Esther GeeVarghese, who is working on a Master of Divinity degree in Chaplaincy, has had the desire to be a missionary from a very young age.
It’s a dream that could have been snuffed out anywhere along the way of a very hard family life. She mentions domestic violence, including torture and even being kidnapped, but keeps the details guarded. After her parents divorced, she became familiar with poverty. Her own marriage, arranged by her India-born parents, ended in divorce. She is raising an eight-year-old daughter on her own.
Esther says it is these experiences that will help her relate to people as a missionary. Not the type that goes overseas, but the kind that ministers as a hospital chaplain.
“I feel like with all the varied experiences I’ve gone through, I can relate to people at so many levels,” Esther said.
“I can relate to abuse, I can relate to sexual mistreatment, I can relate to verbal abuse and neglect. I can relate to poverty, extreme poverty. I’ve relied on borrowed clothes and food stamps. I went to work at age 15. I can relate to living with a single parent. I can relate to being a single parent.”
Esther has worked a 30 hour per week job while studying at CIU, enough to get health care benefits for her and her daughter. But without faithful donors who have contributed to three scholarships that have helped with her tuition, earning her degree would be very difficult.
She has a message for those donors.
“You make a huge impact on students, because if it weren’t for your kindness, I would not be able to attend CIU full time,” Esther said. “I think I speak for many when I say that. So I thank them from the bottom of my heart for making my dream possible.”