This fall, we welcomed over 450 new and returning students. For many, scholarships and bursaries were the main financial provision that enabled them to study.
Take Cleison Mlanarczyki—a former seminary dean and pastor from Brazil. Cleison is passionate about training Christian leaders. He’s convinced that if people could grasp the joy of being a disciple of Jesus, and then the joy of influencing others, they would walk in this knowledge for the rest of their lives.
But getting to Regent was not easy. Cleison followed God’s call to leave his country, his family, and his livelihood to come to Regent. It wasn’t until he received financial aid, however, that he was able to begin full-time studies.
Read more of Cleison's story
Regent first appeared on Cleison’s radar in 1998 when Dr. Jim Houston spoke in São Paulo about integrating theology with personal spirituality. For fifteen years he put into practice what he had learned from Dr. Houston. He served as academic dean of a seminary and pastor of a church. Cleison felt God telling him that he needed to spend time with people in order to apply the theology he had learned. It was important to walk with people in their suffering, disillusions, and limited understanding of the Bible, and make theology understandable for those under his spiritual care.
Cleison and his wife Renata have finally come to Vancouver. They left Brazil, their church, their ministry and their families behind. They sold their possessions—cars, furniture, even clothing—to pay for their journey to Canada. They encountered the bureaucracy of immigration, of visas and work permits. They needed to learn English and pass the TOEFL (an English proficiency exam). All this, and he hadn’t even been officially admitted to Regent yet.
You might imagine these hurdles would be enough to make Cleison give up. But when you are convinced God has called you to do something, you are compelled to follow through. As Cleison says, “It was difficult—very difficult. At the same time, it was awesome because you had to really rest in God. You had to know how to put your whole life in God’s hands and wait for his response.”
Since a student permit does not allow Cleison to work off-campus, he joined the Regent facilities team working four hours a week vacuuming, mopping, and doing general building maintenance. Eventually his hours were increased and he was able to pay for one Regent course.
It was because of the generosity of donors that he received a scholarship and bursary and was finally able to begin full-time studies.
Even as he takes a full load of classes and works to pay for living expenses, Cleison shares his time generously with his local church community through mentoring, preaching, and ministering. He is not waiting to finish his degree to fulfill his call—he’s doing it now.
“It’s very important to understand that this is not my dream,” says Cleison. “This is a dream God has put in my heart. This is God’s dream through my life. I am here because of God’s sovereignty. He decided I should be here, leave my country, learn another language, and receive a bursary to accomplish his dream. This is just plain obedience. I have to do my part, and my part is to be here, far away from my family, my people, my language, my soccer team, Brazilian barbeque—all those things I really like—to obey God.”
Like Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, Cleison is following a calling so that others may be blessed. At Regent, he is being better equipped to pursue his passion of training Christian leaders. In turn, Christian leaders all over Brazil will then influence their congregations, neighbours, and communities. And that’s just the potential impact of one Regent student!
Will you support students like Cleison so that their obedience will result in the blessing of others? Your support will go towards tuition assistance for students attending Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 and directly affects whether students will actually be able to start or complete their programs.
Will you give to the student aid fund so that students like Cleison can go on to bless others?