Going Into All the World…During a Pandemic

The global pandemic, the concern for student safety, U.S. travel restrictions, and the ever-changing entry requirements where Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) courses are held, our Global Service-Learning programs for the spring 2020 semester were cancelled. The Nyack/ATS legacy of serving was not.

Dr. Christine Willard, a Nyack College School of Education professor, shared proof that God’s plans for our students would not be thwarted–not even by a pandemic. A grateful and globally engaged alumna wrote her from a creative access country, which requires that discretion be used in the excerpt of the email Dr. Willard received from her former student.

“My husband (an ATS graduate) and I found ourselves suddenly and unexpectedly stateside after six years of serving overseas as missionaries. In the time of waiting on the Lord about how to proceed next, I felt led to pursue an education degree online at Nyack. At the time, I wasn’t sure how God could use this and wondered if it was more for my personal ambition.

“Throughout my studies at Nyack, the faculty and staff would go above and beyond to help me with the different obstacles that came up as we welcomed another baby into the family, learned we were moving overseas again, and then discovered we’d be delayed because of COVID-19.

“We were supposed to leave late March, but that’s exactly when all the countries started locking down so we couldn’t leave as planned. Then in August we heard of an opportunity and possible job openings at an international school. It was actually started by co-op missionary moms and has grown to be officially recognized by the country and open to all nations in the last few years. We didn’t know this until the interview, but some at the school are also affiliated with Nyack College and ATS!

“Travelers from the U.S. were prohibited from entering _______ unless they had permanent residency or were natives of ________. It seemed like there was no way, until we thought to try to enter with a letter of invitation to work at the international school. Despite some trouble at the airports where we were told we could not board the plane, with the help of travel “angels” and people of peace to help us, we landed in ______ on October 26. We then completed a mandatory seven-day quarantine at a government designated hotel.

“The work position in these COVID times has proven so helpful. It gives us legitimacy to be here and we are so grateful to see these opportunities opened up to us.

“P.S. When we got to our quarantine hotel, I noticed someone else’s luggage sticker was on our luggage. And guess what the name was? Emmanuel. Indeed, God is always with us!”

This alumna’s story not only confirms the presence of Emmanuel, but affirms the mission of Nyack/ATS remains—to prepare men and women to take the whole Gospel to the whole world”…even during a pandemic.