Graduate Spotlight: A Conversation with Yolanda Hernandez
Chad Burchett | May 15, 2023
As a missionary kid, Yolanda Hernandez watched God call her family from Mexico to northern Iraq — an experience that reinforced in her own life a deep passion to serve Jesus Christ and advance his kingdom. Trusting God to use her for his glory, Yolanda also trusted God to be with her as she moved to The College at Southeastern in 2019. Graduating last week with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics, and economics, Yolanda has seen God’s gracious care and faithfulness in her life throughout her time at The College.
In the following Q&A, Yolanda shares more about her Southeastern journey and how she hopes to serve Jesus with her Southeastern training:
Why did you decide to study at Southeastern?
I decided to study at Southeastern after God called me through prayer during my time on the mission field. I asked God about his will for my life while I lived in Northern Iraq as a missionary kid. When I was accepted into Southeastern, I remember telling God I was scared to leave my family and move to the United States. I clearly remember how he said to me, “I will be with you,” so I moved here knowing and trusting that he would keep his promise.
What aspects of studying at Southeastern were particularly formative or encouraging to you?
The professors’ caring spirit and personal engagement with my personal and spiritual life.
How did your Southeastern education shape your view of the Great Commission?
During one of my classes with Dr. Quinn, I remember feeling a shift in the way that I saw my Christian life because I learned that all of us hold a special task in God’s world. In every class at Southeastern, I would sit in awe as God shaped my view of his world and my mission in his kingdom.
In every class at Southeastern, I would sit in awe as God shaped my view of his world and my mission in his kingdom.
What are some of your favorite Southeastern memories?
My absolute favorite Southeastern memory was student orientation! I remember Missie Branch and her welcoming spirit made me feel at home. My RA Krista and my Judson friends made me feel like I had found a new college family at Southeastern.
Which professors and classes have been particularly encouraging?
I took a doctrine of the Christian life class with Dr. Whitfield that showed me the most practical aspects of my walk with Christ. Dr. Holloway’s class on epistemology was the most challenging and fun class I ever took. His patient teaching style and his desire to truly help us learn motivated me to think hard!
In what ways have you seen theological education and ministry preparation go hand in hand while a student?
The most valuable lesson that I learned at Southeastern is that our theological education forms our ministry preparation. As we are disciples who lead other disciples, we should pursue theological education because it deeply forms and informs the way that we approach our ministry. If we understand the impact of the doctrine of sin and the doctrine of salvation in our world, we will engage the hearts of God’s children on earth.
As we are disciples who lead other disciples, we should pursue theological education because it deeply forms and informs the way that we approach our ministry.
How do you hope to serve now that you have graduated?
God has given me a passion to engage disadvantaged students, who often fall into cycles of incarceration, with the transforming power of the gospel. My hope is to show children and adults in this loop that there is a God of justice who wants to be involved in the details, the hurt, and the joys of their hearts.
How can your Southeastern family be praying for you?
Please pray that my education at Southeastern will keep molding my heart and that the same passion that I see in my Southeastern family will empower all of us to change the world for Christ.