Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Right now I am at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California working on a partnership to advance the Kingdom by placing talented graduating seniors around the world. Thsi article written by Linnea Swenson tells the story of Ryan but now we are expanding the opportunities by placing APU grads in United World Mission fields in the 10-40 Window.

Azusa Pacific Office of Missions Offers Chance To Be H.I.S. Servant
“If your desire is to see God’s name glorified around the world, you’ve got a program right here that helps you find an organization that is already doing that and to partner with them,” senior youth ministry major Ryan Hernandez said.

This fall Hernandez was accepted into the Institute for Outreach Ministries H.I.S.years program,which began last fall, and plans on partnering with Frontiers, a Christian organization that works with the least-reached Muslim communities around the world. “I wanted to be involved in youth ministries, but I knew I didn’t want to do typical American youth ministry,” Hernandez said. “Evangelizing and ministering to kids in another context and culture is definitely something I’ll look to.”

The H.I.S.years program started last fall and allows recent graduates seniors the opportunity to pursue missionary work abroad without the added responsibility of paying off student loans. “There’s a lot of freedom. They help us, pray for us, guide us, and offer suggestions, but nothing’s forced. They [the H.I.S.years staff] are here to facilitate and free us up,” Hernandez said. If a student is approaching the stage of “what am I going to do after I graduate,” the H.I.S.years program is one worth looking into. “Its purpose is mobilizing young adults toward involvement in God’s global agenda,” Executive Director of the Institute for Outreach Ministries George Bache said. This “sending” program, offered through the Institute for Outreach Ministries, is specifically designed for APU graduates to take advantage of while in their first year after graduation.

“The acronym stands for Hearing, Investing and Serving. The idea is that now that I’m graduated, I’m going to give Him, His years,” Bache said. “You’re going to give Him back two years for the blessing of being able to come and gain this gifting of education and opportunity at Azusa Pacific.”

“By the grace of God and a certain creativity, relentless pursuit, some prayer and serious conviction, we found a way to find a enough money to pile it now to remove the financial barriers. We’ll cover your student loans for two years. And you go out and serve,” Associate Vice President for Internationalization Matt Browning said. Students can apply for the H.I.S.years program in the fall of their senior year. The whole fall semester is available for students to begin planning, researching and talking with organizations. In the spring, students are asked to commit 100 percent to the H.I.S.years program.

“I believe we have a responsibility as a God First university to get uniquely creative to figure out how to make the corner of Citrus and Alosta a launch-pad for people to solve world problems,” Browning said. The H.I.S.years staff are committed to finding experts to help students get financial advice and assistance on managing their loans post graduation—whether a student is in the H.I.S.years program or not.

According to Coordinator for Program Development and Mobilization Jillian Gilbert the program is designed for those with student loans but will also help those without loans.
Although H.I.S.years has only been active for the past year and a half, there are already 15 students in the program. Six graduates were sent out last year and nine seniors are preparing to go out in 2009.
“Our ministry philosophy is holistic, meaning that, it’s not just about spreading the good news but it’s also about being in the community, in community development, reaching them in a practical way,” Gilbert said. Students can receive more information on the H.I.S.years program by going to the Institute for Outreach Ministries and speaking with the coordinator for program development and mobilization Jillian Gilbert.

Thanks for helping us advance the gospel by building the harvest force.

Mark Szymanski

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