Michael Bent, a 2019 Nyack School of Music alumnus and instrumental performance major, is among the many graduates who embody the Nyack mission of preparing and empowering men and women for lives of service to Christ and His Church and to society. Despite the obstacles presented by the global pandemic, Michael persevered to pursue his dream to serve abroad.
When he shares the scripture—“God, you have tested us. You have purified us like silver. You let us be trapped. You put a heavy load on us. You let our enemies walk on our heads. We went through fire and flood. But you brought us to a place with good things” (Psalm 66:10-12, ICB)—it’s a page straight out of his chapter 2021.
“On my way to Thailand, a miracle happened that let me experience that God is always with me. I left home heading to Bangkok, Thailand with a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. I arrived with several hours between my flights believing that everything was according to plan. I caught up on sleep, ate some food, and prepared for the next part of my journey. When it came time to board the plane, however, I discovered that I was missing a critical piece of documentation that I was required to have, or I would not be allowed into Thailand. The Certificate of Entry (C.O.E.) document was necessary, but I did not receive it from the Thai embassy before leaving the United States, nor was I informed that it would be required. The staff at the Frankfurt airport would not allow me to fly without that document.”
Suddenly, his 10-hour layover turned into a 5-day sleepover at the airport.
After assuring his family and friends that he was safe and sound and asking for their prayers, he phoned his missions team at the Institute of Young Musicians for Christ (IYMC). A first sign of answered prayer was the convenience of a hotel being on the grounds of the airport, where he could have the C.O.E. sent to him.
“The miracle happened when I was trying to figure out how I was going to cover the expenses of being stuck in Germany. I did not know how I was going to pay for the nights I spent at the hotel. The next day, I received an early morning call from the Executive Director of IYMC Daniel Cerna, who told me that someone had randomly donated $2,000 for my trip to Thailand.”
“Those funds were more than enough to cover my hotel stay and gave me extra time to find the C.O.E. document without being worried about financial coverage. My faith in God was restored as He proved Himself to have everything under control. I was able to receive help from the German embassies in Berlin and Frankfurt and finally had the C.O.E. document in hand. After so many rejections, setbacks, and obstacles, God saw me through them all.”
“Before I arrived in Thailand, my daily schedule had a set routine. Work, school, teach cello lessons, and practicing my repertoire were pretty much my activities. However, it was not until I decided to serve as a missionary that my daily schedule would change very unexpectedly. Recently, my day-to-day schedule in Thailand consists mostly of online teaching at Khon Kaen International School (KKIS), where I teach language arts and reading classes for Grades 1-3 and 6. In addition, I teach in person cello lessons at Peace Music Academy (PMA), and online cello lessons with my private students. I was not always teaching online, but ever since the new wave of COVID-19 struck the province of Khon Kaen, schools have been closed for over a month. This lockdown had its ups and downs, but in the end, I was able to adjust to all the sudden changes that came my way. I say this not in my power or strength, but in the name of Jesus Christ, who gives me the power and strength to overcome all my daily battles.”
Scriptures like Psalm 32:8 or Psalm 34:19 constantly comfort Michael.
He says, “Over these past several months, I have had many struggles along the way, but time and time again, I have seen God’s hand guiding me throughout my journey, and after each struggle, a victory is won, and my faith is strengthened.”