My name is Michele Updike. I live in the United States. I am a happily married mother of two beautiful teenage daughters. Fiercely called to Ministry, I am currently enrolled in the free starter courses at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about studying the Bible online, Click Here) to enroll in Christian Leaders College to obtain a Bachelor’s in Ministry.
My childhood was ideal; my great-aunt and uncle raised me. We attended church regularly. Our pastor was terrific! My aunt was in poor health. When she could not participate in services, Pastor would record his sermons. He brought them to the house to listen to them with her and pray with her. Baptized in her adult years, it was shortly before her untimely passing.
My aunt died when I was 11, leaving my brother and me to be cared for by my mother. My paternal father was never in the picture. We stayed in the home we always lived in. After that, however, life was dramatically different. We no longer attended church. There was no discipline. My brother started skipping school. I fell into a deep state of despair.
A year later, my great-uncle died, leaving us homeless. We moved into a trailer without heat, hot water, indoor plumbing, or a front door. We lived there for a year and ate nothing but corn mush. I fell deeper into despair, and my brother became increasingly angry and hateful.
Finally, my mother moved us to New York State, where the welfare system was more forgiving. We had subsidized housing and food stamps. Unfortunately, my mother’s habits superseded her desire to feed her family. Therefore, we were left hungry once again. We were frequently left homeless and eating from dumpsters. I turned my back on my faith and became angry and hateful. After dropping out of school at 16, I started working to help support the family. My brother did the same when he turned 16. Our lives didn’t change that much, so I moved out at 18.
The pattern of homelessness and hunger followed me until I met my husband at 25. I was homeless when we met. He offered me a place to stay. He was the rock that I needed in my life. A solid foundation to build my life on, to build my faith on. He taught me to love myself. He taught me to respect myself as he respected me. Even though he grew up with an abusive father, he was the kindest, gentlest, most forgiving man. It was his faith in God that made him this way. I wanted to have the same peace within myself. His faith was a beacon of light in the darkness of my soul. We married two years later. Three years after marrying, we had our first daughter. A year and a half later, our second daughter arrived.
Faith and Family
As they grew older, it became more and more important to me to get back to the church, my faith, and a walk with God. We enrolled both girls in a private Christian school. I attended mass regularly. However, it was foreign and alien to me as I grew up Methodist. As the school leaned more and more toward a public school curriculum and ideals, and my oldest daughter was being bullied, I pulled them from private school. I chose to homeschool them with a Christian-based curriculum. We continued in our faith, and both girls excelled academically and spiritually.
A friend of mine invited me to her church, a mega-church. We regularly attended for about a year. Their youth program was beautiful, and our daughters enjoyed it. But finding fellowship in such a massive group of people wasn’t easy. We never even met our pastor in person!
While checking yard sales with my girls one summer day, I met the pastor of a small local, non-denominational church. He invited us to visit. It took us over a year to finally attend. But it was precisely what we had been searching for. The fellowship, the warmth, and the outpouring of love were amazing. So for the past three years, we attended and served in the church.
Answering God’s Call: Bachelor’s in Ministry
In January of this year, my mother died suddenly. We had a complicated relationship. We had more of a sisterly relationship. There were things left unspoken and unresolved. I began spending more and more time with my Bible, my pastor, and my sisters from church. Revelation 21:1-5 spoke to me. Knowing I would be with my mother again one day, in a perfect world, walking with God in the flesh, comforted met. I spent more and more time praying and meditating on God’s Word.
Finally, I answered the call that had been in my heart for years. Therefore, I am eager to enroll at CLC as I work toward a Bachelor’s in Ministry. With a Bachelor’s in Ministry, I can take my next steps in answering God’s call.
Register a Study Account
Register for a free study account that automatically enrolls you in the Getting Started Class at the Christian Leaders Learning Platform. The Getting Started class will take you less than an hour to complete.
When you log in to the Learning Platform, you will notice that the Getting Started Class automatically appears on your dashboard.
The Getting Started Class will orientate you to the Christian Leaders Learning Platform and the Programs offered, including:
- Ministry Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas with the Christian Leaders Institute.
- College Degrees with the Christian Leaders College.
- Minister Credentialling (Ordination) with the Christian Leaders Alliance, including local Soul Center registration possibilities.
Note: You can enroll in tuition-free courses or mini-courses immediately without finishing the getting started class.
Find out more about women in ministry here