Last Updated : 6th May 2012
Our names are Joel (23) and Alexa Upton (21). Last year we applied to Oak Hill Theological college as a response to God’s call to train and be equipped to better minister the Good New of Jesus. We are now drawing to the close of our first year on the Theology for Crossing Cultures BA(Hons) degree course and it has been an incredibly enriching year for both of us. This has of course come with its struggles as we have both had to adapt to newly married life together as well as moving countries and changing day to day life dramatically. It has been tremendously fruitful for us as individuals moreover as a couple as we work out what life together in God’s service looks like.
Last year we we felt God was calling us to Oak Hill with a vision to see people know the absolute truth about God. We can honestly say that being at Oak Hill has only further grown that vision in our lives. More than ever we understand the importance of truth, especially when working overseas. This last year has been a great chance to wrestle with truths of God and apply them to pastoral issues that we face today. We have also been continually baring in mind how the truth of the Gospel can break through cultural barriers and can be shared around the world. The more we learn about world mission and the role of churches in sending people out and caring for them it confirms the heart we had before arriving. We have always felt especially drawn to working closely with the local church and with missionaries, We both have a great desire to make sure missionaries are not only being sent out well but looked after well when they are away from “home,” whether that be in this country or overseas. On top of all this since joining Oak Hill we feel we have become even more overwhelmed with how big God is. Learning the doctrine of God has really brought this to mind and how it daily reminds us to give complete control over to Him. Our faithful God has everything in His incredible hands. When we started here at Oak Hill we didn’t have any specific future plans for afterwards and this hasn’t changed but we know more now than ever before that God does have a plan for us and we just have to keep trusting in Him.
The Theology for Crossing Cultures course that we are both currently enrolled on has a desire to equip students to be able to share the gospel in a number of different cultures:
“During their studies, students seek to integrate their cross-cultural understanding and their participation in the core subjects with other students.”
– taken from the Oak Hill website (www.oakhill.ac.uk)
Most of the course we study along side students solely focused on studying Theology, this gives us a good grounding in the core subjects such as Doctrine of God, Old Testament Studies, and Apologetics. A smaller group of us separate for subjects more focused on world mission and cross-cultural studies, these modules include: Missiology, and Interacting with Non-Christian Religions & Cults.
We are currently living in a cute little flat in Enfield, N.London (about 3.5 miles away from where we go to college). It’s been real blessing to have our own space and somewhere to call our home. Adjusting to the new environment has had its struggles but also its hidden blessings. The community of people at the small little bible college we attend are very friendly. We have been trying to be as social as we can while meeting deadlines for essays. Since being at Oak Hill we have, along with a close YWAM friend, started an “alternative” worship evening. It’s been a wonderful time just to praise God freely in amongst all the structure and busyness of daily college life.
We have been working hard at trying to raise the whole amount of £30,000 for out first year at school. God has been very good in providing for us. We still owe £3,500 in tuition fees and need to have these paid by they end of the year. Please continue to pray with us as we await that last amount.
Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us.