We like to share what we call “snapshots” from time to time, brief reflections from a particular moment of the year in the life of an ESN author or member. We hope these glimpses of God’s work in the lives of fellow academics are encouraging to early career scholars as they navigate the calendar of the academic year and the everyday calling of following Christ in their work and lives. Today ESN author and InterVarsity staffer Angelo Blancaflor shares how God is weaving together different aspects of his vocation that have sometimes seemed separate.
Last year, for ESN’s Writing as a Spiritual Discipline series, I wrote that God meets me in writing as I learn, record, and connect with others. This summer, God has met me in a new way: in the contrast of writing poetry and scientific articles.
2018 has been a year of transition.
On one hand, I’ve taken on a new role with InterVarsity’s Evangelism team, moving me closer towards a career in full-time ministry. It is a dream job, but I feel further removed from the biology and science career that I had imagined for myself for when I had finished my undergraduate degree.
In the midst of seeing how my calling has changed, God offered me a moment of promise. At InterVarsity’s Ambition conference, God invited me to stand and receive commissioning as a future graduate student and academic missionary, anointed to serving the university.
I have been unweaving these two threads of calling. One of full-time ministry, and another of academic work. As I have asked questions and thought of logistics (when exactly do I begin a graduate program while holding a full-time position?), God has answered me as I have written poetry.
In April, I wrote a short collection as part of National Poetry Month, and this summer, I have found those words to be prophetic, recording the ways that I have grown and understood my sense of calling to serve God’s mission.
These prophetic words have quelled my fears of “wasting” my degree and affirmed that, despite my questions, I am precisely where I am meant to be.
(For example, I wrote that courage has been steeping for / five years, a surging power in a piece about the fears I face in my role of sharing the gospel to thousands of students. As I have faced those fears, I have felt exactly like the river I described—surging and full).
Of course, leave it to the Almighty to make divine plans.
Throughout this summer I have repeatedly heard that God will resurface the thread of my biology research in the future. That He has not closed the door on that world.
And so, in June, my old lab informed that the project I had been working on before I left for full-time ministry is ready for publication—and invited me as a co-author!
In the midst of writing poetry and science, God has reminded me that I am precisely where I am meant to be: in His hands, ready and waiting.
(You can read my poetry on my personal blog, here).
Angelo is a 2016 graduate of the University of Illinois, where he focused on Molecular Biology and Asian American Studies. He’s interested in intersecting several fields: bioinformatics, microbiology, minority studies, digital humanities, and the role of faith as an academic. He has recently joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a Digital Spaces staff member.