First Year Student, Asbury Theological Seminary

Recently I have gained a fuller appreciation of the story of Abraham because I have felt the Lord call me to “leave the land of your father (Sweet Home Alabama) and go to a land I will show you (Kentucky).” One of Kentucky’s rich heritages is that it was once known as a wilderness beyond the reach of the colonial world. Only the bravest of pioneers and settlers dared to cross the Cumberland Gap to settle in Kentucky. Daniel Boone explored the wild of Kentucky for months at a time. When asked if he ever got lost, Boone replied, “No, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks!” [caption id="attachment_2290" align="alignright" width="200"] Wilson Newell and his wife, Olivia[/caption] I am a first year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and my wife, Olivia, is a nurse at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Like both Abraham and Daniel Boone, we find ourselves in uncharted territory in many ways. I am discovering unexpected perils and wonders at every turn in pursuit of my calling. It has been a beautiful season of exploring, dreaming, trekking through difficult passages of scripture and history, and growing closer to my Lord. I am so thankful for the ways He has both challenged and encouraged me here. My professors, readings, friends, and ministry have pushed me closer to complete reliance upon Him. Last semester I took a class called “Inductive Bible Study of Matthew” with Dr. David Bauer. One of our assignments was to interpret Matthew 5:48: “Therefore, be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” I had no idea how to explain this verse, but when we used the inductive method, the Scripture suddenly came alive. It became clear that Jesus was saying that to be perfect in this way is to love all people, just like God loves all people. What a revelation this was! “Perfection” lines up with God’s great love for the world, both the righteous and the unrighteous. As the Church, we must mirror our Lord in this way in order to take part in God’s mission. While in seminary, I’m also serving as a youth pastor for a wonderful group of kids at First United Methodist Church of Lexington - Andover Campus. They are currently reading and studying the Gospel of Mark and I have been overjoyed to see the word of God come alive to them, too. A few weeks ago, one of them experienced Christ’s justifying grace for the first time, another felt called to ministry, and others have surrendered more of themselves to His will. Please pray for these students, as many of them are in difficult situations. Olivia and I are so thankful for the Stegall Foundation’s support, both financial and prayerful, while we seek Him in this life-changing season. Seminary would not be possible for us without your faithful help. We can’t wait to be back in Alabama, but at the same time life is good and God still has much to show us here. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explore the great frontier of theology and ministry through your gifts and support.