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Help Us Support Dezo’s Education at Central Baptist Theological Seminary
In 2011, members of Lawrence First Baptist Church visited Haiti to partner with missionaries working there. There they met Louisenie “Dezo” Desauguste, who served as their translator. They soon learned of Dezo’s passion for helping people, and they invited her to come and live in Lawrence with them so she could pursue an education.
Dezo came to the US with the intention of completing a medical degree and then returning to help her people in Haiti. She lived with FBC congregation members for two years while attending Johnson County Community College, taking prerequisite classes for a nursing degree, then transferred to Avila University to begin her medical training. By this time, she had developed a relationship with the congregation of First Baptist Church of Kansas City, KS, and they invited her to move to Kansas City and live with members of their congregation to shorten the commuting distance to Avila.
However, at about this time, Dezo began to hear a different call to the possibility of entering seminary. Her pastor at FBC Kansas City, MO, the Rev. Dr. Steve Jones, introduced her to Central Baptist Theological Seminary (CBTS) and President Molly T. Marshall. The following excerpt is from a CBTS article:
“Dezo related this about her experience:
”’When I heard the call to enter seminary, I visited Central to explore and to talk to the president and a counselor. Those conversations opened the door to a wider understanding of professional ministry beyond the pastorate, to engaging in entrepreneurial ministries. I accepted the call, even though I was skeptical, because this seminary does not only prepare students to be pastors of churches, but also to be entrepreneurs, chaplains, and missional leaders. It was especially important to me that CBTS supports and invests in women to shape the church and to serve the world.’
“Recently Dezo became burdened about other international students in her church. She said:
“‘During my first semester in seminary, I took a missional church class. This class has helped me to evaluate my church and to understand the ways we could do mission within and outside the walls. I knew from my own experience what the students were going through.’
“Dezo recalled her own desire to understand and learn more about American culture. After an intentional time of prayer and discernment, she and her church decided to develop a summer program that would provide a better sense of community and allow new opportunities for cultural assimilation.
“She was also aware that isolation and frustration were common among these students in the summer, when most could not travel home and classes were not in session. The church would provide a context for social interaction would help these students develop spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Dezo related how it all came together:
“‘We planned and completed several different activities – Bible Study; mission opportunities; weekly fellowship that included visiting local sights, restaurants, concerts, road trips, canoeing, and camping. We shared cultural struggles, differences, and understandings of Christianity. The students have become very close to me and to the church. Two of the students have joined our church as members. They feel at home; they feel included.’
“Dezo went on to say about her seminary experience:
“‘I am doing my best to soak up all the spiritual wisdom and teaching that I am getting here so I can build the kingdom of God here on earth. Not only does the seminary give me the tools to be fruitful in my ministries, the professors support and work with me. I am grateful to Central; First Baptist Kansas City, MO; First Baptist, Lawrence, KS; and many other friends who have seen the gift of ministry in me and are providing financial support for me to go to Central, as well as encouragement and prayers. Central is the right place for me to be. It fits well my dream for ministry.'”
In addition to the First Baptist Churches in Lawrence and Kansas City, KS (both American Baptist), other churches and missionaries are partnering together to support Dezo. We invite you to join us in prayer and financial giving, so that together we can help make Dezo’s dreams for ministry into reality.