Kyle Pieri believes that he is the product of investments. For him, those investments started early, growing up in a strong Christian home in Marmaduke, Arkansas. And they continued through the ministry of his family’s local church, where he came to see his need for a Savior and recognized Jesus as the only One who could meet that need.
I was at a Sunday morning service with my family when I was about 12 years old. I remember the pastor preaching the same kind of things that I had been hearing my whole life: sin and repentance and the need for a Savior. The Holy Spirit just really spoke to me that morning. For the first time, instead of just understanding it, I really knew it and believed in who Jesus was. So, I accepted him as my Lord and Savior that Sunday morning.
Later, Kyle experienced his personal call to ministry, though he wasn’t sure which direction that call would take. Again, trustworthy ministry leaders poured into his life and helped him discern God’s plan each step of the way. Over time, he and his wife, Rachel, began to feel a tug away from student ministry and toward foreign missions. That meant seminary; and for the Pieri family, that meant a move to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College.
I had tried to study online through a different seminary, but it really wasn’t for me. I knew that I needed to be in the classroom and in person. So, I began to explore options.
To be honest, New Orleans was not our first choice. But as the Lord continued to open and close doors, we came to a preview event at NOBTS. At that event, Dr. Chuck Kelley said, “Do not come here unless God is calling you here. If God is calling you somewhere else, then go there.” After hearing that and praying about it, we felt confirmation that God wanted us to become planted here and to do in-person seminary in the city of New Orleans. It’s where we’ve been ever since.
Currently, both Kyle and Rachel are students at NOBTS. Kyle graduated last December with a pair of master’s degrees and is now studying in one of the seminary’s Ph.D. programs. Rachel is working toward a master’s degree in biblical languages. Together, they believe God is leading them toward a ministry that intersects their love for missions and their passion for the local church. They want to work with indigenous leaders of churches overseas, teaching them how to grow strong local congregations in their context.
I always said that if God would write me a blank check, I would teach on the foreign missions field. That may be in a formal seminary setting, but maybe it won’t be so formal. Rachel and I have both done missions across the world; and every time, we’ve come home wishing there was more support, more education, and more training for those local churches. So, we want to help local churches on the foreign mission field thrive and be the best that they can be.
Kyle admits that God may change their plans, meaning they may never serve on a foreign mission field. But he is comfortable allowing the Lord to set the agenda for his life and ministry. The investments of so many family members and mentors have given him the confidence to lean into God and to trust Him for direction.
He is also quick to acknowledge one other group of “investors” who have made a difference in his family’s life. Since both he and Rachel are students, each has felt the impact of generous donors, faithful friends who have consistently supported the mission and ministry of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. And he is committed to making sure that investment is honored.
He also wants to see his story multiplied across as many students as possible because the kingdom results could be astounding.
I grew up as a kid off the farm. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I came to seminary, and I have been equipped to lead the local church with excellence. I want thousands more students to experience that same thing. I want them to be able to come to seminary and get the tools they need to lead in a local church.
I’ve been able to go all over the world and share the gospel. I’ve seen Muslims and Buddhists and Mormons find salvation. And that was just my story—one student out of the thousands who are being invested in. The expanse of that return on investment is just unbelievable when you see it through God’s eyes.
With God’s blessing, leaders like Kyle and Rachel Pieri will make a difference for God’s kingdom that will resonate from New Orleans to the ends of the earth for generations to come. And your gifts to the Providence Fund help make that happen for them and so many students just like them. Every dollar you give to the Providence Fund is a dollar our students won’t have to pay. So, your generosity will change their lives right now and will continue changing lives through them well into the future.
Thank you in advance for supporting New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College. We appreciate it more than we could ever say. More important, we appreciate you and pray God’s richest blessings on you in the days ahead.
God bless you and keep you.
P.S.— The impact of Hurricane Ida has disrupted the work of NOBTS and Leavell College. Still, while our campus was spared catastrophic damage, there will be significant costs related to the repairs. Our insurance inspection found water and roof damage in numerous buildings, and the seminary will be facing several million dollars in repairs beyond insurance. So, we are asking you to pray for us as we begin to repair our campus. We are also asking you to consider making a generous gift that will help us continue to prepare servants who will walk with Christ, proclaim His truth, and fulfill His mission. For more information on how you can help, simply visit us at www.nobts.edu/donate