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Immigrant son discovers opportunity, education and ministry in the PC(USA)
Presbyterian scholarships help Colorado student thrive
If it’s true—according to the favorite children’s hymn—that “all God’s creatures got a place in the choir,” then Caleb Chincoya is an overachiever. The multi-talented, 21-year-old college senior takes up at least five spots—guitar, bass, congas, drums and piano—in the band.
Chincoya, a computer information technology major at the University of Dubuque, traces his love of music to the profound influence and considerable gifts of his uncle Lemuel Velasco, with whom he and his mother moved to the U.S. from Mexico when Chincoya was just six years old. Read more
by Elizabeth Campbell-Maleke
Looking back on my graduation from seminary almost two years ago, I recognize more than ever the palpable and important place of financial aid and my gratitude for the financial assistance I have received from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
I went to a Presbyterian college in North Carolina knowing that, although my parents were there to help me in case of emergencies, I was going to pay my way. I entered seminary with the same knowledge. The problem has been that I haven’t necessarily been drawn towards the moneymaking professions, as you might well imagine. Furthermore, with my husband being a native of Indonesia and both of us committed to mission commitments in our home there, money has often been an important thing—what we’ve needed to pay back educational loans or to fly to Indonesia to see family and do ministry there--- and yet when your family is made up of two MDiv graduates, as you might have guessed, you’re rarely rolling in money. This will likely become an even greater reality for us this coming fall, as we anticipate welcoming one more into our family!
Truly, the financial assistance provided by my denomination, PC (USA), has made a vast difference. Over the past two years, I have been serving two churches in a small town setting in West Virginia through the “For Such a Time as This” pastoral residency program. I love my work, my calling, and I wouldn’t trade being a pastor in a small church for the world! The financial aid office, however, recognizes the special needs of those of us serving in small churches and/or part-time assignments. And I believe through such programs as the Transformational Leadership Debt Assistance program, I have been able to engage in my vocation while not having to worry about money every step of the way. Furthermore, the presence of these programs reminds me of what I learned at a recent Stewardship Conference: That God is generous, and when we follow in God’s footsteps, we are blessed and also able to bless others. Blessed to be a blessing! These programs are invaluable for the future of our church—in all of its diversity!
Likewise, the financial assistance I received as a seminary student was incredibly important. Even though one semester, I had three jobs serving as a campus Chapel Assistant, youth pastor at a nearby church, and a youth program coordinator with another church-- without the assistance from the Presbyterian Study Grant, I would have left seminary with an even greater amount of debt. When I graduated two years ago, I felt confident to pursue God’s call for me and wasn’t hindered by unnecessary constraints that the burden of additional debt could have placed.
Thank you PC (USA) and thank you to everyone who supports these important programs! This is a kind of investment, a soul-work investment, which is worth more than words can express. Nonetheless, these investments suggest to me that our denomination values the needs and commitments of its pastors, and that we are all passionate about serving God with all of our heart, mind, and strength! Thank you. Terima Kasih.
Elizabeth Campbell-Maleke is a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary and a teaching elder in the Presbytery of West Virginia who has found TLDA and other PC(USA) financial assistance critical in realizing her ministry goals. Terima Kasih means thank you in Bahasa Indonesia.
The financial aid programs of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to help make undergraduate and graduate studies possible.
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