I didn't come from a religious family upbringing. I come from a loving family where my mom and dad provided all I could ever need and so much more. I have an amazing younger brother who I tried to provide for and take care of much like my parents did for me. One of the blessings of my childhood was that my parents taught me to search for the truth and to not let the world influence my path.
So I searched and explored in my youth because I knew there was something missing. That led me all the way to college where I met a waitress who would eventually become my wife. Early on when we were dating she brought me to her church. I started getting involved, meeting new people, and finding out more about this person named Jesus. Now I was a good student, so I researched Him and studied more and more about Him. I thought I had finally found what was missing in my life. That is until I went on a mission trip to Charlotte, NC with the youth as a chaperone.
On that mission trip, someone asked me to tell them about my personal relationship with Jesus. For the first time I can remember I was SILENT. This is rather unusual! I was confused. Relationship? I knew of Jesus, but I didn't know Jesus. I did everything I could around the church and was involved because I thought there was something I could do, but I realized that night I could never be good enough to get into heaven on my own. For the first time I earnestly prayed for Jesus to come into my life; to take away the punishment for my disobedience. We were then asked to go to our group leaders one at a time. The youth pastor was the first person I told as I gave him a hug. Then I found my wife in the crowd and hugged her.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the blessings of my wife and children in my life. In that vein, I try to serve others in a variety of activities.
My wife and I help lead a small group ministry at our church. We also have opened up our home to college students at the church to come by for a meal, talk about the Bible, or just catch up.
We have also had the pleasure of traveling around the state and overseas to help out people in need. From collecting food for impoverished people in Charlotte, NC through Dare to Share to building roads at an orphanage in Jamaica through the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf, I have had the pleasure of serving others in a variety of places. I feel so fortunate through these opportunities as I learn so much from the people I get a chance to meet!
I was blessed to be given an opportunity to teach an undergraduate class while getting my doctorate degree at NC State. That ignited a passion for teaching in me that still burns strongly today.
God has given me an opportunity to be a light for Him at my university. It is a great space for ministry as there are always curious minds looking to learn. Too often I have seen people assume that since I am in a technical field such as data science, that I must not be a believer in Christ. I look to try and change that mentality with my life.
1 John 3:17 - If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Best advice I ever received
Don't say you don't have enough time to do something. Be honest and say it wasn't a priority. That will help you evaluate priorities in life better.
My undergrad alma mater
North Carolina State University
My worst subject in school
If I weren't a professor, I would
Data Scientist at a non-profit
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