Jeremy King - English and Intercultural Studies
A series of signs guided Jeremy King to Southeastern, and to his calling to missions.
The first sign came as he decided which of seven Christian universities to attend. King's choice became clear when he asked the pastor and associate pastor of his church in Cincinnati, Ohio-Montgomery Assembly of God-for direction. He learned they both graduated from Southeastern.
King experienced another sign-his desire to major in chruch ministries- during the summer after his first year at Southeastern. He volunteered at an Apache reservation in Bylas, Arizona, for three months in 2000. King knew he had a lot of Native American ancestry, but he had never researched the community from which he descended. Upon arriving in Arizona, Kind was amazed to find himself living among the tribe of his ancestors. It was then that he felt called to share Christ with people of other cultures.
During his time at Southeastern, King worked tirelessly, juggling two jobs to get through college. In his free time, he worked for Peace Presbyterian, an organization in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, that develops new churches. After graduation, King accepted a position teaching English in Taiwan. King, affectionately called "Teacher Jeremy," was moved by the enthusiasm of even his poorest students. He co-hosted Bible studies on Sunday nights and taught about Christmas and Easter.
King says tips from Southeastern professors helped him in Taiwan. Lessons from his adolescent literature class inspired him to help students develop a love of learning and not merely the ambition to earn high grades.
When King's English lessons didn't translate well, he e-mailed his friend and former professor, Dr. Rickey Cotton. Dr. Cotton, who taught Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, advised King to teach his students in their native tongue. For instance, it's easier to explain the English "r" sound by comparing it to "ren," the Taiwanese word for "people."
King's e-mail exchange with Dr. Cotton made him remember times at Southeastern when he and others would visit Dr. Cotton under a large tree on campus. King and a group of classmates would gather there after chapel to share opinions. King credits these informal meetings with teaching him about community development, which is consistent with his mission to love people in a proactive way. For example, when he worked abroad, King enjoyed solving problems with village officials, such as getting clean water after a supply had been contaminated.
King's next mission will involve serving in central China with International Development & Educational Associates (IDEAS), a Denver, Colorado-based organization. King plans to join its community development mission after two years of studying Mandarin Chinese.
King was inspired to pursue missions after reading works assigned by Southeastern Religion Professor Dr. Terris Neuman. Writings by Christian community developer and civil rights leader John Perkins and the Rev. George Peterson, a pastor, gave King the idea to become what he calls a "personable leader." He wants to be on a first-name basis with the members of each community he touches.