Name: Denard Fenaud
Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work, first year
Public Relations Officer, Andrews University Graduate Association
President, Haitian Graduate Student Association
Interviewed by: Torian Hill
What is your backstory?
It may seem as if I am giving that one stereotypical answer, which is God, but that is my story and I am sticking to it. Honestly, the abridged version is that I was an administrator at Florida State University and during the month of May 2015 I went on a Wilderness Fast. During my Wilderness Fast I cut off communication from all family and friends so I could hear distinctly the voice of God. God revealed to me three specific things: that I was called to the ministry but that delayed obedience is disobedience, who my future wife is, and that she is also called to missionary work.
Could you explain why you did a Wilderness Fast and maybe some of the events that led up to that decision?
I started my undergraduate career in 2004 at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a historically black college in Tallahassee, Florida. After an eight-year stint, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in political science with a pre-law minor in August 2012. However due to the saturated job market, I began working in a field that had nothing to do with my degree because I needed a job. Thankfully, I was hired as a Lead Financial Outreach Coordinator/Customer Service Specialist at Florida State University after being unemployed for a year and half.
But I reached a fork in the road where I had to decide between continuing my pursuit to law school or graduate school. There were so many voices around me, including my own, telling me what to do with my life, but one day I turned to Hebrews 4:16, and it was then that I heard the voice of the Lord say, “If you want to hear my voice then you have drown out all the noise, including yours, to become more sensitive to my leading.” Then in the solitude, beyond cheap clichés, and in my most contemplative state of mind, I found peace in knowing that God would reveal to me what I need at the appointed time
What are you plans after graduate school?
I plan to finalize my two book projects on Christ-centered relationships, launch my personal ministry, Bearing Fruit Ministry, and build an ideal care clinic for pastors that deal with depression, because recent studies show that over 70 percent of pastors deal with depression and have little to no outlet.
How did you come about developing your projects, both literary and ministerial?
This is where my heartbreak, the waiting being as important as what you are waiting on, and having the assurance that you are exactly where God wants you to be becomes essential to my call to ministry.
I arrived here at Andrews on January 3, 2016 after getting in a near-death car accident on January 1, 2016. A recurring question I had along this pilgrimage journey was “Lord, how do I know that I am where you want me to be?” The Lord responded to me one morning after I said my daily prayer, "Lord, do not let me move too fast where I am outside of your will; likewise, don’t let me move too slow that I become idle."
I woke up early one morning to pray with a close friend of mine for her mother, who was dying from stage four cancer, around 5:16 a.m. My world was shattered when we got the news that she died and a deep depression took over me, but it was there the Lord found me and reminded me that He loves us and He cares because He sees everything from a first person point-of-view. I fell asleep, exhausted from crying, but woke up a short while after to a vision in which God said, "Denard, you will know that you are where I want you to be because everything you learned along the way you will need for what I have called you to do and it will still not be enough!" With this being my first time in the snow and no longer having a car, I had a lot of time to walk and talk to God to get some answers.
Additionally, God provided me with the vision of Bearing Fruit Ministry based on Matthew 7:16 from the logo to the motto, website design and more. Next, He provided in the same day the concepts for the Christ Centered Books and their titles. Lastly, He said, "See, I allowed you to go through all those trials, depression and questioning the call so you can know exactly how it will feel in the ministry if you do not depend on me always."
What has inspired you to become the man you are?
Heartbreak. I know this may be an unconventional response, but it’s out of love lost I found a deeper relationship with God. Heartbreak also taught me to learn to listen for a person’s heart.
Any inspirational words you can leave with the students?
Remember—the wait is just as important as what you are waiting on, so don’t rush the process. Lastly, that the distance between giving your all and giving up is your last breath so never give up until you've given your all.