Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I have entered the Doctor of Ministry program at Azusa Pacific University to learn more about spiritual exercises and how they foster growth in people. Spiritual formation practices and disciplines have sustained people even in the darkest of times. There are lessons and disciplines that can encourage us to "never give up" even when we are in the darkest valleys of life. I want to use these lessons to show how faith, spiritual exercises, and religion can strengthen people to prevent suicide.

I have formed a business called Paraclete Life, LLC to teach and train communities on suicide prevention strategies. Paraclete is the Greek word for comforter, counselor, advocate, and guide. One who is called to your side. One who is greater than a friend. One who will journey with you, no matter how difficult the path. One who will "never give up." I want people and communities to learn exercises, practices, and disciplines that strengthen us during the challenging and difficult times of life. I will give presentations, talks, addresses, and life lessons on ways to foster hope, resiliency, and life.

Our world is in desperate need of hope. Twenty veterans die by suicide each day. One in five college students consider suicide as a way to escape their current problems. Military spouses have higher rates of depression when their service member is deployed. Half of parents report that they had no idea when a teenager considers suicide. And nearly 45,000 people die by suicide each year in America. We need to share more lessons on hope, resiliency, and life. We must find a way to support our friends and show them a way that instills life lessons to "never give up." I refuse to lose heart in the battles before us. I will work to end suicide and instill hope. I will never give up.

John from Kansas
Azusa Pacific University