What led to your decision to pursue seminary?
Although I grew up in a Christian household, it took quite a while until I fully understood the Gospel and especially the difference between justification and sanctification. But as soon as I came to know the truth I wanted to share it with friends who I knew had the same struggles and were searching for rest. I was always interested in the Bible, even as a child, but it was especially this time when I found rest in Christ that aroused the desire to serve as pastor so that many people can have this deep joy of the Gospel. I chose to pursue seminary for two reasons. First, I wanted to know more about the Bible just for myself. As soon as I had a basic understanding of the Gospel, I had so many questions and I knew only intensive studies at the seminary could provide answers. Second, I wanted to be trained for ministry. I didn’t have a church that supported me and gave a perspective for future ministry but I trusted that these things would development during my time at seminary.
What are the main reasons that you chose WSC specifically?
When I studied theology in Germany some of our assigned readings came from the WSCAL faculty. I read some more of their books in my own interests as well. I found them always to be most helpful. Surely, when I first read these books, I never imagined that one day I would have the privilege to meet their authors and learn from them personally. The main reason for choosing WSCAL is that I get one of the best theological educations. I learn from some of the finest reformed theologians of our day. There is a big difference between reading their books on the one hand and sitting in their class or even living rooms for personal conversations on the other hand. A second reason is that I come from a very small seminary. We didn’t have a big campus life nor were there many different opinions and discussions. I wanted to come to a bigger seminary to get different perspectives from students as well as scholars. Iron sharpens iron.
Did you experience any culture shock?
Not really. There are different reasons for that. One is simply that there is a huge influence of American culture on Germany through the media. Many things that I see with my own eyes now, I saw on television before. It is different to see it with my own eyes, but it’s no big, shocking surprise. That is not to say that there are no differences that are more or less good or bad, but “culture shock” would be too intense to describe my feeling about it. Usually I am excited to see and understand the differences. A few things worth mentioning are the American attitude towards politics and patriotism, the use of guns, a great caution and awareness of criminality, and small talk. For me the most shocking thing is how much is discarded as waste. Many Germans have this problem as well but I never saw it in such amount and naturalness as I do here.
What are a few things that you have enjoyed about life here thus far?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the weather. It feels amazing to wake up in the morning and to know that it will be a warm and sunny day, as always. Besides this I really enjoy nature. I discover new animals, new plants, and even a new ocean. Another great source of joy is the food. Visiting a new country means a lot of new food. And with the proximity to Mexico the variety gets even bigger. I spend most of the time on the campus. For some that doesn’t sound like life at all, but I really enjoy the everyday routine of studying, talking with friends at the seminary and reading. It is also a reason for continuing wonder to see how many people took care of me from the very beginning. Fellow students, member of faculty and staff, and last but not least my church in Oceanside, take care of me more abundantly than what I could ask for.
What do you plan to do after you graduate from WSC?
I would like to get my doctorate in New Testament studies. It would be a joy to spend some more time with the Greek New Testament so that I would be able to teach the next generation. Even more I would like to serve as a minister of God’s Word in Germany. It was never a question for me whether I should go back to Germany. There is a great need for well-trained ministers.
What would you tell an international student considering attending WSC?
I would encourage him to make that step. It is a helpful experience to leave the familiar environment and spend time in a different culture and maybe language. And the theological education that one receives is priceless. I have some friends in mind who I wish could have the same privilege as I do. If there is the opportunity to come here, definitely do it.