AlUMNI PROFILE / Master of Divinity

Matt Van Dyken

In terms of training for foreign missions, the two things that stand out in my mind are the internship program, which got me on the field with two experienced missionaries for extended periods. The second was being able to tailor several mission elective courses with Dr. Beach and Dr. Venema. Thank-you, brothers and sisters!

About Matt

I graduated from MARS in 2011, and have been in the field in Mexico for 8 years now with my wife Anne-Marie. I enjoyed my years at Mid-America very much. The years
were a blessing in different ways. I would say that what I appreciated most of all was a love for God and His Word expressed in a love for the students and a desire to equip and form us. The Seminary staff and community were selfless and giving, and I take this opportunity again to express my thanks for your work and care for us. I enjoyed the close relationships with the professors, the prayer times with Dr. Strange, the breakfasts with Rev. Vander Hart, being adopted into the Swets’ family where I stayed, and of course the classes and training. In terms of training for foreign missions, the two things that stand out in my mind are the internship program, which got me on the field with two experienced missionaries for extended periods. The second was being able to tailor several mission elective courses with Dr. Beach and Dr. Venema. Thank-you, brothers and sisters!

It has been eight years now serving the Lord in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. Tepic is about an hour from the west coast and is one of the least reached Mexican cities. I am serving as the pastor of a small church here. We are thankful for the Lord’s upholding grace, and for the family in the Lord that He has given us. The brothers and sisters here have become very dear to us and to our four children. Our most pressing need continues to be godly leaders at home and in the church, and that is where I am trying to focus my efforts, in terms of discipleship. The greatest difficulties have been working through conflict and sin with Christ-like humility, keeping our eyes on the Lord in both the ups and the downs, and knowing how to challenge but not push the brothers. The greatest joys have been answered prayers after many years of waiting, seeing dear brothers and sisters willing to suffer difficulty for Christ and yet praising Him, and opening the Bible and praying for the first time with new believers. And I should not forget our yearly Vacation Bible School week led by our young people’s. Seeing God’s people rejoice to speak of His goodness is a delight.

We have a saying in English which applies well to missionary life in Mexico. “When it rains, it pours.” There is another saying for rainy season: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” Some weeks are quiet, with sermon preparation, visits, family life, and Bible studies. Some weeks, however, are full of phone calls, emergency visits, requests for help, and crises. Not all is joyful harvesting. There is a lot of slogging too. But in all things we give thanks to God who truly is the immovable rock, for Christ is the solid rock on which we stand. He will gather and provide for His people, and for that we thank Him.

How can you help? We have always been thankful for the steady support and prayers for the work here. Thank you! I speak out of abundance, not lack. You can simply
pray for us, that God will raise up labourers for the vineyard, both here in Mexico and in the United States and Canada. And you can pray in these coronavirus times, when God is shaking us all, that “words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, ...that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:20). May God bless and keep you.