A Seminary Life: Looking Back after My First Year
by Makayla Cook
What a blessed year it has been! It is hard to believe that this time last year I was still unaware that this was where I would be. I was wrestling with my call, had been accepted to a different graduate school program, and had yet to find out that the North American Lutheran Seminary would be in Ambridge, PA, at Trinity School for Ministry. What has unfolded since then has been nothing short of God’s grace and sovereign will, and what a powerful and weathering ride it has been so far! As I wrapped up my papers I could not help but smile at all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do in the future!
I was fresh out of undergrad and had already committed to a graduate school program for social work back in my home State of Texas when I began to no longer be able to ignore God’s apparent call on my life to ordained ministry. It is funny how we spend so much time asking God what His will for us is, but when He answers quite blatantly it can be a bit shell shocking, and so sometimes we question Him a little more! I remember my conversations with Him over the year before I relented went something like this, “Are you sure? Are you positive?! That is really where You want me?!? … It is so far God! 1500 miles away from home, all my loved ones, all my comfort zones, all that I have known! I don’t know how I can do it? I’ve never seen snow before, let alone had to survive in it!” Looking back I have to chuckle, because I know through it all God was smiling at my childish worries, and like the good Father He is, quietly challenging me to trust Him and step out in So with only a month to prepare, pack, order books, and move 1500 miles to Ambridge, PA, this journey began! It is amazing to me how something so chaotic, unstable, and challenging could be SO peaceful! You can’t explain it to anyone, you just know. That kind of peace only comes from God. For me, being a resident student here at Trinity with the NALS is an asset I believe will be reaping harvest well into my work in parish ministry, long after I have left here. Now that I have been here and experienced being a full time resident student I could not imagine taking these classes long distance (as I had considered in the beginning, due to my desire not to uproot my life). Now I know that being here and having daily, physical access to resources such as our library, translation software, fellow students walking similar journeys, faculty willing to pour their time (in and out of the classroom) into us, and the chance to get practicum experience is something I would have missed out on and greatly missed!
As a woman looking to pursue ordained ministry, our diverse group of faculty has especially been a blessing. It has been an honor and encouragement to have the opportunity to study under the strong, orthodox, female leaders here on campus, and to learn what it is to embrace my femininity, instead of hiding it, as well as how to use the gifts, passions, and nature that God has given me for service to His Church and kingdom. I have had opportunities to be a leader here through being elected to the Student Cabinet, representing Trinity and NALS at the annual President’s Conference, I have had the opportunity to lead the student body in worship on several occasions, participate on our Sacristy Team, and so much more. Because there are only a small number of female students on campus, I was afraid of what the reception would be, but I can honestly say I have never been in a more blessed situation, or place. The acceptance and encouragement by staff, faculty, and students has been fabulous, and I have already made some lifelong friends! To study on campus at Trinity is to be a part of a global community who share common blood in Christ, and common ground in Trinity. There is a huge sense of loyalty to one another, and to the faith that binds us together in Christ’s blood! May the Lord bless and keep you in whatever season this finds you in!