MTS–Michigan Community Supports Father, Daughter Success
Submitted: August 2010
Kristen Ramirez, who earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with high honors this spring, continued the family Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan legacy that her father, Richard, began when he earned his Master of Divinity in 2003. Both Richard and Kristen are thankful for a supportive MTS–Michigan community that helped them succeed academically as they dealt with life challenges.
Kristen saw this support demonstrated as she faced the challenges of being a student with cerebral palsy. For example, when she had to miss classes to pick up a new service dog out of state, her professors worked with her so she could still complete her assignments. “The faculty extends grace to us as students. They have high expectations of us academically, but they also understand that being at MTS is only part of our lives,” Kristen says.
Richard also received much encouragement and support from various members of the MTS community when he was a parttime student with challenging work demands. His typical 14-hour workday as a U.S. postal inspector became even more demanding after the September 11, 2001 attacks, anthrax investigation, and various bomb scares.
“I was on call 24/7,” he says. “I was going to school two nights a week, and sometimes my pager would go off in the middle of class, and I would have to leave.” Exhausted, Richard sought the Lord about whether he should continue as a student with his demanding work life. “Prayer became a major part of my life,” he says. “And miraculously, even though I remained just as busy, there was a renewed strength. I don’t know how He fit an extra 4 or 5 hours into each day, but He did.”
Richard says the supportive faculty helped him persevere through this difficult time. “I really think if it wasn’t for professor Mayhew’s encouragement, I would have dropped out,” he says.“And Dr. Jelinek helped me to realize that, especially at my age—I was in my early 50s at the time—I was not there to get straight As, but to learn to convey God’s Word to others.”
The hard work and the subsequent degrees enabled both Richard and Kristen to pursue careers that reflect their ministry callings. Richard serves as Director of Corporate Security for SEND International, providing training, security, and biblical encouragement for missionaries and their families, and Kristen is now counseling at a private practice in Ypsilanti with another MTS–Michigan alumna.
“It is a joy to see my daughter pursuing her desire to help women and children, with her heart of service and compassion,” Richard says. “And it is a joy for me, after 32 years in law enforcement, to be able to assist the missions community and help further the work of the kingdom worldwide.”