Dear Partners in Christ,
In my last update, I mentioned that so much was happening, I didn’t have time (or space) to share it all with you! Consider this Part 2 of “The Students Have Returned.”
Here’s what God has been doing…
– In just their second week of medical school, the first-year students had their first exam. As you walked around campus, it was easy to tell who the first-years were: they were the ones doing the ‘deer-in-headlights’ impersonations! As I thought about ways to serve them, I decided that putting together ‘study care bags’ filled with drinks, snacks, and a personal note of encouragement was the way to go. With a tremendous amount of help from willing volunteers from my church, we put together 35 ‘care bags’ and delivered them to the students two days ahead of their exam. They were very moved and, I trust, shown a taste of Christ’s own love for them during a challenging time.
– Just a few days later, we held a meet-and-greet BBQ at Ted’s (student president of CMA, the Christian fellowship) house for first-years. Although some were still recovering from the exam, we had a nice turnout of about ten students. Everyone was very friendly and it gave the student leaders and I a great chance to connect with and enfold the new students. Because med school is so intense, it’s especially important to start building relationships with them right away, before they disappear beneath the heavy workload.
At Philadelphia University (PhilaU for short; pronounced “Philly-U”)
– I met the PhilaU leaders at a potluck leadership gathering, and then had the opportunity to speak at their large-group meeting on the 10th. The leaders are working hard to make Cornerstone (name of their fellowship) a place not only for believers, but also for those who do not yet know the Lord and want to explore all that Christ has to offer. With that in mind, I opened my time with a YouTube video clip of real people sharing about their frustrations and difficult experiences growing up. The clip also opened the door to more spiritual topics as those interviewed were asked to reflect on whether they felt God was doing a good job of running the world. After the students shared for awhile, we turned to the first part of Lamentations 3 and found that, despite appearances to the contrary sometimes, God does care very much about our struggles and offers us moment-to-moment help in their midst.
– I plan on being a regular participant at Cornerstone’s large-group gatherings!
– This past Sunday, we organized a wonderful time of food and fellowship with medical and university students at the home of Tim & Becky Wainwright, Pilgrim members who live nearby. Although our numbers were not large, this was a great moment – the different ‘worlds’ God is calling us to reach (college students, medical students and young people near the church) were all present. This is exciting because students need to be vitally connected to a local church to experience all that God has for them. And, the local church needs their energy, creativity and gifts. We also had the opportunity to talk with the students about what they enjoy about Pilgrim, as well as what would make it even more welcoming to other younger people. Their feedback was helpful as we continue to strive toward this important goal!
For Prayer & Praise:
– Praise for a phenomenal start to the ministry year in every way!
– Praise for some significant new support that God has brought in. Please pray for God’s continued provision in this way as we approach the year’s end behind our target levels.
– Pray for discernment in seizing the very best ministry opportunities since so many have presented themselves. One specific item for prayer is whether I should pursue a discipleship opportunity at PhilaU.
– Pray for momentum and open hearts as I seek to gather a team at Pilgrim that is passionate about reaching the younger people around our church.
– Finally, pray for Sharon as she continues to experience fairly intense morning sickness. But we praise the Lord for many who have provided cards, words of encouragement and meals!