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Tim Gaster

Bachelor of Arts, Youth Ministry, 2008, Columbia International University

Residence Life Staff

Black Forest Academy

Kandern, Germany

Since I graduated from Columbia International University, I have served on two continents, visited and worked alongside missionaries in 17 countries, and I’m always seeking new opportunities to pour out the love of the Lord.

Attending CIU was a big step for me. I come from a broken home. Hoping to be involved in ministry, I was the first in my family to pursue a degree at a Christian school. Throughout my time at CIU, I was making plans to serve in the American church. I specifically remember saying, “I’m never going to be a missionary; that’s not my calling.”  Although I sensed God’s call to cross-cultural missions, I graduated and pursued a position in a local church. When that opportunity fell through, I learned that hiding from God is not an option. 

One week after graduation, I was offered a position at Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany. Remembering my vow never to be a missionary, I agreed apprehensively, and was on a plane six weeks later. I lived in Kandern for two years, serving as a resident assistant in a school for missionary kids. Part of a team of five adults, I was supervising 30 high school students from Africa, Korea, the Middle East, and various European countries. God used this experience to further soften my heart toward His global purpose, as He gave me opportunity to visit the students’ missionary parents all over Europe. 

Through the trials and challenges I faced in my first two years of ministry, I learned to trust God – the God who does not abandon the work of His hands (Psalm 138:8). One experience that quickly taught me to trust God was when I felt Him calling me away from Black Forest to a similar school in South Korea. I knew God was leading me to serve in the dormitories filled primarily with non-Christian students at Taejon Christian International School. As I transitioned from Europe to Asia, I was able to reflect on the Lord’s work in and through me. I’m not a pastor, church planter, or Bible translator; I don’t have a fancy title. Instead, I’m an older brother to 30 young men, and my prayer is that they will follow Christ’s footsteps.

I pray that God will use me here to make an eternal impact for His kingdom. I don’t know where God will lead me in the future, but I can honestly say that I am willing to follow Him wherever He leads. And that’s a big statement from someone who claimed he would never be a missionary.

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