Shari Jackson Monson, MDiv
It took 8 years to complete my MDiv studies. When I
began seminary I was married, had two young children and was working out what
it meant to be called to full-time vocational ministry and seminary studies.
While I was in seminary my ministry role at our church often took me out of the
country on mission trips. My passport was stamped in Guatemala, Costa Rica,
Mexico, Thailand, Romania, and most frequently in the Middle East. This
is a reflection of how our church, Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church PC/USA (Gig
Harbor, WA) was growing in its
commitment to serve missionally. It is also a reflection of the grace I
received as a student at Fuller to explore my calling. Most trips took place during school
breaks, but sometimes missing a class was unavoidable. I am thankful for the
professors and fellow students who helped me stay on track in creative ways
like recording class sessions. Without the support of this remarkable community
I am quite certain I would not have made it to graduation last spring. But I
did. This April I will make my fifth pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I won’t have Hebrew vocabulary
flashcards in my pocket, but I will carry the goodwill of Fuller along with me
as I lead the Sound & Sand Encounters (SSE). This groundbreaking ministry brings together Israeli Messianic Believers in Christ,
Palestinian Arab Christians, and American Christian young adults for the sake
seeking reconciliation between their communities. Interestingly, five of the key SSE leaders are Fuller grads.
Each of us agrees that we gained solid theological footing in God’s Mission in
Christ during our seminary years.
We are confident that seeking reconciliation among Israeli, Palestinian,
and American Christians is worth pursuing. It’s not easy. In fact at times it can be quite
daunting. For me seeking
reconciliation in this context is part of my calling in Christ to His Church.
And just like seminary, it’s worthy of passionate faithful pursuit over the
long haul. This Easter I will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on the
Mt of Olives together with participants of Sound & Sand.