Friday, November 4, 2011

God Called...

God Called Me…

My story goes back several years, several decades actually.  When I was a young boy (11 or 12 years old) at summer camp, I was sitting around a fire and distinctly heard a call to Ministry.  I didn't know what that meant at the time, but I heard it nonetheless.  I even promised God that I would go wherever He sent me, I would follow wherever he led.

However, several years later when it came time for me to choose a career, and establish a path upon which I would travel, I had forgotten that promise and I wound up in Retail.  I have worked hard over the past 20 years and have worked my way into Middle Management.  I met my wife 24 years ago, and 22 years ago we married.  We now have four children, one in college, two in High School and one in 5th Grade.

While I had forgotten the Promise I made to God, He did not forget his plan for me.  Recently He brought that forgotten night back into my memory so clearly I can tell you the conversation I had with my counselor that night.  I remember telling him that I was scared; I didn't know why God would call me and what God would do with me.  He very wisely told me not to worry about it.  When the time was right and when I was ready, God would make it clear to me what I was supposed to do.

A few months ago, God made it clear that I was to earn a Master's of Divinity.  I almost immediately questioned.  Why?  Why Now?  How am I supposed to do this and also take care of my family?  What do you have in store for me?  And many others...  I can't explain this, but God gave me no direct answers, all He did was reassure in my heart that this was indeed His calling for me.  I have no idea what God is going to do with my future.  What I do know is this.  He called me, He told me what to do.  He has not told me why.  He doesn't need to, and I obviously don't need to know.  What I need to do is obey.

Three years ago, my wife and I committed to God to get ourselves out of debt.  We realized that our debt load was too large.  I am not ashamed to say that in the past three years, we have eliminated ~80% of our "non-mortgage" debt.  I have prayed extensively about funding this calling.  A Master's Degree is not cheap.  A Master of Divinity is definitely not cheap.  It is one of the more expensive degrees out there, as most MDIV programs require more hours than most Masters programs, 50% or more hours.  I don't believe that God would call us to get out of debt only to get back in debt just as we are getting so close to being free of it.  But God Called, and I must obey.

I have applied to and I have been accepted into the Masters of Ministry Program at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.  I have chosen this Program for four Reasons.  First, I agree with MVNU's statement of Faith.  Second, their program, in conjunction with the Master of Divinity program at Nazarene Theological Seminary, will allow me to earn TWO Master's Degrees, a Master of Ministry from MVNU and a Master of Divinity from NTS.  (All of the classes taken in the MVNU Master of Ministry program will apply to the Master of Divinity Program, so there are no "extra" classes (read expense) involved... Just an "extra" degree).  Third, It is very convenient.  I will be able to take most of the required classes at the MVNU satellite campus which is 2 miles from my home where I will be able to take my classes in the evening one day per week.  For the few classes I can not take in the evenings, I can take those at MVNU’s main campus (about 45 minutes from home) or via the web.  And Finally, the tuition is the lowest of any of the Masters programs I have looked into.  Cost per credit hour is $283 and I will need 76 hours to earn my MDiv.  Adding an estimate of $100 per class for books, materials, fees, etc. brings my total estimated need to $24,008.  This breaks down to right around $900 per class on average, and I will be taking 2-3 classes per semester.  I do not need to pay for the entire program at once, I can pay for each class as they come along.

I have wrestled with how I am going to pay for this.  Again, I am convinced that God did not call me to get out of debt so that He could call me to go to school and get back in debt.  So student loans are out of the question.  There are many scholarships and grants out there, and I will begin applying for those soon.  But those won't cover all of my expenses and most of them will not pay until the fall.  I have an opportunity to start in January, only a few weeks from now.  While the time window is short, if God wants me to start then he will move someone (or several “someones”) to make that possible.  My first class will be $849 and the books for this class total $46.96.  If you would like to buy a book for me you can visit my Amazon Wish at www.Amazon.com, Click on the “Wish List” button and then type “Paul Perger” into the search box.  You will see a list called “Paul Perger Master Program List”.  The books that I need are listed there, and you can purchase a book by clicking on “Give as a Gift”.  Whenever a book is available on Kindle, I would like the Kindle book because I can read those books on my PC, Phone, or Kindle.  I can take notes whenever I am reading on whichever device I happen to be using and then have those notes available to me when writing papers, etc.

When I attended an information session at MVNU they spoke of getting support from the church you are serving, as most churches will help their pastors earn their degree.  While several of my classmates will be pastors, I am not a pastor, but the concept of asking others to help me answer God's calling is a valid one.  So, I have decided to set up a "GoFundMe" page, which will allow others to contribute toward the cost of my Masters of Divinity degree.  It makes me very uncomfortable to ask people for money, but after long hours of prayer, I am convinced that this is one of the ways God will provide the funds for His calling.

If you are interested in helping with the funding, but do not want to use a Credit or Debit Card on the internet you can send checks directly to MVNU.  To do this, please put my name, Paul Perger and my student ID 112983 in the Comment section of your check.  Please send the check to the following address:

Student Accounts
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
800 Martinsburg Rd.
Mt. Vernon, OH  43050

You can also send checks directly to me made out to Paul Perger OR to Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Paul Perger
1173 Tillicum Dr.
Worthington, OH  43085

IF you support me via a check sent directly to the school please let me know that you have so that I may insure the funds were applied to my account, and more importantly so I can say thank you and add you to my email distribution list.

Please pray for me.  Pray that I will remember to keep God first, My Family second, and my education third.  I know myself, and I can easily get this all turned around.  Please also pray for my family, as while I intend to keep their sacrifice as minimal as possible, there will be sacrifice on their part, it is inevitable.  Pray that they will participate in this journey with me and not perceive it as a burden on them.

And last, pass the word.  We support missionaries we don't personally know all the time.  I am going to commit to sending monthly email updates to any and all who indicate their support of this endeavor of mine.  If you are supporting me financially, I will know that and you will be added to my list.  If you are praying, please let me know so that I can also add you to my list, your prayer support will be valued and coveted just as much as financial support.

I will also be using this blog to document this part of my life's journey.

Until His Work in me is Complete...
Paul