“My mom immigrated here in 1991 from India. My mom and dad actually lived apart from each other for 25 months while my dad was waiting for his Visa. My dad came in ’93-’94 and I was born in ’96. It’s been interesting. I’m Indian but was born in America and raised by American traditions. My parents have worked hard to make sure my brother and I have everything we need in order to be successful. I didn’t become a Christian until my Junior year of high school so I really didn’t participate in the Nazarene church until then. I had an identity crisis and started to ask ‘who am I really trying to appease here’. After wrestling with God for so long, I finally just let Him take over. I found my call to ministry and accepted Christ in my heart.

I came to SNU wanting to be a youth pastor in a comfortable place. The Theology and Ministry department continues to challenge you in finding your call and shaping your call. As I was visiting churches, I wasn’t satisfied at all. Dr. Samples told me about a church that didn’t have an internship program yet but we checked it out. It was kind of a mess but I fell in love with something about it. Jubilee is an after school ministry that partners with the disenfranchised and marginalized in the OKC area. We pick up kids after school and tutor them with whatever homework they need help with. But our tutoring can range anywhere from doing homework to shooting a basketball. I love it. I love every aspect of it. I interned there my first two years, which really wrecked and reformed my original call to be a youth pastor. Changed it in a way where maybe God was calling me to something more uncomfortable, and that’s perfectly okay. So I’m continuing to live into the discomfort that God calls me to. I continue to take leaps of faith in this journey but God is always faithful to his servants.

I think passions are given to us by God so when you surrender everything to him He comes back with a way to use your passion. My dream is to get my master’s in Counseling and eventually build a network of churches and nonprofits to bring me people who need counseling. There’s been so many people who have impacted my time here. That’s the best thing about SNU. There are so many professors who are more than just professors because they’re really intentional about finding time with you. Every professor and faculty member are intentional about my future and that’s just awesome. When I think about serving others, I think of the two greatest commandments. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and then love people the same way that you love me. Something about that really just clicked because I continue to put my faith in God love him with everything I am, so why can’t I do that with people? We’re really all one people, one unity.”

– Thomas Cherian. Junior, Theology major from Olathe, KS.