We have many inspiring young people at Stoke Newington SDA Church who are determined to make a positive impact in the world. Nicole Gooden is one such individual, she has sacrificed time and finances to follow her dreams. Her daily commute requires a 3-hour round trip (4 hours with traffic).
I managed to sit down with Nicole, a young, dynamic speaker who has decided to make a return to the classroom to pursue the qualifications to enable her to spread the gospel wherever she can. I asked her some questions about her decision and the experiences that have led her to this point and this is what she had to say.
1. What have you decided to study?
I am studying a Graduate Diploma in Theology, then I will be moving on to my Masters in Theology.
2. What or who has inspired you to take up this field of study?
This was a complete leading from God. In terms of studying, it was through speaking to my Uncle and a friend, that I got inspired to go deeper into my need to understand the word of God, to study Theology
3. How do you intend to give back to the Church once you have completed your studies?
This will be a complete leading from the Father. But, I want to be able to speak to people, in whatever capacity that is, with a full Theological background behind me. I have always been conscious that when I am speaking or teaching, that the words are factual and informed. I believe that these studies will help with that.
4. What would you say to young adults who are thinking of going into higher learning?
Learning in always a good thing, in whatever form you take that in. Always seek to expand your mind, learn new things, experience new activities. We as individuals are so multi-faceted, and we should not put ourselves in boxes, so when it comes to higher learning, go for it and expand your mind. This helps to lift your spirits and helps you to not see yourself as one-dimensional
5. What would you say are your motivating factors?
Presently, I am going through a period of being unfulfilled. But when I work for God, I am so much more happy and calm and fulfilled. That is motivating me to move forward. I have yet to find anything that tops this feeling.
6. When your studies are complete, where do you see yourself in, say, 5 years?
The short answer to that question is – I don’t know. What I am doing now, was never something that I sat down and planned. Where I am currently in my life, is certainly not something that I foresaw for myself and what I want to be doing. And so, a more detailed answer to that question is, I will wait to see what God has in store. I am fully at His disposal.
7. Now that you have started your course of study, how are you finding the work / study balancing act?
I find that it is exactly that – a balancing act. I have to be diligent in my 9-5, so I cannot let that fall by the way same. and while doing that, I have to sustain studying full time. Newbold is incredibly flexible, I only have classes 3 days per week – 2 days I join the live classes on line, from my desk at work – listening and taking notes, while still trying to completing my daily to-do list – has proofed quite interesting. Once per week I am able to physically go to campus, which sounds straight forward, but it is a one and a half hour drive (50 miles – each way). so that means I have to properly plan in advance to cover the school run. when I return home, I have to cover my 9 – 5 workload. as I said, its been interesting. Only time will prove, if I am able to sustain this.
8. You are always smiling, with some much studying, work and home life how do you maintain such a positive attitude.
Thank you. I describe myself as a duck on water – you only see how he smoothly glides on the water, you never see what he’s doing to keep afloat. My heated conversations are left for God. He is also right beside me, so I talk with Him about what I am doing.
9. I have seen you on the tube reading a Greek text book, how are you finding these new subjects and how do they relate to your course of study?
Greek, what can I say about Greek. It’s been a pleasure to learn a new language. Funnily enough, modern Greek is not exactly like the New Testament Greek. It has been an eye opener to read the Scriptures in one of its original forms. It’s also been fascinating to see the transliterations to English over the years. This is what really excites me – you get to see the Bible in its original form – what do these words truly mean.
10. How can someone make a donation to make your dreams a reality?
I want to thank everyone, who has contributed, not only financially, but through prayer. I am in need to prayer so much, as this journey is not easy and intercessory prayer is amazing and most appreciated. In terms of financially, I have a Just Giving Crowd Funding Page and I have also made envelope available for those who do not have access to the internet, which has worked well.
I have also put together some envelopes which are located at the entrance of the church (Stoke Newington SDA Church) and I have also put together a crowd-funding page for those who wish to contribute this way –
Most of all, I am taking prayer donations. I need full covering, as I know the enemy, does like to see when you step out in faith.
Thanks Nicole, I want to encourage you to give to make Nicole’s dream a reality. I would like to encourage those who want to follow Nicole’s example; there is nothing that is impossible for God and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.