Monday, 22 August 2016

The Coming Semester

Time to stay true to my word and write another blog post.

The fall semester of Seminary will be starting in about a week. Also, this semester Miska has the added responsibility of being the Associated Student Body (ASB) president for 2016-2017. So I hear you ask what do the ASB do? Well here it is in a nutshell (as published in the ASB newsletter produced by the team):
  • Look after Spiritual welfare: Your ASB team leads in the reading of the Word and prayer for chapels on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. Additionally, each month, ASB chapels are held with guest speakers and special music.
  • Look after your Academic welfare: Your ASB officers act as a liaison between the faculty of the seminary and students. 
  • Look after your Social welfare: Your ASB provide organization of special events and fellowship opportunities. 
  • Look after your Physical welfare: Your ASB make the arrangements for moving assistance and fifty mile hikes (the 50 mile hikes were added by the Dean of Students so ASB is not responsible!)
As a team they identified the theme of the year which is, “Men of the Word. Men of Prayer.”

Here is another excerpt from the ASB newsletter explaining the reason why:
  • The new ASB theme for 2016-2017 will be “Men of the Word. Men of Prayer.” The purpose of this theme is to remind us as seminary students of the essential, but easily neglected spiritual disciplines, namely personal devotion in the Word of God and prayer. Striving to be men of the Word and prayer is a lifelong journey and struggle against sin and temptation in various forms. We all know that the Word and prayer need to be the focus of our personal lives, but it is good for us to be reminded and challenged to put that knowledge into action in our lives more and more. Lest you be tempted to think that times of personal devotion are something that you can simply leave to the side until you are done with seminary, be reminded of the statement that we hear often from the professors, “The man you are now in seminary is the man you will be when you’re done with seminary.” Brothers, let us strive to be: “Men of the Word and Men of Prayer.”
Miska will also be carrying on his paid employment for the Marketing Department of TMS. Miska, works around 15-20 hours a week, and throughout the semester will be likely working Monday and Friday, then attending classes Tuesday-Thursday. 

The other main responsibility Miska has throughout the semester is to our Bible study group, Miska and our our neighbour (a fellow Seminary student from England) co-lead the Glendale Bible Study group from our fellowship group Faithbuilders at Grace Community Church. Last year was the first year for the Bible Study and I really feel we have knitted together well as a group growing in accountability and fellowship. We have gone through the book 'Praying the Bible' (Don Whitney) and also been learning about the basics of Bible interpretation. The Bible study meetings are always a great time of discussion and learning. We meet twice a month on a Friday evening and it really is one of my favourite times of the month.

Also, of course, the biggest commitment Miska has is to his family. I can honestly say, that I was a little nervous at the start of seminary that I could be losing my husband to books and study and work for three years and that we would be reunited at the end. Happily this is not the case, and the seminary wouldn't even allow that to happen... since so much emphasis is put on taking care of your family first. Miska, has been great at balancing seminary/work/family life. Yes, there are times when seminary takes over as papers are due, but we are both good at planning time together to do family activites and also importantly to have time together just the two of us. Also there is always protected family time, when Miska gets home from seminary until Jeremiah goes to bed - these I am sure are Jeremiah's favourite times, always a smile and excitement when 'Daddy' comes home as it usually signals time for sword fighting/rough and tumble/silly dancing :-)

So, how about me (Alison), what will my semester look like? Firstly, I hope it will be me practically serving my husband as best as possible throughout the semester to lighten as much as the load as I can. Then of course to being a Mum to Jeremiah and raising him (with Miska) in a God honoring way.

As with the past few years, I plan to return to Every Women's Grace (EWG) on a Wednesday morning. This is a ladies Bible study which takes place over two hours. The first hour we meet in small groups and go over home work that we have completed throughout the week, there are five days of homework and the aim is to spend around 20-30mins a day going through the questions, as with anything, the more you put in it the more you get out of it. The second hour is teaching time, where the speaker concentrates on what we have been studying the past week, for me it is always a great conclusion to the weeks study and always said more eloquently than I could begin to say :-) Last year the focus was on God's redemptive plan through the Old Testament, this year we will continue with looking at God's redemptive plan through the New Testament. After the study there is the option to go to 'mindset for missions' which is where we have a potluck lunch and hear from Grace Church missionaries, either in person or via Skype, I love this time to hear about how God is working across the world. Jeremiah gets to be in Nursery the whole time, which he enjoys and is nicely tired out for his afternoon nap.
International Seminary Wives (Photo by Louise Essex)

This year, I will be returning to Seminary Wives, which meets on Wednesday evenings. This is a ministry for the wives of seminary students, we meet in small groups again and have speakers covering a wide variety topics related to being a seminary wife. last year, I missed this meeting as I undertook a Biblical Counselling course, this was so valuable, but I also missed seminary wives, and am glad that I will be returning.

I also, will continue to attend Women Walking Wisely, which is the women's ministry from our fellowship group Faithbuilders. Last year I was an assistant leader, which was a great opportunity for me, to be surrounded by older women who had been in this ministry for many years. I stepped down form being an assistant leader, due to being pregnant as I knew I would not be able to commit, come December when baby was due. Though I will still be going as a participant, this year we are studying Bruce Wares' book 'Father, Son and Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles and Relevance'. Again, we meet in groups at tables and also here teaching on the chapter we have read that month (Miska will be one of the speakers, next year). The meeting is once a month on a Monday evening.

I am also part of a prayer group of six ladies, we meet once a month to pray together and have fellowship. We continue to pray for one another in specific ways throughout the month. This is a wonderful opportunity again for me to be surrounded by ladies who are more mature in their faith and also for accountability.

Then, there is the opportunity to have sweet fellowship with friends. I continue to be blessed by the complex we live in, since there are 13 seminary families living within this one complex, by last count there are 9 different nationalities represented, 23 children under the age of 6 and 4 more on the way. We regularly meet on Tuesday mornings, mainly in the courtyard which as you can imagine with that many children can be noisy and busy, but it is a joy. Though we are often outside or at someones apartment, it is a sweet time in our lives to have so many Christ loving neighbours who are always willing and eager to help one another out and pray for one another. There is also, many opportunities to have fellowship with others from church or seminary. 

So, my post was a bit longer than I imagined, but I hope that gives a small picture to what our semester will look like. We will also begin turning our attention to our future back in Finland and start thinking and planning for this move, the last thing I want to do is leave it all to the last minute, as this would simply not work with two small children around.

Please feel free to get in contact by email (alison.wilhelmsson(at), I would love to hear from you, and I am certainly on a drive to stay in touch with people better.

  • Praise to God for providing all we need and more, throughout the past two years.
  • For Miska's studies this coming semester, in particular for time management.
  • For me (Alison) to be a good helper to my Husband.
  • For us both to be good parents to Jeremiah, prayer for wisdom in raising him in a God honouring way.
Until the next update,


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