I’m on my way to Mexico. It seems hard to get time for these reports unless I’m on a bus or in the air.
Two weeks ago I was in Akron, Ohio, visiting Nate and Naomi Bower at the University of Akron. This is the fourth year of that ministry. It was good last year, but it is noticably stronger this year. It is very encouraging to see every element of the ministry improved. I met the new RUF committee chairman and enjoyed seeing Nate’s students again. The student leaders are a year more mature, but they still need training. I recommended that Nate take them to join the training Derek Bates does with his students in Pittsburgh.
I visited Trip and Joy Beans at Millersville at the end of the week. Trip is close to having a mature ministry; he’ll be there in a couple of years. Trip is taking over the training program that Scott Mitchell took over from me and ran for his nine years here. There’s a lot to learn, but Trip will do a fine job with it. I arrived in time for the Large Group Meeting and was pleased to see that it has grown substantially since last year. Ruth came down and joined us for dinner Friday night.
I still don’t have an assistant, so the weekends are crammed with administrative details. Pray for an assistant! In the meantime Bonnie Mitchell is helping from Oklahoma with what can be done remotely.
Last Monday I spent the afternoon with Brent Kilman at Rowan University in south Jersey. Brent has made some contacts on campus, but his primary job this fall is raising his support. We spent most of our time working on how to get the funds he needs to maintain this ministry, and ended the visit with dinner with Brent and Juli.
On to Dover to visit Daryl and Laria Wattley at Delaware State. Daryl has a wonderful ministry there, but he discovered that most of his upperclassmen from last year did not return due to financial and other difficulties. He’s wondering if this might be a pattern. If so, it will have major ramifications for how he ministers. Last spring we realized that Daryl has been underfunded. We are bringing his budget into alignment, and now we need to raise the funds to cover it. Daryl and I worked out a plan to move this process along. Pray for the serious hard work of fundraising that Brent and Daryl need to do.
I ended last week with Nick and Erin Owens at the University of Delaware. Nick is gifted and energetic, and wants his group to be five years ahead of schedule; but maturity takes time. This was my first opportunity to visit his Large Group Meeting, and they are starting strong. Nick is entering the critical fast-growth period of a ministry, so we had a lot to discuss.
On Saturday I rushed back home to finish staining the arbor over our patio – a project which was repeatedly delayed due to the constant rain this summer. I asked the Mexican staff if I should visit this week, in light of the recent earthquake in Mexico City. They are enthusiastic for me to come, so I’m on my way.