Here is Matt (left), along with two of his three staff, Bryan graduates Danielle Rebman and Jessica Hundley. Jessica's boyfriend Joel, also a Bryan grad, is at the right.This is the third staff, another Bryan grad, Ben Norquist, with his expecting wife Ariel. Ben and our Amy were classmates several years ago, and met on a mission trip to Spain and Morocco. Ben invited me to speak in one of the classes he teaches, a Worldview class, which compares and contrasts differing worldviews with the biblical worldview. My stories from Micronesia provided a real life context for many of the concepts there were learning. Together, Matt's team is responsible for creating an atmosphere for spiritual formation in the lives of the Bryan students, mainly through chapel programs, student-led ministries (local and international), and student-led small groups with incoming Freshman. They train student leaders to assist other students in growing spiritually. One of the reasons Matt invited me down was to speak in a couple of their chapel services.My theme was "The Power and Beauty of the Gospel" as lived out in the context of my life and ministry in Micronesia. I taught on 2 Timothy 2:15 illustrated with lots of stories about life and ministry in Micronesia. Real-life story lines, especially from the mission field, grab attention and provide the context for memorable application of biblical truths against the backdrop of post-modernism.
The auditorium was filled with 750 students and faculty. The second day was a great challenge for me because I had an enormous headache that kept competing with my concentration and focus. But the Lord proved He was the dominant power. My favorite part of the whole trip was interacting with students and faculty alike afterwards in the dining room as we ate lunch and discussed spiritual issues together.
I can't tell you how blessed and excited I was to see Emily Cook, a 2007 Bryan grad who also came to Micronesia on the 2004 mission trip. A Freshman at the time, Emily shared with me about her spiritual journey since that time of discovering God's goodness. She has since graduated, has spent 6 months in Peru teaching missionary children, and is back in the Dayton community following hard after God's heart and teaching English as a Second Language in a local school. I stayed with Matt and his wife, Melody (and their two sons, Jonathan and Joshua, and as of yet a third child, an unborn daughter!) in their home. My last evening there found me on their back, screened-in porch, amongst 15 or so student ministry leaders. I was asked to share with them a little bit about how they could develop leaders under them to take responsibility for their ministries after they graduate next year, since they are mostly seniors. Again, I cannot possibly communicate with you all the excitement and joy I experienced sharing what I have been learning in the mission field with the Bryan community, and all that I learned from them.
When my time was done, I boarded a plane and headed once again to Winston-Salem and Clemmons, North Carolina. My main purpose was to meet with a fund raising consultant to discuss a plan for private funding for PIBC. Then I met Walter and Teresa Falardeau for lunch at Salem Village. It was Walter's birthday. No age given!
And helped celebrate Anna Mayer's 13th birthday (she's in the green jacket next to me) with her family.