Stay-at-home Mom Excels at Seminary and Beyond
By Nicole J. Johnson
Submitted: January 2010
As a wife, stay-at-home mom, women’s conference speaker, Sunday school teacher, foreign language tutor and freelance writer, Laura Hunt already had a full plate when she noticed a Women in the Word (WiTW) conference poster hanging on the wall at her church. When she learned that the Michigan Theological Seminary (MTS), now Moody Theological Seminary–Michigan, was sponsoring the conference, Laura became intrigued with the possibility of attending seminary. She decided to attend the March 2004 conference hoping to discover if God had, indeed, called her to attend seminary.
Laura recalls writing three objections to going back to school in her journal. The first: “I’m already ministering to women. If I go to school, I may have to cut back on some of the ministry that’s happening now.” Secondly, “I can’t go back to school just because it would be fun or just because I’d like some letters after my name. There has to be a more practical reason than that.” And lastly, she penned these thoughts: “What if I go (to seminary), and I still don’t end up with answers? There seem to be plenty of issues where scholars disagree. It would be a waste of time to go to school only to come out with more questions.”
As she attended the various workshops at the conference, Laura’s objections began to wane and incentives for attending seminary began to emerge. “In my speaking and writing, I had been nervous about making passages fit my agenda. The only way to fix that was to get the education I needed to accurately handle the Word of God,” she said. One of the workshop speakers taught on the story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38 ff.), and emphasized the value of studying and learning at Jesus’ feet. With this illustration, Laura said that “God was reassuring me that it was okay to get out of the kitchen for a while and go study.” To top it all off, as Laura sat in the last workshop of the day, the speaker just happened to walk over to Laura’s side of the room and said, “You don’t go to seminary because you’re going to get all the answers. You go to seminary because in searching for the answers, you find the food to feed the hungry people who come to you every day.”
“It was amazing to me that God gave me such specific answers to my questions,” Laura recalls. With her objections settled, Laura contacted the Admissions Office at MTS to inquire about the requirements for the Bachelor of Religious Education (B.R.E.) degree completion program, which was discontinued in 2008. More confirmation came when Laura was informed that she needed 60 credits to enter the B.R.E. program. She had a combined 61 credits from the three schools she had previously attended.
An exceptional student, Laura entered the B.R.E. program in the fall of 2004 with a 4.0 G.P.A., and later began the pre-seminary track, which allowed her to apply course credits toward the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) degree. She maintained her 4.0 average throughout her studies, and graduated summa cum laude in 2007 with a B.R.E. degree and in May 2009 with a M.T.S. degree. In March of 2007, Laura wrote a paper titled But What Does It Mean? Interpretations of Genesis 3:16, for which she won an undergraduate student paper competition that was sponsored by the Midwest Region of the Evangelical Theological Society. She also has been published in several scholarly journals.
Laura’s accomplishments were recognized at the 2009 commencement exercises when the MTS faculty presented her (along with Matt Minard, M.Div.) the Faculty Award in Biblical Studies. This honor is awarded annually to the “…graduating M.Div. or M.T.S. student who has done the most outstanding work in biblical literature and language during his or her studies at MTS.” While a student at MTS, Laura co-founded Sisters in Training (S.I.T), which ministers to the needs of women at the seminary; served on the planning committee and as the prayer coordinator for the 2008 WiTW conference; worked as a library assistant at the seminary until 2008, and tutored MTS Greek students.
Now that she has graduated from MTS, Laura continues to home-school two of her children, Josh (15) and Beth (14). She also is a conference ministerial candidate at her church, where she teaches adult Sunday school classes and has served on the Women’s Retreat Planning Committee. Laura speaks at women’s conferences throughout metro Detroit; works as a Latin and French tutor, and is a New Testament Greek teaching assistant at MTS. In addition to studying biblical languages, Laura became fluent in French and studied Dutch and classical Latin as an elementary and high school student in Belgium.
When asked what the secret of her success is, Laura replied, “The secret of my success? Don’t even think about success – follow Jesus!”
Laura lives in Milan with her husband, Doug. They have five children: Tye, Brean, Kevin, Josh and Beth.