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Missionary Earthkeeping Scholarship Recipient Discovers Her Passion At Early Age

May 20, 2013

For many people in the church, the idea of an environmental missionary would be somewhat perplexing.

For Au Sable Missionary Earthkeeping scholarship recipient 2013, Nicole Stinchcomb, she attended church with one.

Scott Sabin, Executive Director for Plant with Purpose, calls Stinchcomb's church home as well, and one week, he shared a sermon about the work Plant with Purpose does to reverse deforestation, improve the livelihoods of the rural poor, and share the gospel. It transformed Stinchcomb's life.

Stinchcomb says, “I had never before thought it was possible to merge my love for creation and science with my desire to improve the lives of the poor through missions. By the end of the service, I went up to my parents and stated I wanted to be involved in environmental missions, and I have not looked back since.”

Stinchcomb’s passion for environmental missions led her to glean experience in environmental restoration and missions over the years. A student of Biology and Biblical Studies at Biola University, Stinchcomb has pursued extracurricular activities such as coordinating the creek restoration project for Biola’s campus stream (see photo right) and leading short term mission trips to preach God’s word and provide social support and outreach in Mexico. However, her desire to dig deeper into the knowledge and skills she needs for environmental missions work with organizations like Plant with Purpose will bring her to Au Sable this summer for advanced training at the Pacific Rim Campus.

“[Au Sable’s] ‘Ecological Agriculture’ class will help me learn about sustainable agriculture that mimics the natural environment. This is highly important to Plant with Purpose as they work with the rural poor to benefit their living standards and the environment they live in. The ‘International Development and Sustainability’ class is a great companion course because of Plant with Purpose’s interest in sustainable economic development in a way that will not ravage the environment.”

The ‘Ecological Agriculture’ and ‘International Development and Environmental Sustainability’ courses provide the opportunity for in-depth engagement with organizations and topics that impact rural life in developing countries and the environmental drivers affecting them -- exactly the skills a budding environmental missionary needs to join in God’s restorative work for communities and ecosystems.

Stinchcomb agrees, “Environmental restoration is a way to bring a piece of the future kingdom into reality now.”

Au Sable will be welcoming two Missionary Earthkeeping scholars this summer to grow their skills for serving God's kingdom.

Like to learn more about environmental missions? You can watch Plant with Purpose's Scott Sabin and others present at Au Sable's 'Missionary Earthkeeping' conference about their work overseas by following this link.