Greetings! Vanessa and I have just entered into the world of blogging (who would have thought!). We pray this blog will be a means for us to share what God has done and is doing in our lives. We desire that all who read will “stop and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14) which he has so clearly manifest throughout our relationship, and which we expect him to continue to manifest throughout our lives.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Concerning Our Future (Update) - 1/17/13

Hello Everyone,
It's been a while since we have given an update on our plans. In the last email I sent we asked for prayer concerning my acceptance at Hebrew University in Israel. Long story short, God closed that door (they would not accept me because neither of my degrees are accredited according to their standards). After we found this out, I emailed everyone I knew who worked for the Biblical Language Center (where Vanessa and I studied in Israel two summers ago), asking for any ideas on how I might best be equipped to teach the biblical languages communicatively. A week later I received an email from one of them who I have gotten to know the past three years at the ETS conferences I've gone to. His name is Brian Schultz and he teaches at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California. He suggested coming to FPU to study Ancient Languages and Second Language Acquisition through their Individualized Master of Arts Program (IMAP). He also mentioned that I would be able to help them in their Hebrew classes, tutor students, help develop curriculum, and help with a teacher's manual that he's working on. This would give me not only more training with the languages (along with an accredited degree), but also the opportunity to put into practice what I've already been equipped with, which I feel is much needed after so many years of education already.

Both Vanessa and I have felt a peace about this opportunity that neither of us felt as we pursued the Israel option. We've prayed a lot about it, and it seems very "right" to us (as well as to those we've talked to about it). We are still waiting to hear back from Brian Schultz concerning the details of the degree and other information that may influence our final decision. But at this point, if God sees fit, we plan to move to California this summer and begin the degree next Fall. Please pray for the following:

1) That we would hear back from Brian Schultz so we could continue with the application process.
2) If God opens this door, that he would orchestrate all the details involved in the transition, including moving, finances, finding a home, finding a church (this is something we are praying about in particular. Leaving Bethlehem and everyone we know here is not going to be easy, so we pray that God would provide a solid church where we could thrive, use our gifts, have close friends, be fed, serve, etc.)
3) That God would keep our family united and dependent on him during this period of "uncertainty."

We welcome any counsel or questions, since God's wisdom most often comes through the Body.

We are grateful for your prayers,
Scott and Vanessa

Concerning Our Future (Update) - 12/4/12

Since the Last update, I received word that Rothberg would not accept me because I do not have a regionally accredited BA and my M.Div is not accredited at all. I sent this email out to those who work with the Biblical Language Center, asking for advice on how to be equipped to do what they do.

Shalom BLC Crew, 
I have talked with most of you individually about the possibility of my family going to Israel to continue studying Hebrew. I graduate this May from seminary and we feel that this would be the best next step in my preparation. I planned to pursue a master's degree at Rothberg in Jerusalem as a means of learning Hebrew and continuing my education. However (I talked with Brian and Randall about this at ETS), I have been in contact with the admissions office at Rothberg, and they will not accept either my undergraduate degree nor my masters of divinity, since neither are regionally accredited. 
That being said, I am back to square one. Do any of you know of universities or schools in Israel that might accept a student like me into a masters program? Or would you recommend (as Randall has) to apply for a BA at Hebrew University? Rachel, didn't you do your BA in classics at Hebrew U, and if so, how was that? Or are there any schools in the states that would sufficiently equip me in Hebrew (i.e., in order to teach it communicatively)? Any thoughts would be appreciated. 

Three days later, I got this replay from Brian Schultz, who teaches at Fresno Pacific University and is the son-in-law of the founder of BLC.

I have an idea that came to me recently that I thought I should pass on. FPU offers an Independent MA program (IMPA) in which you can piece together an MA (in other words, there is no set program you have to follow).  I wondered if they would accept you for it, even give you a year of graduate credit, so you would only have a year left that you would have to take here.  My idea was that if you were open to that, you could come here, and part of your MA would be helping with the Hebrew program here: teaching, tutoring, help with the Teacher's manual I am writing, help developing new materials for teaching, help with assessment, etc. 
The MA could be in ancient languages, and possibly also in Second Language acquisition.  Alternatively, you could take other Bible courses that interest you (we have a few good scholars here you might be interested in sitting in on their specialty courses). 
The idea is to get you an accredited MA as quickly as possible, while also enabling you to build on Communicative Language Teaching experience in a way you could not do anywhere else.  (Basically, you would be working with me and Rachel [my wife] on the Hebrew side of things.) 
These are the basics.  I can flesh it out more if it peaks your interest. 

