Benyamin and Magi, earning Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees, respectively, traveled to Lebanon from Egypt three years ago with their two small boys to begin a seminary journey that would prove to be characterized by the unexpected. They were surprised by the challenges they faced as they sought to balance their roles as students and parents, and were discouraged enough early on to often consider returning home.
They now encourage new students to endure and not give up, because of the value of the seminary experience. They were also surprised by some of the fruit of the education process in their lives. Both husband and wife expressed that their time at ABTS shaped them in unexpected ways. “We didn’t only receive new knowledge,” Magi explained. “It was our perspective and way of thinking that changed. That surprised me.”
The curriculum, recently renovated to become more intentionally holistic, formed their critical thinking skills as well as broadening their ability to perceive other people through the eyes of God.
Before coming to Lebanon, Benyamin worked in the public sector and Magi had a career as a physiotherapist. They had both served faithfully in youth ministry, and had also spent a year ministering in Sudan. This ministry experience fulfilled an important criterion for acceptance to ABTS, which only admits students who are already active in ministry and come at the recommendation of their sending church.
As in any rich and truly transformative educational environment, relationships and interactions with faculty members at ABTS were crucial in Magi and Benyamin’s growth process. The seminary’s faculty, all of whom have achieved doctoral degrees or are candidates in doctoral programs, bring not only extensive academic, biblical, and theological knowledge, but vast ministry and leadership experience in the Arab World. Dr. Perry Shaw, who also serves as the seminary’s academic dean, taught a class on “Leadership Across Cultures” which Benyamin says helped him to see reality through the lens of Scripture. The class also equipped him to understand and communicate with different types of people in ways he had been unable to before.
Magi remembered a class on discipleship by Professor Mike Kuhn as particularly impactful. “I am both a follower and a leader at all times,” she said, reflecting on the class.
Magi and Benyamin ask for prayer for their family as they re-enter life in Egypt, which will be a different culture for their boys, now 7 and 3 ½, who have grown up in Lebanon. “Our main purpose is to serve God, whatever His will is,” they shared. Will you pray for their hearts’ desire, which is “to work for the Kingdom of God,” to be fulfilled as they begin this new chapter of life and ministry?