NGU News

Good Things Come to Those Who Bait

Posted on: October 4, 2021
By LaVerne Howell,

Good Things Come to Those Who BaitTigerville, SC (October 4, 2021) When Jesse Haack (’21) first came to NGU as an intercultural studies (ICS) major, he was adamant about pursuing missionary aviation in Alaskan rural villages. However, the costs associated with aviation training are separate from NGU’s tuition and fees, and it is incredibly costly to fly planes.

“I ran out of money just trying to get my Private Pilot’s License (PPL),“ said the Iowa native.

To pay for his flight school expenses, he says he worked “like a dog“ the past two summers in Naknek, AK.

“My first summer, in 2019, I applied to work at Leader Creek Fisheries LCF to be a salmon processor/kitchen dishwasher. I worked 16-18 hour shifts every day for about two months,“ he explained.

The following summer, he found a captain to hire him as a deckhand on a com­mercial salmon fishing boat called Gillnetter.

“We fished in Bristol Bay, specifically the River District of Egegik. We caught 125,000 pounds of salmon,“ he said. “We were on the water for 40 days and averaged about four to five hours of sleep a night. We worked our tails off.“

Jesse said the boat was only 32 feet long.

He says none of the other fishermen were believers, and they cursed more than sailors.

“They cursed liked fishermen. It was a completely uncomfortable experience that tested my patience and endurance, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I will be fishing again this summer, but on a different boat—a better boat that ought to catch more fish,“ he said.

When asked about his ICS experience, he responded with much admiration for the program’s well-roundedness and the professors’ impact on his life.

“The ICS major is very structured and requires every student to have a firm theological grounding while placing a huge emphasis on teaching us how to reach the lost in a variety of cultural contexts. I am so thankful to all my pro­fessors, especially Dr. [Gerald] Roe, who has taught me more than anyone in my time here. His example and goofy sayings will stick with me the rest of my life,“ Jesse said. “Dr. [Allen] McWhite for his servant-leadership and Christlike example he sets for all men at NGU. Dr. Horn for his zeal and attention to detail he brings to his teaching. And Dr. [Walter] Johnson for his ability to explain complex theological ideas to me – a Simpleton.“

After weather complications, COVID, and running out of money, Haack has been forced to discontinue his flight training and is questioning whether he should continue pursuing aviation ministry altogether.

“I feel like a sailor without a map, but the Lord is still pushing me and guiding me into ministry of some capacity, most likely foreign missions with the Inter­national Mission Board,“ he said.

Jesse also came to NGU to play running back on the football team, but he was redshirted and never played a game.

“I gave up football to make time to pursue flight school, and now flight school has not panned out either. Yet, the Lord is faithful and taught me so much through it all.“

After graduation, he plans to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at NGU’s graduate school to deepen his understanding and experience and be better equipped for future ministry.

“I attend Christ Fellowship Cherrydale and plan to intern there after I gradu­ate,“ he said.

Jesse says for him, “NGU is the greatest place on earth.“

“I continuously thank God for leading me to such a close-knit, Christ-like com­munity with such strong, biblical teaching. I would not trade my last three years here for anything, and I am excited for the next three years to come [in graduate school].“

The seeds of leadership are planted at North Greenville. Graduates learn how to lead and engage with faith in real and personal ways. Elevate your perspective, explore our intercultural studies program that produces leaders like Jesse.

NGU offers more than 115 areas of study across certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and early college opportunities. Online. In-person. At our main campus in Tigerville, SC, the Tim Brashier Campus in Greer, SC, or several educational centers around the U.S. One University, many locations. Every day. Epic. Learn more.

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