My wife Stephany and I began attending the Institute for Global Outreach Developments International in August 2011. At 27 years old, I am hardly the typical college student. I already have an undergraduate degree, and have worked in full-time ministry as a youth pastor. By all standards, I should be establishing my career and securing our future. Yet, here I am, sitting in 100-level Bible classes. Why would I pursue this, doing what seems a step backwards in life? During the summer of 2010 we found ourselves in a precarious situation. My position was eliminated from the church program. We had a few options before us: I could apply at an established church; Stephany could pursue work as a teacher. This seemed wise for a couple of twenty-somethings. Instead, we listened to God. We heard the Lord calling us to serve, to give our lives to the poor.
Our participation with G.O.D. International began with a mission trip to India (July 2011). Being there was an immense challenge for me. It was impossible to escape the sight of poverty, to silence the sound of suffering. Malnourished babies in slums, a man maimed begging for drugs, a little girl dying from a treatable disease—I felt helpless to respond to the incredible need that surrounded me. But I knew that to serve, I first needed to learn.
My first semester at the Institute was humbling. Five years removed from college, I had to quickly relearn how to study, take good notes, and write quality papers. The hardest transition was from being teacher to once again sitting as a student. Before, I taught youth every week at church. But now I am the learner, sitting in class alongside one of the students from my youth group! My education extends beyond the classroom. I feel that I am living out lessons from my Genesis class, following God like Abraham, learning to be a good husband and father in a ‘new land.’ I am blessed to begin raising my daughter—born a week after the last day of class—while allowing myself to be formed by God’s word.
Though it is challenging, I am so thankful for this education. God desires to save the suffering poor I met in India. In order to do that, he needs people who can humble themselves and follow Him. I want to do that. Here, I am becoming the kind of man that can bring life to the least of these. That, I believe, is worth starting over for.
Written by: Grant Dailey