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This month we would like to introduce Iwan Baaman, a second-year student in the Master of Divinity program from Germany. When he's not studying, he enjoys reading novels, playing soccer, running, and surfing. In the interview below, he discusses his experiences at WSC thus far as well as shares insights gained from his internship experience in Canada this past summer.
Iwan, why did you choose to attend WSC?
I was looking for a seminary that was both academically rigorous and confessionally Reformed. In the US, as opposed to Germany, you have a number of good seminaries that would fit those criteria. In the end, the choice for WSC was not too difficult, and I was persuaded by its confessional Reformed commitments, faculty, emphasis on the original languages, denominational diversity among faculty and students, and vibrancy of the environment. I wanted a school that would teach me to know and love God's Word.
What is one of your favorite WSC experiences thus far?
I love being able to get together with my friends and just talk about school and what is happening in our lives. I'm very thankful for the community here.
This past summer you were able to gain internship experience in Canada. Could you share with us where you interned and a brief synopsis of your responsibilities in that role?
I interned at the Orthodox Reformed Church of Edmonton (United Reformed Churches in North America) in Alberta. Since I'm a member of Escondido URC, I wanted to do my internship at a URC and was able to get connected with Rev. Bill Pols in Edmonton. And the fact that the church was in Canada was all the more interesting - once you are an international student, you might as well go to a different country for the summer! I was looking for an internship that would give me a good taste of pastoral ministry. So in Canada, I was able to preach ten times in Edmonton and once in Ponoka, about half-way between Edmonton and Calgary. I also got to do some home visitations – to find out more about a family's or person's situation, have a brief devotional, pray, and point them to Christ, our glorious Savior. And finally, one of the elders in Edmonton, Pete Wright, held an evangelistic "Soup and Study" for young people, where I got to teach for Pete one week. Most of these teenagers were not believers and it was an incredible opportunity to speak to them about salvation in Christ.
What did your internship experiences cause you to appreciate about your education thus far at WSC?
Quite a few things. The internship made me appreciate my training in Greek and Hebrew. The sermons that the people in Edmonton seemed to appreciate the most were my two sermons on Jonah, the book that I had just studied with Prof. Van Ee in Hebrew III. The same was true for my New Testament sermons. The more time I spent understanding the Greek, the better were my sermons. In Pentateuch, Dr. Estelle helped me love and understand the first chapters of Genesis better. By the end of the summer, I'd lost count how many times I referred in my sermons to "the garden" to make sense of what God has revealed about Himself, his covenant with Adam (and what that means for the covenant of redemption), man, sin, salvation, etc. And I was very thankful for Dr. Johnson's and Dr. Hywel Jones's love for God's people and pastoral ministry in my Ministry of the Word class. I could go on, but these are some of the things that stood out particularly. Oh yes, and the summer made me eager to come back to WSC for more!
What do you plan to do after you graduate from WSC?
I hope to go into pastoral ministry, whether that will be somewhere in North America, Europe, or elsewhere in the world. I want to preach Christ to God's people and unbelievers alike, wherever God will open the door.