Faith and International Development Conference at Calvin College – Seth Betteridge

March 17th, 2014

Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to go to the Faith and International Development Conference at Calvin College. The theme of the conference was “Cultivating Community: A Right To Belong.” After a long 9 hour drive leaving at 6:30 AM it was exciting to finally reach our destination of Michigan. There were five of us who traveled from Messiah College. The conference was broken up with devotional speakers. key note speakers and break out sessions. The first key noteĀ  speaker of the conference was Dr. Brian Fikkert. Dr. Fikkert is the co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself. He is also an economist and spoke about the economic work he has done. He is a very intelligent man, with a PH.D. in Economics with highest honors from Yale University. This point he made though stuck with me throughout the conference, “What is the secret to development work?” “It’s God! God needs to show up and perform a miracle.” Dr. Fikkert has a plethora of knowledge and life experience, but he didn’t rattle off numerous answers about how he did this or this. He understands that it is God working through and in the situations that transforms situations and lives.
God has plans for each of us. Being at this conference it has quickened my desire to continue to pursue God wholeheartedly and seek what His plan is for my life and beyond Messiah College. Before coming to this conference I had thought about international development work and since this conference I have felt a greater desire to do mission work. The exact details or timing I still have no inkling of, but God will reveal the time and place. If it was up to me I would work in industry for the next three years and then while still working start taking online or night classes for a MBA, a Masters in International Development or a Masters in Economic Development. Once I finish my masters I would work for a few more years and then start looking for opportunities to apply my masters internationally or locally. At Messiah College there is a service organization called, the Collaboratory. Collaboratory. This organization works on projects world-wide, helping people in need in many different aspects of life. Being able to be a part of an organization like that, where I have a base of operations in the US, but still get to travel internationally would be an amazing opportunity.
There is much to think about and continue to be in prayer about, but I know God has an awesome plan and I am excited to see what the next step of life entails.

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