It wasn’t until he was 25 that senior M.Div. student Michael Carlin found himself in a church pew. It was the summer after his sixth year in undergraduate as a bio-chemistry major and his life was a mess. He reconnected with a friend from high school who encouraged him to come to a church event. So he did, and that Sunday morning as he sat there wrestling with where his life had been he heard a voice say, “If you trust me, I will change everything.”
And everything changed that summer. The hungers he had been wrestling with before disappeared. Michael devoted more time to getting to know people and the Scripture. He also met his wife, Nicole, who was a Sunday school teacher. When school restarted that fall, things were different. Michael had changed.
Following graduation, Michael accepted a research position at University of Pittsburgh. Though it was everything he had previously been hoping for, it no longer held his interest. In the meantime Nicole had taken a position at Bellfield Presbyterian Church. Alongside his wife Michael completed the college ministry training program. When Nicole became a first time mother she was unable to keep her position at the church. Michael left the lab and worked in college ministries for nine years.
While working at the church Michael and his wife started to explore missions. They connected with an organization in Haiti doing reforestation work. So Michael, Nicole, and by then their four children, went to Haiti with only two weeks of language practice under their belts. They found the work interesting, but after five months they returned to the States to do support-raising.
Upon their return home Michael and his family heard about the earthquake in Haiti. Michael spent the following days trying to connect with this friends and former co-workers there. Eventually he made contact, learned of the county’s condition, and hitched a ride on a jet taking medical supplies. Michael spent the next week assessing the damage and helping where it was needed. He returned to the U.S. by way of the military and later came back to Haiti to do disaster relief for the next five months.
Back in the States, the family considered their next steps. Michael wanted to combine his love for ministry and people and decided that a seminary education should be the plan. So here he is at Pittsburgh Seminary, following God’s call and preparing for his next phase in ministry.
Written October 2013