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Erin Austin

Bachelor of Arts, General Studies, 2008, Columbia International University

Freelance Writer and Speaker, Broken but Priceless Ministries

Chesterfield, S.C.

I enrolled at Columbia International University expecting to be trained in how to be a missionary. But what I got was so much more.

When I was 18 years old, I was diagnosed with lupus - an autoimmune disease. Heartbreaking is the closest I can come to describing the pain I felt with this diagnosis. I knew my life would be completely different than I hoped, and to be honest, I wasn't sure how to cope with the changes I was facing.

CIU quickly became an anchor in my storm. The faculty, as well as my friends, encouraged me in more ways than I can count. Professors took time out of their busy schedules to help me understand lessons I missed when I was too sick to attend class. They not only taught me out of books, but they taught me by example. Whenever I doubted God's love and faithfulness because of my suffering, they reminded me just how special I am to God.

Knowing the doubts, worries, and fears that often come with a chronic illness, I felt God call me to minister to others who suffer with a chronic illness. I founded Broken but Priceless Ministries to reach out to Christians who question God because of the suffering they must face. Almost daily, I speak with people all over the United States who feel they have no one to talk with who will understand their questions about God. I have the privilege of speaking in churches and visiting people to help them see just how special they are to God and that He has a purpose in their suffering.

Next to God, much of the credit for Broken but Priceless Ministries goes to CIU. The people there have been with me every step of the way through my illness. In fact, they still are. I stay in touch with several faculty and staff members even though it's been several years since I graduated. The people of CIU taught me by example how to minister to others when they are suffering. It's because of CIU's ministry to me that I have the desire to minister to others going through circumstances similar to my own. 

 

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