Thirty flags line the walls of Mackay Dining Hall, only a fraction of the countries represented in the Princeton Seminary community. We sat down with some of our international students to hear their stories.
Clement Woods, a first-year student in the Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation (MACEF) program, says Princeton Seminary is preparing him to return to ministry at home in Liberia.
Q: Where is home?
A: Grand Kru, Liberia, my country, takes pride in the warm reception we give to visitors. The religious landscape has changed quite a bit in recent years. After the civil crisis ended in 2003, lots of Liberians were able to attend school freely; this education led to growth in many churches and produced lots of evangelists, elders, and pastors. But we have our share of problems, too. Liberia is currently facing economic instability and a low income rate.
Q: What drew you to Princeton Seminary? What has your experience here been like?
A: The most vital thing that drew my attention to Princeton Seminary is the qualified professors and their leadership skills. I definitely experienced culture shock when I arrived here, particularly with the food. The language barrier is also challenging, and I get homesick from time to time. But I’m really enjoying my time here at the Seminary. My favorite professor so far is Dr. Bo Karen Lee. I’ve really enjoyed her course on contemplative listening.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Before studying at the Seminary, I was serving Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, as the director of evangelism, mission, and community development. Among other things, I assigned local pastors to our preach points around the city, ministered in hospitals and prisons, coordinated hot meal services, and even did some early morning street preaching. I came to Princeton Seminary on a study leave of absence to improve my theological and evangelistic skills. Upon completion of my degree, I will return to my home country Liberia to continue my services.