Graduate Spotlight: A Conversation with Kilby Helms

Originally from Andrews, NC, Kilby Helms came to Southeastern to pursue a degree in global studies because she knew that Southeastern was passionate about the Great Commission and that God’s desire is for his glory to be proclaimed among the nations. While enrolled as a student at The College at Southeastern, she has served in the U.S. and in Belgium and is now ministering in Arua, Uganda.

After completing most of her courses while overseas on mission, Helms is graduating on May 13, 2022, with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and a certificate in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Helms took time to share how her education at Southeastern encouraged and equipped her to live on mission — even as a student — and how God is using her and her husband, Greg, to disciple and evangelize in a Muslim context. 

Read more in the Q&A below: 

Why did you decide to study at Southeastern?

From the first time I visited, I was drawn to Southeastern’s dedication to evangelism and missions. It was clear to me that Southeastern not only wanted to give their students a thorough knowledge of theology but also wanted to equip them in a way that they could use what they had learned in their classes to reach the nations. 

How did your time at Southeastern shape you spiritually and shape your view of the Great Commission?

First, I have loved that each class is rooted in Christ Jesus. Even in an English Grammar course, the person and work of Christ was woven all throughout, including in our grammar exercises. Second, what stood out to me was how Southeastern emphasized that we as students should not wait until we finish our education to “go” or to pursue ministry but that we should be reaching neighbors and friends with the gospel even while we are learning as students. Both of these factors have drastically changed how I view the Great Commission in relation to my life and calling. 

What stood out to me was how Southeastern emphasized that we as students should not wait until we finish our education to go or to pursue ministry but that we should be reaching neighbors and friends with the gospel even while we are learning as students.

In what ways have you seen theological education and ministry preparation go hand in hand while a student?

Prior to studying at Southeastern, I compartmentalized my theological education and my ministerial calling. However, I have learned during my time at Southeastern that if I truly have faith in Jesus Christ and want to live in obedience to his calling on my life, then his calling must infiltrate every aspect of who I am and how I am living. It must guide my conversations, stir my thoughts to holiness, and impact my relationships. It seems like such an elementary truth to the Gospel and to my faith, yet I had forgotten it all too quickly. I learned this lesson in large part due to my education and formation at Southeastern. 

What are some of your favorite Southeastern memories?

I was only on campus for a year before moving overseas; however, I remember fondly being excited during orientation, meeting roommates and classmates, and signing up for my classes. I also remember loving events on the lawn during the fall and spring semesters. Often professors came as well as students, and it was such a lovely highlight of my time at Southeastern. Another favorite memory was the Andrew Peterson “Behold the Lamb of God” Christmas concert that took place my freshman year on campus. It was not only one of the sweetest times of worship but also a really splendid overall experience with my new friends and fellow classmates. 

Which professors and classes have proven particularly encouraging and helpful?

In one way or another, I have learned from every professor who taught me at Southeastern, and I am so grateful for that. A few professors whom I have learned most from are Dr. Pratt, Dr. Miles, Dr. Greenham, Dr. Robinson, and Professor Mann. Some of the most formative classes I took while at Southeastern were: Hermeneutics; Old Testament Survey; Communications; Judaism, Islam, and Contexts; History of Christian Missions; and Introduction to Philosophy. 

How do you hope to serve after graduation?

I currently serve overseas in Northern Uganda, where my husband and I work with locals and with Sudanese refugees. We do discipleship among young adults and teens and have the privilege to do evangelistic ministry among Muslims in our context. I pray that I may continue serving in this same way once I graduate. One thing I would like to do more of in the future is teach English here. I will be graduating with a certificate in TESL along with my bachelor’s, so I would love to use that here in Uganda. 

How can your Southeastern community pray for you?

I think my greatest prayer need right now is for my ministry among Muslim women here in Arua, Uganda. I have been working with a specific group of women for about nine months now. The relationships seem to be growing week by week, but there is still such a need among these Muslim women for the hope of Christ Jesus. Recently, I was able to share the full gospel message with a few of them, and I just pray that the seed planted will take root. The women have been asking more questions lately so please pray their curiosity will grow. Pray for each of them to have ears to hear. 

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