Last week Kyiv Theological Seminary welcomed guests, dear friends from the Faith Church, which is in Indianapolis, IN. The church is a longtime partner of the seminary. Our friends had the opportunity to meet with students and staff of the seminary. Speaking during chapel, Joey Woestman, one of the lead Pastors at the Faith Church, addressed students with words of support and encouragement for study. Reflecting on his years of study at Dallas Theological Seminary, he shared about challenges he personally faced as a student:

The seminary was a great challenge for me. I spend more hours in the seminary library than I could initially imagine. I was surrounded by countless books, desperately trying to find enough sources for my papers.

Joey admitted he never wrote papers longer than ten pages before he got to the seminary. Moreover, he had no idea how to write a research paper using forty different sources. He did not know how to use library or seminary computer system to find needed assignments. He mentioned, that he often lost points for poor formatting, rather than content or reasoning. It seemed to him, he would never be able to get those periods and commas in the right places.

I remember more than once, near the end of 12-hour marathon library sessions, thinking "this is not the dream I signed up for!

Pastor presumed that some of the students in attendance might feel in a similar way and have similar thoughts. For the sake of encouragement and motivation for studies, he pointed audience attention to Romans 1:11-12. In that passage, Paul writes about his desire to visit Rome in order to strengthen believers, encourage them and be encouraged by them. Listeners heard that, “Every church exists to encourage every other church.
Students should study to minister effectively, and also encourage others, including believers in the USA. Pastor Joey noted that he took many courses in the seminary, dug deeper into the Scriptures as never before, learned how to write research papers, learned how to think. He learned to spend hours and hours studying one chapter, taking out everything he could out of it.

And now, it is your turn to study,

said Joey Woestman, to students. He ended his sermon with this charge, “We need you to learn. Reflect. Preach. Write. Tell the stories of your people. I need to be encouraged by you, to learn from you. I promise to listen. My prayer for you is that you will long to come to us to strengthen us so that we can be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith.”