After five years of work, my thesis is finally completed. I sent it yesterday, 30 November 2008. For the last few months, I have been intensely focusing on this work. I am sure that you figured out that the picture above is the table I’ve been using for study purposes. As a result of this work, many things have been put aside, such as emails, phone calls, and of course, this blog. I would like to share with you just the preface from the thesis given below:
More than just an academic exercise, the work on this thesis has been a personal journey as well. Interacting with the character of Jacob has opened up many thoughts regarding life and how we live it. Jacob is depicted as a man who kept moving regardless of the turbulent circumstances he faced at every turn. Through the rich traditions handed down to us, Jacob’s life speaks volumes…reminding us that there is hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Most of the time spent on this academic pursuit was done with the normal load of everyday life: Teaching at Faith Theological Seminary, pastoring Lifetime Church, Missions in North India, and of course family life. Therefore this final production is the result of a few years of interaction not only with the literature mentioned in the Bibliography, but also with all the burdens of a full-time schedule. For me it has been a process of learning and developing in every area.
In addition to the normal, there was the unexpected. For over two years, my mother battled with Cancer, and finally passed away on 26 March 2007. In essence, about half of the time spent on my studies involved constant hospital visits which required a four hour one-way drive each time. Also in 2007, we dealt with my father’s kidney failure, and the subsequent dialysis three times a week. My father-in-law’s life and ministry was certainly an inspiration to me as he is quite adept in handling numerous responsibilities.
Special thanks are due to my promoter Dr. Willem Boshoff. I was simply blessed not only as a result of his great insight into the areas of my research, but also because of his accessibility and patience with me during the last few years of study. The library staff at UNISA has been gracious in their timely response to requests for books and articles.
I wish to express my gratefulness to the administration of Faith Theological Seminary for granting me flexibility in my schedule and a lighter teaching load during the years of my study, especially during the last two years while I focused more on my thesis. Lifetime Church also felt the burden as I backed off from many things and became less accessible to the people, especially during the last few months. Along with church members, many friends and family also encouraged and prayed diligently.
My family certainly had a prominent role and put up with so much during the years of my study. A special appreciation to my wife Annie for her prayerful understanding and willingness to carry a heavier load at home as my focus turned to my thesis (as she also began her doctoral studies during this time). In fact, even during the early years of our marriage, I sat there for hours without end translating Hebrew and Greek texts. Both our children Nathan and Sharon were faithful to pray for me daily and were an encouragement to me. They would constantly ask me “how many pages have you finished, Daddy?”
Of course, most importantly, I thank my God (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) for enabling me to complete something I thought that would never be possible.
Alexi E. George
Adoor, Kerala, India