Louisenie “Dezo” Desauguste is a second-year student at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Haiti is her homeland and where her heart finds home.
Dezo came to the U.S. with the intention of completing a medical degree and then returning to help her people. Then her pastor, Steve Jones, at First Baptist Church of Kansas City, Mo., introduced her to Central Seminary and President Molly T. Marshall.
“When I heard the call to enter seminary, I visited Central to explore and to talk to the president and a counselor,” Dezo said.
“Those conversations opened the door to a wider understanding of professional ministry beyond the pastorate, to engaging in entrepreneurial ministries.”
“I accepted the call, even though I was skeptical, because this seminary does not only prepare students to be pastors of churches but also to be entrepreneurs, chaplains and missional leaders,” she explained. “It was especially important to me that CBTS supports and invests in women to shape the church and to serve the world.”
Recently Dezo became burdened about other international students in her church.
“During my first semester in seminary, I took a missional church class,” she said. “This class has helped me to evaluate my church and to understand the ways we could do mission within and outside the walls. I knew from my own experience what the students were going through.”
Dezo recalled her own desire to understand and learn more about American culture. After an intentional time of prayer and discernment, she and her church decided to develop a summer program that would provide a better sense of community and allow new opportunities for cultural assimilation.
She was also aware that isolation and frustration were common among these students in the summer, when most could not travel home and classes were not in session. The church would provide a context for social interaction would help these students develop spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
Dezo related how it all came together:
“We planned and completed several different activities — Bible study; mission opportunities; weekly fellowship that included visiting local sights, restaurants, concerts, road trips, canoeing and camping. We shared cultural struggles, differences and understandings of Christianity.
“The students have become very close to me and to the church. Two of the students have joined our church as members. They feel at home; they feel included.”
Dezo went on to say about her seminary experience:
“I am doing my best to soak up all the spiritual wisdom and teaching that I am getting here so I can build the kingdom of God here on earth. Not only does the seminary give me the tools to be fruitful in my ministries, the professors support and work with me.
“I am grateful to Central; First Baptist; First Baptist, Lawrence, Kan.; and many other friends who have seen the gift of ministry in me and are providing financial support for me to go to Central as well as encouragement and prayers. Central is the right place for me to be. It fits well my dream for ministry.”
To learn more about Central Seminary, visit www.cbts.edu.
This is one of a seies of ministry impact articles that appeared in Word & Way. The section contains stories from organizations and institutions that were invited to share how they were impacting a life, a group or a community.