After opening its doors in January, Mary’s House, a missionary residence located on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has made a large impact in the lives of the International Mission Board missionaries-in-residence who occupy one of the facility’s two apartments.
Mary’s House was made available through a partnership between the seminary’s World Missions Center (WMC) and the Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas to provide housing for the missionaries-in-residence at Southwestern Seminary.
Thomas Sieberhagen, along with his wife, Holley, and two children, Primrose and Ransom, came to Southwestern in August 2022 to serve as missionaries-in-residence. However, when Mary’s House opened its doors in January, the Sieberhagens began their tenure living in the newly dedicated residence.
“Mary’s House is really fantastic,” said Sieberhagen. “I think, especially when you’re coming off of a long-term mission assignment, which missionaries-in-residence usually are, you are looking for a place to fully relax and de-stress.”
Sieberhagen added that he believes another reason Mary’s House is a helpful resource for missionaries-in-residence is that is provides an opportunity to host students and hopeful future missionaries. “Your job here as missionary-in-residence is to be able to welcome students in for coffee and meals to really connect with them,” he said.
He continued, “This is a part of what you do on the mission field, as well, to use your home for connecting with people.”
The role of missionaries-in-residence is to work closely with the WMC to promote missions on campus and to be ambassadors on campus for the IMB.
“The pathway for many students is looking to go with the IMB either through the journeyman program or apprentice career track, and it is very helpful for students to have actual missionaries to be able to talk to,” Sieberhagen said.
Sieberhagen, a master of divinity graduate of Southwestern, is the son of Dean Sieberhagen, associate professor of Islamic studies, Vernon D. and Jeannette Davidson Chair of Missions, and director of the Islamic Studies Program.
“I think I am in a good position here because I actually did the two-plus-three program here at Southwestern,” said Sieberhagen, who recalled to with “the missionary-in-residence back when my wife and I were looking to go to the mission field, and those conversations were so helpful for us.”
The 2+3 and 2+2 programs are part of the master of divinity degree program in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. The programs are partnerships with the IMB to send students through a mission pipeline to serve internationally. Through these programs, students spend two years completing core MDiv courses and either two or three years of service with the IMB.
The degree is the master of divinity with a concentration in international church planting. The students who take part in the program are able to complete their degrees while serving in international settings with the IMB.
“It is very encouraging to see that the two-plus-three and two-plus-two programs are still alive and well,” said Sieberhagen. “I am really glad to see that there is still a healthy crop of new students in those programs in the pipeline to go with the IMB.”
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