Have you ever been hit with a hammer? Maybe you were working on something and hit your hand really hard, or perhaps bumped your head into a sharp corner? Or how about this one: walking over a Lego piece in bare feet. Ouch! I think you get the point. Whether we plan them or (mostly) not, there are painful situations that come up in our lives. But we learn and grow from those events. When I bump my head into something, I know to duck the next time I walk by there.
My job in Hungary was to bring the hammer to the students’ lives. Let me explain. Every student at the Bible Institute had what is called a Service Assignment. It was basically a job they worked several hours a week. This is one of the facets that make the Bible Institute so unique from every other school; you learn practical life skills in a unique setting. Because let’s face it, there’s always a lawn to cut, always dishes to clean, always chores to be done. Even a bachelor pad needs to be cleaned once in a while. And it’s the same in ministry. There’s lots of unglamorous work, and the Service Assignments is a great way to learn this.
Under my title of Service Assignment Coordinator, I would assign jobs to the students for weekly schedules, special events, and conferences, as well as coordinate our Street Evangelism weekend that involved the whole student and staff body for the past two years.
In life, you learn about godliness from a book or a class; but you really learn it from real-life, gritty experiences. And that’s what the Service Assignments provided. I love that students from around the world (no joke!) could take the principles from class and apply them to their lives. Principles like patience with a co-worker, integrity when no one else is watching, and much more.
I learned a lot about management, servant leadership, and balancing your life. I did ministries like teaching Sunday school, Men’s and Intern devotions, teach English, and enjoy pouring into the guys’ lives in random conversations. I also met an amazing girl who I am currently dating and am absolutely crazy about!
I plan to take this year to get myself grounded in the States with work, ministry, and education, and then pursue missionary work with Word of Life in the country of Poland. My passion is to bring positive influence into the lives of young people through teaching them biblical principles.
~ Dan Vanderkooi