The end of the school year came and left and took most of our students with it. It is a lot quieter around here this summer, but there are still plenty of good things going on. Summer time in the campus ministry world is a time for trips and projects and we have plenty of both around here.
The beginning of May was all about finals week. The students turned in their projects, took their exams, and cleaned out their apartments. There were hugs and tears and good-byes and then, in the space of about a week, the campus became a ghost town. It is always a little eerie. There is all this energy and drama and then, whoop, everything goes calm.
We wrapped up our Old Testament Bible Study series. It ended up being a great study and I think I will do that one again someday. We almost got whiplash from covering so much material, (39 books in 16 lessons), but the whole arc of the Old Testament made so much more sense when we got it in big pieces like that. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees and this helped us pull way back and see what God was doing during those times in history. I know I learned a bunch anyway. Who knew Ezekiel was such a good book?
Around the same time, I went over to Faith and helped with their High School Graduation Ceremony. The church does a great job of it over there. They had
all the families come out to the church for dinner one night with a big cake and some decorations. Then Calvin talked a bit and I talked a bit and they had a lovely candle lighting ceremony. The older teens had lit candles that they used to light the candles of the younger teens, symbolically “Passing the torch of faith” on to the younger ones. Here is a picture, though it might be a little too dark to see much:
Faith's Candle-Lighting Ceremony
In other Faith-related news, I started preparing to help with their Vacation Bible School in June. I usually help teach the teens class for the VBS on the years when I can make it. This year they were planning on doing something a little different. They usually do a regular kind of a VBS with Bible classes and snacks and loud and silly songs, but this year they were going to have their first ever “Mega Bible Sports Camp.” The idea was to mix the Sports Camp format with the Bible School format, so the kids would get some coaching in their favorite sport and some solid biblical lessons. The thought was to make it as accessible to the community as possible. Folks who might be uncomfortable in a church building might be a lot happier sending their kids to the local high school football field to practice their sports in a healthy atmosphere. The event itself was in June, so I'll save that for the next report, but on the whole I think it went really well.
The following weekend I had the honor of performing the wedding ceremony for one of our previous students, Abbey Merchen and her new husband Taylor Anderson. Abbey was a part of our first “Let's Start Talking” mission trip and a big part of our Bible study group. She moved to North Dakota, got engaged, and now they are talking about moving back to the Spearfish area, so it is going to be nice having them in the area again. Here is one of their wedding pictures:
Abbey and Taylor Anderson Wedding
The Sunday after finals week was the last Sunday before we sent off our “Let's Start Talking” mission team to Natal, Brazil. Our students spontaneously arranged their own sending off party. They all showed up at church that morning, even the ones that don't go to church, just to support our team. In Acts 13, it talks about the leaders in the church in Antioch sending Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey by laying hands on them and praying over them, so we thought we would do something similar (though we forgot the fasting part). So the elders and Thomas and I gathered at the front of the church and prayed over our team, Miss Bailey Hoeft and Miss Rachel Munce, asking God to guide their work in Brazil. It was a holy moment. We sent them away with prayers and happy tears.
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
- Acts 13:2-3
Shortly after that, our team flew out and they have been in Brazil ever since. They are scheduled to come home at the end of July. I haven't talked with them extensively yet, but every time we do talk they are excited and doing good things. They are going to come back sun-burnt and overflowing with stories about how God has been working in their hearts and the hearts of their readers, so I can't wait to hear all about it.
Then the last week of May I got to take some vacation and go visit my family back in Tacoma, WA. It was the first time my son Patrick has ever been to Washington, so it was a pretty special trip for us. Anyway, thanks for reading! You have a great day!