By Osbaldo Valdes
It has been a privilege and a great opportunity being able to study the past five years under such an amazing faculty, alongside a great student body and in a great environment like HBU. Being a first-generation student brought many challenges, but also new experiences, from learning about financial aid to choosing classes for the semester. However, HBU was there to provide all the support and guidance I needed. There are no words to describe how honored I feel to be the first graduate of the BA-to-MDiv program.
In high school, I began wondering and asking questions about church history, theology, biblical languages and other subjects related to the Christian faith. However, I did not have the resources nor the guidance necessary to answer many of my questions until I came to HBU. Never did I imagine that I would learn some of the biblical languages, much less, read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, but life is full of surprises. I am forever indebted to my language professors for the hours they invested in teaching and instilling in me a love for the biblical languages. I am grateful to all my theology, Bible and church history professors who tolerated my never-ending questions, had lunch with me, provided insight into ministry, and exemplified what it looked like to be a student of the Bible. Beyond the facts they lectured about, I am grateful for the skills they taught, the resources they provided me, and the friendships that were made from our time together.
Moreover, I am thankful for the community that surrounded me and supported me throughout this journey. Baptist Student Ministries, KALEO, Covenant Fellows and Life Tree Ministries, were amazing communities where I got to better experience HBU’s hospitality, where I was able to serve the community surrounding HBU, where I was able to develop great friendships, and where I was able to grow and mature as a Christian. I am also grateful for HBU Football’s Head Coach, Victor Shealy, and the organization as a whole, for allowing me to work as an equipment manager, and eventually, work as the head equipment manager for the team throughout my time here at HBU. Because of HBU Football, I was able to finish my degrees, as well as have the opportunity to travel and further develop my pride for our HBU Huskies.
Now that my time here at HBU has come to an end, it is a bittersweet time for me. I will still be in Houston serving my church at Cornerstone OPC as a pastoral intern while also seeking to be ordained under the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and hope to continue serving the Hispanic community and surrounding communities here in Houston. The skills I have developed, the knowledge I have learned in the BA-to-MDiv program, the friendships I have made, and the experiences I have undergone, will contribute towards my service in ministry. Once again, I am grateful for the faculty, the student body and my family that made this all possible. Dawgs Up!