This email (looking back now) would change the direction we were heading. The day we received it, Vanessa and I read it apart from each other, but both knew that this was the next step for us!

Concerning Our Future (Update) - 11/13/12

Hello again,
I wanted to give you all an update since my last email (for those who didn't receive the first email, I copied it below). Vanessa and I are seeing God put pieces together and perhaps giving us direction for next year. First, we decided to pursue a masters degree at Rothberg International University in Jerusalem and see if God opens the doors. I will most likely be applying shortly.

Second, while we were in Israel two summers ago, we heard of a place called Home for Bible Translators. They are located just outside Jerusalem. It is a ministry started by a Finnish couple (I think) where they take around 10 national translators from around the world to Jerusalem to study Hebrew, the Jewish culture, and the Bible for six months in order to make them better translators. Since we heard of it that summer, two other people I have "randomly" met have asked if we know about that ministry and saying nothing but good things about it. After looking on their website, it seems to Vanessa and I that this is right up our alley. It would perhaps be something we could both be involved with (volunteering) while we are in Israel and it would be a "safe home" for Vanessa and Moriyah while I'm at class, not to mention give her something to do :-) I have not contacted them, though, so you can pray that that might be a good opportunity.

Thirdly, I am leaving this week (actually, 10 minutes––yikes!) to go Milwaukee for the annual Evangelical Theological Society conference. Two years ago at this meeting is where this whole "Hebrew teaching thing" got started. I will be meeting with Randall Buth (the man who started the school we were at in Israel) to discuss our plans for going to Israel and whether or not I could potentially be involved at their school for those couple years. Please pray for this meeting (Thursday afternoon)!

In short, God seems to be moving. Thank you for those who have been praying for us. We will keep you posted.

Scott and Vanessa McQuinn

Concerning Our Future (Update) - 10/22/12

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm writing to you all because, in one way or another, you have played a big part in both Vanessa's life and mine. I wish we could have done a better job in keeping up with many of you, but we wanted to at least inform you where we are at right now.

As you may or may not know, this is my fourth and final year at Bethlehem College and Seminary. A lot has changed over these three and a half years. I moved to Minneapolis as a single man and I will be leaving with a wife and daughter! I am unbelievably grateful for both of them! But it has been an amazing spiritual journey as well. God has met us here and shown us more of Jesus than we ever knew, and he has given us a greater love for his Word and a desire to teach it to others.

Two passions in particular have blossomed in me the past few years. First, as I have become more aware of the massive need for theological education among pastors around the world, my heart has been inclined to move overseas and play even a small part in building God's kingdom where his name is not known.

The second passion is the study of the Hebrew language (also Greek, but especially Hebrew). The summer Vanessa and I spent in Israel studying Hebrew changed the trajectory of our life. I benefitted immensely from learning Hebrew the way they taught it there (i.e., communicatively, like any other spoken language), though I already had years of experience with the language before we went (i.e., by learning it in college and seminary from grammar books). There is a real need for more teachers to be trained with this method of language learning, and thus more students and pastors around the world equipped with the biblical languages. I believe God has given me the vision and desire to play a part in this process. I have been using this method to teach Hebrew in our church's institute the past two years and have absolutely loved it (so have the students)! This has only fueled the desire in me.

As Vanessa and I look toward the future, we are uncertain how and where God is going to use us. Both of us have had a desire to advance God's kingdom overseas. The big question we have been wrestling with is how will these pieces fit together (i.e., theological education overseas and teaching Biblical languages)? There may be other possibilities that we have never considered, but from our limited perspective these seem to be the contexts that fit our gifts and desires:
    (1) Teach in a seminary or college in the US and regularly take trips overseas to teach pastors (there are many ministries that lead these kinds of trips).    
    (2) Teach pastors overseas, probably in a seminary where it is more likely that I could teach the Biblical languages. (These two possibilities are not necessary mutually exclusive)

That being said, we have been seriously praying about returning to Israel after I graduate for an extended amount of time (~2 years) where I would study at Hebrew University and learn both Biblical languages well (through the communicative language learning method). At that point, Lord willing, I would be equipped with the tools to teach the biblical languages in a communicative manner. This is a massive decision, and it raises all sorts of other questions, but we are trying to trust God one step at a time. Some of you are already overseas and some are stateside, so you all have different perspectives on where these particular gifts might fit. We would love your input!

Please join Vanessa and I as we pray about all of this. We are confident that God has influenced us the way he has, giving us both gifts and desires that he will use for his kingdom purposes. We will try to keep you up to date with where we are at in this process. We are grateful for you all and are blessed to know that many of you pray for us regularly.

With love,
Scott and Vanessa