22-Year-Old in New Zealand Determined to Answer Tough Questions

SES Real Stories #8

Sean studied sports science in undergrad, but changed course when the late Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi died in 2017.

Sean says Nabeel had “a massive impact” on him at the end of high school and prompted him to pursue Christian ministry. The 22-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, started working on his Master of Arts in Philosophy this January at SES.

Though he’s not sure where God will call him to serve, he’s confident that studying apologetics is a step in the right direction.

Sean was raised in a Christian home and during high school began asking intellectual questions about life. That’s when he came across Nabeel’s writings—well thought out defenses of Christianity.

Around the same time, Sean’s friend left the faith and became an atheist because the friend’s church didn’t know how to respond to his doubts. That friend took his questions to Sean.

In addition to what he was learning from Nabeel, Sean perused YouTube and podcasts for answers. He found Frank Turek, who often plugged SES. Sean applied to the seminary, hoping to dive deeper into apologetics.

He says SES is about “encountering the strongest objections to [Christianity] and responding.” He appreciates the seminary’s “heart and care for students, wanting to prep them for what’s out there in the real world.”

Over the summer, he wrote a paper on salvation—specifically for people in the Old Testament.

Shortly after, his church asked him to give a virtual sermon, shown on Facebook Live. He discussed why Jesus had to die, a topic that’s come up with his friends, both Christian and non-Christian.

“With COVID-19, I delivered a home sermon for my church, and I was able to base it off my studies at SES!” he shared on the SES Facebook page. “In such a short time, seminary has already contributed to my sharing of the Gospel!”

Living in a liberal country, Sean said many people his age don’t want to talk about religion.

“It can be really hard as a Christian to even open up those conversations.”

But as someone who’s been on mission trips, plays sports and mentors young boys in his own city, Sean knows people have questions, whether they’re in an orphanage, a drug rehab program or on the soccer field.

And so he continues to soak up as much as he can from his studies at SES. As an introvert, he said, the online courses “suit me quite well,” and if he has questions, his professors are quick to respond.

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