Blanche Bond-Hudson arrived at Memphis Theological Seminary in the fall of 2014 at the encouragement of her pastor, Rev. Donald Johnson of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, where Blanche had served as a Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, and on occasions facilitated Bible Study and prayer.
“I knew early in my life that I had a call to do more than just teach,” Blanche says, “but also a call to minister to others in a variety of capacities. So, when I came to MTS, I immediately felt a part of a great community of people that loved me and that shared a common interest. And they were trying to learn more so that they could further their ministry and do the work of building the kingdom of God. I loved my classes, all my professors, and I took as many classes as I could throughout the summer, throughout the fall.”
Then, in 2015, Blanche’s husband was diagnosed with colon cancer and died six weeks later. Blanche says her MTS family helped her stay in school. “Even when I was deeply in sorrow in classes and had to leave, my peers understood what was going on with me,” Blanche says, “So I couldn’t have been in a better place during my time of grief.”
In 2017, the company Blanche worked for offered her a position in Phoenix, Arizona. Blanche needed a change, so she accepted the position in digital marketing and uprooted her life. But the following year, Blanche was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I’m still trying to regain my strength and adjust to my new normal,” Blanche says, “But at the same time I wanted to find a way to finish my degree program at MTS.”
In the spring of 2020, as MTS responded to the pandemic and shifted all classes online, Blanche saw a way forward.
“When I found out that MTS was offering online courses, I could not have been more thrilled because I felt like I had left so much undone. I’m taking a class this summer and taking the remaining courses that I need in the fall, then I’ll be finished. I really am thrilled that I am now going to be able to finish my degree.”
Blanche says she must tip her hat to Dr. Peter Gathje: “When reached out to him, he said, ‘We will make a way for this to happen.’”
In addition to the ways online learning makes it possible for long-distance students to be a part of the MTS community, Blanche points out that in-person classes would not be feasible for many students living with a chronic illness.
“This is allowing me, even though I am still taking chemotherapy, to still be able to be in a classroom setting with my peers and be able to still do my work,” Blanche says, “Whereas if I had to physically try to make it to the building, it probably wouldn’t be possible.”
Blanche says, “However my journey is right now, God has put me on this journey, and I’m proud of who I am in this journey. And I’m proud of the way that I’m representing God in this journey.”
And we couldn’t be more proud to have Blanche at Memphis Theological Seminary!