From the Dominican Republic to Dallas: How one M.Div. student is passionately pursuing the Great Commission
Lauren Pratt | December 13, 2018
It started with a prayer.
In his home country of the Dominican Republic, Moises Gomez and his pastor asked the Lord to provide a way for Gomez to be equipped for full-time ministry.
“I think we should pray and see God respond in this prayer,” Gomez recounted his pastor telling him.
While serving as a youth pastor in 2014, he had a burning desire to be better equipped to serve the church. This passion and zeal are the heartbeat of why he pursued theological education in the first place.
Two weeks later the phone rang, and Edgar Aponte was on the other end. Aponte was Southeastern’s director of Hispanic Leadership Development at the time (now the International Mission Board’s vice president of mobilization) and he offered for Gomez to pursue theological education under the Kingdom Diversity Scholarship. After a campus visit, growing financial support and many other doors the Lord opened, Gomez and his family decided to move to Wake Forest on December 29, 2015. The following spring semester, Gomez began his Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry.
Through his two and a half years at SEBTS, he is being sent out with a richer theological base, a Great Commission focus and what he considers a “well-balanced” M.Div.
SEBTS embodies a “special flavor,” as Gomez puts it. This flavor is one in which he has experienced deep relationships with his professors and has been challenged through their teaching and lifestyle.
“One of the reasons I love to be here is I have found that my knowledge in theology has been increased, and my heart has been encouraged through the way professors have been teaching and leading,” said Gomez.
As a husband and father of two, time can be one of the biggest challenges in balancing school, family and work. However, Gomez and his wife have chosen to make family a priority during this time they consider an “oasis” from the grind of ministry in the Dominican Republic.
Gomez has tailored his schedule to reflect this prioritization. During the day he goes to class, goes to work and studies at the library. However, once he arrives at the apartment, the books go away, and he focuses on family.
“I have found that another person could be a better pastor or a better student than me, but in my house there’s no other person who would do something in a way that I could do it,” said Gomez, who explained that he and his wife also plan movie nights and other nights out together as well.
While time management can be challenging, the community at SEBTS lends itself to being family-oriented, said Gomez’s wife, Betsy, who is also a student at SEBTS pursuing her Master of Arts in Ministry to Women.
“The challenge is more to choose well in what we are investing our time in, being faithful to the Lord and not trading our family for our studies,” she said.
Gomez has been particularly impacted by the Great Commission focus within the classroom, specifically with the expectation in many of his classes to share the gospel during the semester. While evangelism reports are to be expected in missions and evangelism classes, Gomez remembers being held accountable for this even in courses like Bible exposition, church history and Old Testament survey.
“I can testify as an international student, coming from a different background, who is pursuing to be equipped, that the seminary intentionally fulfills and achieves what we have in our mission,” said Gomez, who saw this firsthand through his work as a recruiter for Southeastern’s Hispanic Leadership Development office.
Gomez and his wife do not just talk about serving the church while in school, they passionately pursue it. Gomez has the opportunity to preach in various cities across the country, including New York City, Miami, Raleigh-Durham and Orlando. At his home church, Imago Dei, he has led the Hispanic Initiative for a year and a half. The gathering consists of about 40 Hispanic congregants and 20 kids coming together once a month for a time of teaching and fellowship in their own language.
Betsy likewise serves through Revive Our Hearts, a ministry led by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth that seeks to equip women to thrive in their identity in Christ through providing resources through radio shows, events and blogs. In her work with this ministry, Betsy teaches throughout Latin America and manages the media team and blog for Hispanic women.
Her classes and professors have played a vital role in her ministerial work as well.
“I remember having a speaking engagement in Mexico and sitting with a professor asking him if he thought that what I was going to teach was proper for that time,” she recounted. “I have felt like the companion of the professors, and I’ve seen the investment and how that has been fruitful.”
While the couple has spent countless hours studying, ministering to others and raising their kids in Wake Forest, the next step in the journey is just as exciting as the previous one.
As Gomez looks back on his time at SEBTS with great fondness, what began as a prayer four years ago is becoming a reality. At the beginning of December, Gomez received his M.Div in Christian ministry. At the end of December, he and his family will be moving to Dallas, Texas to pursue full-time ministry. In his new role as one of the pastors on staff at First Irving Baptist Church, Gomez will specifically be working to better engage the Hispanic community around the church.
Gomez and his family are not just leaving a school but a family, one that has shaped their minds, hearts, and lives as a whole.
“People here become family, and we are pursuing the same thing: to be equipped in order to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission,” said Gomez.