Writing an email with my right hand, listening to a video, and eating a sandwich with my left hand…all at the same time. Driving to school with one hand, studying for an exam, and eating a banana with the other hand. Multitasking is one of my favourite things to do. Ask any of my three freshman roommates from my time in the dorms at Faith, and they would all tell you that I never did just one thing at a time. In fact, if there was any time I only did one thing at a time, it was when I was sleeping, and they would probably argue that I never did that either because they always went to bed before I did and woke up after I did 🙂
People often say that women can multitask and men can’t, but I would have to disagree…it always amazed me how some girls could not seem to focus on more than one thing at one time. Perhaps I just don’t know the right people. Anyway, I think men can multitask too, and there’s no way I could have made it through college and seminary without multitasking.
But there comes a time when multitasking wears me out, and that is when I try to mix ministry with school work. I love ministry, and I love school, but I don’t like doing them both at the same time. When I was at FBBC&TS, Sunday and Wednesday services were always a welcome break from the daily workload of school assignments. Other ministry opportunities that took place during the week, usually in the evenings, were always a refreshing time as I left my books and computer in my room or in the library and focused on something completely different.
Unfortunately, when I went to Brasil last summer, I took loads of homework with me. In fact, that is the main reason I did not post to our blog very often last summer. Instead, I have several more things I want to write about, and six months after publishing my last post I’m finally picking back up where I left off!
In order to graduate from seminary with my desired degree, I had to take lots of modules that during very unideal times: Christmas break, spring break, and summer break. Since the fall of 2014, I basically had homework every single week of the year. This last year was no different, and even though I walked across the platform at commencement, I still had three straight weeks of class after that, and each of those classes had lots of homework.
So I went to Brasil half a dozen books to read and about half a dozen papers to write, and it was exhausting. Some nights in Brasil I stayed up late, reading books or writing papers. Some mornings at camp I woke up early to read. I felt bad because there were ministries that I wanted to do even when I had deadlines to meet, but I did what I thought was most important and ended up turning in a few assignments a little late.
As I look back, I don’t think my ministry suffered much, but perhaps there were times when I was more tired than I should have been under “normal” circumstances. Did my homework suffer? Yes, I could have read some books slower or done more research on some of my papers. But I can honestly say I still tried to gain knowledge from my assignments rather than just finishing them to say I did them.
One of my blessings during Acampamento Crianças (kids camp) was having a whole cabin to myself. This allowed me to get a lot of reading done during those early mornings and late nights before and after the activities of the day. There were also a couple of less busy weeks in July when I was able to get some papers written.
But the biggest blessing of all came during the end of July and beginning of August as the 2016 Rio Olympics approached: The night when I hit “Submit” and turned in my final seminary assignment. So much relief! Eight years of post high school education completed! But even more significant at the time, I could finish out my final four weeks in Brasil with no homework. I could focus solely on the ministry God gave me because school was no longer a factor.
The first time I went to Brasil, I did not have any school because I was in the transition between college and seminary. When I return to Brasil again, I also will not bring any homework with me 🙂 Does that mean I’m done studying? Nope. In fact, just tonight I was doing research on video cameras and editing software, and tomorrow I’m going to work on a Bible study I’m leading, and I’m also doing a personal study through the entire Bible. But none of this is the same as trying to balance school and ministry at the same time, and last summer in Brasil was a great reminder of how grateful I am that God led me through college and seminary before giving me a full-time ministry position.
All those men and women who have gone back to school after already serving God in full-time ministry- I admire all y’all because that is not easy. For anyone that wants to jump into a ministry position and then decide on more education later, I would highly recommend you get your education now and continue to serve in your local church each week, but wait before taking that next step. Even on a small scale, taking homework to Brasil was not really fun at all. But you know what? God was gracious, and the ministry went on…even though the blog posts didn’t come as frequently as they should have 🙂