News - A Well in the Spiritual Desert

A Well in the Spiritual Desert

by Rachel Heston-Davis A Well in the Spiritual Desert

Business management major Nick Schumaker ’20 boarded a plane bound for Brazil expecting to learn about business leadership. He returned with nothing less than a new outlook on life.

Nick participated in the International Business Immersion and Leadership Formation class over Interterm, led by business professor Jane Bell and Dr. Kevin Mannoia, chaplain of Azusa Pacific University. The course includes a trip that allows business students to observe the difference in business leadership styles between the United States and other parts of the world. The students visited businesses, not-for-profit organizations and churches in San Paulo and Rio De Janeiro.

On the side, the travelers dug into discussions on a more personal topic: how to remain spiritually strong through difficult times. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, these conversations spoke to a deep secret wound in Nick’s life.

For years Nick had struggled with questions about his purpose, his identity and how to handle problems in his life. He had come to feel directionless and despairing.

His classmates’ and professors’ views about spiritual growth in difficult times offered Nick new hope. In opening up and sharing with the group, he came to learn three things, each profoundly impactful for every area of his life.

Spiritual Wells

Conversations touched on “spiritual wells,” which Nick describes as “a time when God stripped you of everything you’ve ever had.” The purpose, Nick explains, is “to put you on the path that God intended you to follow.” Nick now had a concept that made sense of his lost, directionless feeling. Maybe he wasn’t a broken person—maybe God wanted to draw Nick into humble surrender to a higher plan.

True Leadership

Nick drastically shifted his perspective on leadership during the trip. “Leadership is not a position, but a process,” he says. He came to realize that his previous attempts at “leadership” had revolved around recognition and accolades. Perhaps, Nick thought, leadership should be more about serving and caring for others.

Vital Friendships

The trip fostered camaraderie with students and mentoring from professors. Nick soon felt he’d made lifelong friends who could stand by him through his spiritual well.

“When we got to Brazil, there were four other students and three professors. When we left Brazil, I had seven very close friends who I know will always be there for me.”

Nick is thankful for his Greenville University friends who helped him find understanding and peace about the confusing aspects of life. 

“The time was short, but the lessons were long,” Nick says of his trip, “and I won’t forget them.”


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This story was published on October 20, 2017

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