when it came time to choose a university course, Early Childhood Education seemed to be a no-brainer. It wasn’t until my fourth year of studying that I discovered managing a classroom full of under-eights was actually quite stressful and wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I was so traumatized by the experience that I didn’t even want to teach Sunday school for quite a few years after graduation!
After being out of work for six months, I finally got an entry level job working for a diet food company. Fast forward thirteen years and I had become a web editor on the communications team of the Queensland government, a job I absolutely loved. At this time, I was very involved in playing music and preaching at my local church and was helping to start a daughter work. My family, who were all faithful Christians, lived nearby, and I had no desire to leave the city in which I had grown up. Things should have been perfect yet my spirit was restless. Little did I know God was in the process of preparing me for one of the greatest challenges—and most amazing opportunities—of my life!
In August 2012, I travelled to the US from my home in Australia to visit close friends. While there, I was encouraged to attend a class at Urshan Graduate School of Theology (UGST). After what (I thought) had been a disastrous career choice, I determined I would never pursue higher education again unless it was a field I truly loved. Since I loved learning—and definitely loved the Bible—I agreed to go. I had no desire to complete a master’s degree; I was simply going to learn more about the Bible. However, on the second day of class, I received a phone call from my supervisor back home in Australia, telling me the office where I worked was closing. I could move to another city and keep my job, or I could lose my job and receive a termination payout.
To make a long story short, in January 2013 I found myself living on campus at UGST and working to complete a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. I really had no idea what I was doing there—I just knew this was without a doubt God’s next step for my life. I loved the opportunity to study under incredible professors who believed and taught the Oneness of God. I even took extra classes so I could more understand God’s Word. While life was full and I’d made many friends, I still had no idea what I was to do after leaving UGST.
Three-quarters of the way through my degree—completely out of the blue—I received an email from the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church of Australia (UPCA). He asked if I would be interested in becoming the director of the Australian Apostolic Bible College after I graduated from UGST. This was a newly-created full-time job which would involve managing the current Bible college (which has over thirty local church campuses scattered around Australia) as well as creating curriculum and sourcing teachers to update the pre-recorded video materials used by each campus. This was a mind-blowing opportunity—and a totally scary proposition! God trusted me to take on this massive task?
A classmate once said to me that “God always uses a person in motion.” When I followed my dreams to study the Bible more, I had no idea where it would lead. I never imagined it would result in me holding a national position in the UPCA. There was not the faintest thought that I would have the awesome privilege of being involved in creating curriculum that will be used to train people in ministry throughout my country for years to come. Yet this desire to learn more of God’s Word led me overseas so I could share what I had learned with those who were unable to uproot their lives and do the same.
What seemed to be the terrible circumstance of losing my job and having to move out of my comfort zone—not just out of my home city but halfway around the world!—has proven to be one of the greatest blessings of my life. Through the termination payment, God miraculously provided the finances I needed to live in the States without working for the entire two-and-a-half-year duration of my degree—with enough left over to help me buy a car and relocate to a new city when I returned home.
As I look back on my life, I realize God doesn’t allow any experience to go to waste. Although for many years I thought I had made a huge mistake in choosing to pursue an education degree, I see now that this knowledge is essential to my current role. Perhaps I wasn’t cut out to teach a classroom of kindergarten kids, but the educational principles I learned are helping to improve the Bible college.
God’s plan is truly bigger than our dreams. All I wanted was to be a faithful Christian and to perhaps encourage a few people to live for Him through my preaching. Yet—unbelievably—He saw something in me He could use to encourage an entire nation of avid Bible college students! This didn’t happen because I am anyone special; I’m just proof that God can use anyone (even nerds) to do great things if they are willing to follow their dreams.
Kym Swile is a licensed minister with the UPCA and director of the Australian Apostolic Bible College. She graduated from UGST with a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry in 2015. Kym hates cold weather, loves the beach, and likes to eat Vegemite straight off the spoon to gross out her American friends.