After traveling to many different places, including Palestine, as a missionary, Eastern’s new associate professor of missions decided to try something different.
Andrew Bush began serving as a missionary in 1986, ministering mostly in the Philippines, southeast Asia and Ramallah, Palestine.
He and his wife decided to move back to the United States in order to spend more time with their five children, as well as to give Bush an opportunity to pursue a more academic path.
“It was time to reconnect,” he said. “I was interested in using more of the scholarly work I had been doing in recent years.”
Bush chose to do so at Eastern because of the uniqueness of its intentional missions program.
“This program is fully committed to educating men and women to participate in missions,” he said. “That’s unusual at a liberal arts college.”
Bush was also attracted to Eastern for its open-mindedness.
“Eastern represents an enlightened evangelicalism,” he said. “It is open to an intellectual inquiry of faith. That’s my understanding of the freedom we have in God.”
Bush was hired in the summer of 2004, but did not join the faculty until January 2005 after finishing his overseas mission work.
During the spring semester, he taught a heritage of Islam class, a missionary anthropology course and a history of missions course.
“What I have enjoyed finding have been students I feel are very authentic in their personal lives, who are original and thoughtful,” Bush said.
He said he also appreciates the students’ attitudes toward work.
“Students of Eastern in general have a healthy balance in their lives,” he said. “They’re not overly stressed about academic performance, yet they take their work seriously.”
According to missions professor Chris Hummer, Bush takes his students seriously.
“He takes a personal interest in students’ needs and concerns,” he said, mentioning that Bush has, at times, invited students to his house.
Hummer also believes Bush has added much to the missions department by his experience in mission work, especially the work he did in Palestine.
“People want to know how to present the Gospel to these people in a way that’s culturally inoffensive,” he said. “The fact that he has had that exposure is a real strength.”
Bush also feels that his missionary experience has been vital to his ability to teach about missions.
“I’m able to teach not just out of theory but out of experience of the different levels of mission work, including raising a family,” he said. “I don’t think you could teach missions if you hadn’t spent a considerable amount of time overseas.”