Intern Spotlight - Tanaka Pfupajena

When l first signed up for QuadW, l had just come from an overseas mission trip that would shift my sense of mission and who God is among the people. After this mission trip, l was so excited to live the missional-intentional  life in my classroom, at work and in everything. However, it wasn’t before long, that l shrunk back to the norm, going to class and work, with little to no regard for God’s work among the people. I found myself asking, what does it even look like to be missional daily, and not just overseas. I looked up opportunities where l could learn this form of life. This is when QuadW entered the picture.

Instead of going overseas again, l signed up for QuadW that summer (2014) because l wanted to learn what it looks like to be as missional as l was overseas, here in the states. (QuadW also offered a living stipend which meant l didn’t have to worry about the funds for this mission).

Doing missions with QuadW, l quickly found out that God’s mission in the world does not look as neat as l had thought it out to be. In fact, QuadW has taught me that being sent to people and with people is usually, and l am beginning to believe it’s by design, messy. QuadW challenges however, that instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day.

"... instead of looking for the neat and well cut out, God invites us to be involved in the messy every day."

Mission in America differs from most overseas mission trips in that America is probably the most culturally and racially diverse place in the world. In this, you find that the needs look radically different from person to person. QuadW has allowed me to experience being sent out to different people groups. In my three years, l have been able to work intensively with African American, Hispanics and white people. This, l believe has prepared me to live more intentionally in this diverse culture.

Having a passion for missions, while holding a couple of degrees in Biochemistry, I had always struggled with regarding the former as holier than the latter. Experience with QuadW, especially the Friday experiences where we explored different on going ministries has allowed me to see that God’s mission is, as Os Guinness says, for everyone, everywhere and in everything. So while missions and lab work remained distinct, now l see that God is intimately involved in the whole thing.

In light of all these experiences, l believe QuadW has been a vehicle God has used for me to realize God’s calling in this life. I am currently working on seminary school applications, with the intention of becoming a better equipped missionary and church planter, and hopefully while l am at it, l will be able to plant a church in a laboratory while researching on drug discovery and cures for diseases that plague our world. 

Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.  

Tanaka Pfupajena (the "P" is silent) currently lives in Dallas, TX.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University (bachelor and master degrees!)  He has served as a QuadW interns 3 times - Montgomery AL in 2014, Opelika AL in 2016 (where he was the RA) and this last summer as a part of the Dallas team.