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- Trish Bates
Master of Arts, Intercultural Studies, 1996, Columbia International University
Bishop, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
God’s work counts for eternity.
When I saw this inscription on the campus of Columbia International University, I knew it was where God wanted me. I wanted to invest my life in something of eternal value.
I started full-time ministry in my home country of Nigeria at age 19. I was ordained, became an assistant priest, and watched our church grow tremendously. But I was exhausted. I was pouring myself into many different ministries – church planting, discipleship, evangelism, and many other commitments. I knew I needed to be trained to train others who could assist in the work I was doing.
That’s when I began looking for a seminary in the United States, and after visiting CIU, I knew it was the place for me. CIU really gave me a heart for God. The instruction I received touched me at a deep level and professors who invested in me played a foundational role in shaping who I am today.
I left CIU with a heart for the unreached people in Nigeria. As a bishop of the Church of Nigeria, I have the opportunity to train leaders, ordain clergy, and send missionaries. Over 40 churches have been planted as God has multiplied the ministry He entrusted to me.
God is doing amazing things in Nigeria, even in the midst of strife. Governmental issues, political unrest, and Muslim fundamentalists all cause problems for the Church. It is difficult not to retaliate, but God has reminded me of the responsibility I have to love my enemies, and He is using me to challenge other Christians to do the same.
Although ethnic tensions are a problem in Nigeria, the dividing wall of hostility has been destroyed by Jesus. Christians are citizens of heaven and united, despite ethnicity. And we must love everyone – even those who persecute us. Our attitude must be shaped by our identity as strangers in the world.
Although challenges continue, the Church in Nigeria is growing rapidly, and I am blessed to be part of it. Glory to God for what He is doing in Nigeria and thanks to CIU for equipping me for work of eternal significance.
This graduate of Columbia International University is like 17,000 other alumni around the world making an impact every day. If you want an undergraduate, graduate or seminary education that equips you to make a real difference, we need to meet.