Here is another update on the Yellow Jackets For Christ campus ministry. We have all kinds of great things going on right now with the beginning of the new school year, but before I get to those, let me fill you in on all the great things that happened in July.
On a personal note, July was mainly eaten up by Sarah and I selling our house and buying a new one in Belle Fourche, 10 miles down the road. We wanted to downsize to a smaller place and, at the same time, the housing market in Spearfish went up so much that we thought we could make enough money on the sale to take a big bite out of our student loan debt. So we gussied up our place, sold it, and our students and church family kindly helped us move everything into a couple of storage units. We lived with Sarah's folks outside of Sturgis for a couple of weeks, closed on our new house in Belle Fourche, and then our lovely students and church family helped us move all our junk a second time.
The new place is wonderful and we did indeed take a good bite out of our student debt, so it was a worthwhile move, but we could not have done it without our faith community around here. I've been a part of a couple moves recently and it just keeps hitting me over and over how blessed we all are to be part of our church families. Our church families support each other through thick and thin. We sacrifice our time and energy for each other, we get our hands dirty, and we work hard to support God's family and it makes such a wild difference in our lives. We are better off for it.
“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
- Galatians 6:10
Back to ministry though, this year I co-directed Black Hills Bible Camp with Chris Livingston from the Sunset Church of Christ in Springfield, Missouri. It was our 50th anniversary camp, so it was big deal. We wanted to have a “Family Reunion” feel to it, so we made the theme “Come Home.” We rented a big shelter and had cake and giant inflatable bouncy castles and an obstacle course. We set up new background check procedures for our staff and brought back a lot of the folks who have meant so much to Black Hills Bible Camp over the years. It was a great week and I will tell you more about it in our August mail out, but for now here is a picture of our logo this year:
As far as our college students go, most of our efforts in July went towards repainting our campus house and fixing it up for the new school year. Every week the students and I would get together to eat and paint. We painted over our scuffed walls with lots of whites and blues and grays to open up the space and help more students to feel comfortable in our facility. Beside a couple of small spots here and there, we are done now and it looks terrific. The place is looking way better than it did back in April. We've also cut down brush, cleared out weeds, and brought in a new dishwasher and stove to replace our old half working ones. I've stoked about it! Our facility looks a hundred times better and is now ready for our new students coming in this Fall.
Campus For Christ Conference 2017
The other big thing that happened in July was my trip to the “Campus For Christ Conference.” I've been looking for a good campus minister conference to attend the last couple of years and haven't had a lot of luck, but this year the University Church of Christ in Canyon, Texas hosted the annual “Campus For Christ Conference” and offered to pay my way to it. I took them up on the offer and it was such a wonderful blessing to me. It was exactly what I was looking for this whole time.
It was like going to a family reunion full of people you don't know. I didn't recognize all the big names, but these were clearly my people and they were talking about things near and dear to my heart. They would talk about how to reach intellectual students, how to reach unmotivated students, how to balance family and work when your hours tied so closely with the college life, and how to work effectively with school administrations. I ate it up. The University Church of Christ's Campus Minister, Kent Mereness, organized the event and did a spectacular job.
Doing anything church-related in the north can be a bit of a Lone Ranger game. Churches up here are named after their towns more often than their streets. So I've desperately needed a way to connect with a wider network of campus ministers and this conference was exactly that.
The Myers Family
On top off all that, I got to visit with some wonderful folks down there in Canyon, including my dear friends the Myers. Tim and Aimee Myers are friends of mine from way back who kindly let me stay in their home and eat all their food the whole weekend long. Tim is the Youth Minister at the University Church of Christ and a fantastic guy. Here is a picture of their lovely family:
That's all I have for this mail out. You have a great day and thanks for reading!