Advancing God's Kingdom

Dear Friend,

If you have a few minutes, I would like to share my story with you!

I gave my life to Christ when I was a child in children's church at Grace Fellowship Church in Oak Forest, IL , where I got my foundation of who Christ was through my grandparents, Butch & Edna Craig, my mother, Julie Bruinius and Grace’s AWANA program.  Although when I entered into my teen years, I started to turn away from God. Hate and resentment took place in my heart, after some painful trials, and I wanted nothing to do with Him, because I mistakenly thought He was always against me. I got involved in drugs and alcohol throughout my high school years and that became my escape. After graduating high school, I ended up having the feeling pressed on my heart that I was supposed to go to Moody Bible Institute and that I would be traveling to a different country to teach sports and work with kids, as well as share my testimony. While I had that feeling at work, in the McDonalds drive thru, I was so confused because I wanted nothing to do with God, let alone a Bible College. I felt so far away from Him. I was thinking, “Share what testimony…of how to screw up your life?!” The thought of traveling to a different country teaching sports to children was also unrealistic on so many levels, including my limited paycheck, so I dismissed it. Little did I know it was God calling me – pursuing me! Instead, I tried to join the Marines. I thought if my life got taken during that time, I, at least, wouldn’t have looked like a coward going out that way. I ended up having a freak asthma attack that landed me in the ER two weeks before my physical. The Marines wouldn’t accept me. A few months passed and I fell into the darkest moment of my life. Thoughts of suicide enticed my mind and I started to shut out everyone in my life, including my family, and in spite, gave my life over to every flesh desire - to get back at God. In December of 2012 I left home unannounced. After 3 straight months of drunkenness, torment, and overwhelming anger I felt the call again in my heart that I was supposed to be in a different country and go to Moody Bible Institute. On March 10, 2013, the Lord met me where I was at, sobbing and broken on the bedroom floor, and I surrendered. The next day I entered recovery from drugs and alcohol, joined Celebrate Recovery at New Life Community Church in Chicago, IL and rededicated my life to Christ. Six months later, sober and God divinely leading and supplying the finances ($8500 in 22 days) I joined an organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I studied in Denver, CO for 3 months at a DTS (discipleship training school) and then left on a 2 month mission trip to Uganda, Africa where I did children’s ministry, helped lead a sports camp and was given the opportunity to share God’s love and my testimony! Amazing, right?! Even more amazing was our YWAM team being able to personally witness over 800 people make decisions to follow and receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ during our time there! Praise God!!

When I got back home, in the middle of February 2014, I didn’t know if I was going to follow through and actually apply to Moody Bible Institute. Honestly, even after witnessing the faithfulness of God, I was afraid. I have struggled with a specific learning disability and “school” has never come easily to me. I was positive I didn’t meet the school’s qualifications for admission. To add to my doubt, I only had one week to apply before the admission deadline, I was back working at McDonalds, and Moody is an extremely difficult school to get in to, especially the Chicago campus. Persistently pursued by God to walk by faith and not by sight, I stepped out in trust again and sent in my application. To my amazement, Moody Bible Institute felt that my attendance there was also of God and informed me that after careful review, I was accepted into the Chicago campus! I was informed that I was placed into the GAP program that was specifically created by D.L. Moody for students, like myself, who may not have the previous academic standards required, but who demonstrate a special purpose and calling on their lives. Upon receiving the news, I sat in their admissions office and just wept! I was filled with a speechless wonder of my God! Only God could have orchestrated all of these events! Only God could have gotten me accepted into this school! Only God! (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

I know deep in my heart that The Lord has called me to Moody Bible Institute to be fully grounded in His word as I pursue His call to full time pastoral ministry. I feel called to focus on Evangelism and Discipleship, as well as church planting, but I’m going to need your help, both financially and spiritually. When I stepped out in faith to pursue what God was asking me to do, I realized that it was a God sized pursuit and even though I needed to do my part, I was not going to be able to take any credit for it coming to completion. He has made that clear from the moment I was led to YWAM and He miraculously supplied and now that He has called me here. God, through divine appointments and answered prayer, provided me with a new full time job this past July, working for a Christian owned company, that has also graciously extended a part time job offer to me while I attend school, to help pay for some of my tuition expenses. Due to the fact, that at the present time, I do not have the full 2[phone redacted] tuition of $11,800 raised, I have opted for the Moody Payment Plan option of $1100 due at the 1st of each month. Thankfully, with the income from my summer job and support from family, I have raised $2400, which covers my July and August payments and is enough for me to be able to start this August 21, 2014. However, I am in need of raising an additional $3100 for the fall semester, and $5500 for the spring semester of this academic year.

If God is moving in your heart, I humbly ask that you would pray about partnering with me through support, as I continue to follow God’s leading and call on my life for His glory; whether it is through faithfully interceding for me in prayer, sharing this need and prayer request with others, a one-time donation or possibly a monthly monetary donation of any amount. If you feel led by the Lord to donate, there are a couple ways that you can do so:

1.  You can safely donate here on Go Fund Me and all funds will be immediately transferred to Moody Bible Institute as they are received.

2.  Payments by check or money order may be sent payable to:    
        Moody Bible Institute
        Department #1018
        P.O. Box 6500
        Chicago, IL 60[phone redacted]
***IMPORTANT - my name & student ID # needs to be placed on the memo area for funds to be distributed to my student tuition fees account. 
(Please contact me for my information)
3.  Moody Bible Institute has also created a brand new website link designed to allow supporters to donate via online to specifically enrolled students by having the student’s name and ID #. This new link will be available this upcoming September and is as follows:
(Please contact me for my information)

Thank you again for taking the time to listen to what God has been alive and actively working out in my life and prayerfully considering coming alongside me in partnership support of what God is doing as I pursue His call and begin my studies at Moody Bible Institute. I pray that God will bless you richly as you generously sow into His kingdom!
Love in Christ,

Zachary Jernigan
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Zach Jernigan 
Worth, IL
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