Back in College Again

Friends…thanks for your grace…it is always my intention to keep this blog up to date and to share articles about real things including my family updates but so much more than that. Well, the last few weeks have been intense with ending the year and getting ready for my classes and taking my classes, and the blog has been last on the to-do list. Yes, even this achiever super-motivated to-do list girl can’t get it all done. So, bear with this long family update and less posts over the next few weeks (I still have a month left of classes/reading/assignments) and I will get back to your regularly scheduled programming 🙂

This is the stack of books I have had to read or use in my classes this summer. I had to read ALL of Grasping God’s Word and Old Testament Today. The classes are going really well and I am loving learning, but it is definitely hard to stretch this old muscle of reading/studying/writing papers and I feel like I am back in college again.

In lieu of finishing my 12 page paper this past Saturday, I got to play and relax this weekend with the family. It was so great to be able to spend time with friends, take a visit to the zoo and amusement park, enjoy a Memorial Day parade in our little neighborhood, go to the beach, cookout on a grill that we found at a steal at a yard sale, and enjoy this little pool that a friend gave us. I am so thankful for those who have served to make this freedom possible for us and I was also feeling thankful for so many things on Memorial Day that made the day feel like we were “home” and not in a strange, huge city where we don’t know anyone. Sweet Kinsley kept commenting about how the beach was so clean and there wasn’t much trash…sweet NYC kid who is used to trash everywhere!

In addition to the filming of the tv show that they did on our street, we also found out that “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was being filmed in the house that is just around the corner from the girls’ school today. They had all these old-fashioned cars and people dressed like they were way back in the day. I may or may not have walked by there like 5 times today to try and get a glimpse of Mrs. Maisel…didn’t happen, but we heard they will be back to film again at that house, so here’s to hoping…

And then on to other random pics from the last few weeks…

When I was pregnant with Brynn and before we found out what we were having, if I was honest, I really wanted a boy so that Blake would have a buddy to play with. God answered that prayer in such a surprising way. These two are best buddies and have such fun playing together…I seriously LOVE it and can’t get enough. She isn’t going to know what to do when he goes off to school next year.

Ed got to attend the commissioning for Jake, one of our students who is graduating and is going full-time with the army. Ed has loved connecting with him these last few years and is excited to see how God uses Jake in Germany this next year.

Our house has been filled with LOTS of games and time spent outside enjoying the warmer weather. While I am growing very tired with Zingo and Uno, it’s a nice change up from light saber battles and gun fights :).

How our kids watch TV…so creative!

Mommy and daddy all dressed up going out with friends to our annual Cru Vision Dinner. It was such a fun evening dressed up with somewhere to go! Love these friends!

Another Year Down

Well, the 2018-2019 college school year is officially in the books. These past few weeks, we had our end of year planning, senior send-offs, last meetings of the semester, and our end of the year team social.

Let me share some of the highlights from the year:

  • We saw 8 new believers this year and of the 8, 4 got involved and stuck around. This has been a real sticking point for us and something we were majorly trusting God for this year – for students that make decisions for Christ to stay involved and get plugged in with campus community and their own church.
  • We had 644 spiritual conversations and the Gospel was shared 178 times!
  • We had 7 freshmen get and stay involved – this was another area were we had struggled and were trusting God for growth and He did it!!
  • We currently have 4 movements launched – Queens College, SJU Cru, SJU AIA, and SJU Valor.
  • We have 4 students going on a summer mission (some with Cru and some with outside organizations) and 5 seniors being sent after graduation to their full-time workplace (one with EY in NY, one with a job at Facebook, one in the Army).
  • We had 9 students aligned and multiplying their lives into others on their campus.
  • We have 1 guy who graduated from Queens College going back to serve another year at a country in the Middle East, before coming back for medical school.
  • For me personally, re-engaging more on campus and being able to coach and connect with a lady on our staff team to help her on campus has been a HUGE highlight. I have loved interacting with students regularly, challenging myself, and stretching and working a muscle that I haven’t regularly used in a long time. It has been a highlight for me!

But, even with all the amazing things that have happened on campus this year and students lives’, this year has been a tough and emotional and exhausting one (especially this semester). After all the drama at St. John’s with getting kicked off (picture below is from the first time we were kicked off during an activity fair), making strides in becoming a group, AIA trying to be pushed through, us potentially being vetted, and so much more, we ended the year on a low note. After a meeting this week, we are VERY unsure what is going to happen with any of our ministries at St. John’s. While we have people in our corner and AIA is very much wanted there, we are still getting lots of kick back and being told we have to be an official group, if the university would even approve us, and staff may never be allowed to be freely on campus. There are lots of conversations happening right now between our staff, Intervarsity staff (IV used to be here and was at one time an approved organization even though they are inactive), campus ministry people, the head priest for athletes, athletes themselves, others in the athletic department, and so on and so forth.

Would you please pray for alignment and partnership with Intervarsity, for paths to be cleared for us to become official on campus, that AIA people won’t decide to just do athlete ministry without us, and for our students (and for the Lord to add even more students!) to passionately fight for a group like Cru and AIA on campus where they can practice their beliefs? This break and what happens at the beginning of the school year can go one of about 7 different ways and can make or break whether we are allowed on campus. God isn’t held back by campus administrations, rules, politics, hesitations from people, or anything of the sort and we desperately need Him to move and pave a way for us on campus. The spiritual warfare has been strong but GOD has and will have victory!

So, whats next for us?

Reading all/almost all of these books. With Cru, we have to take seminary-level courses to keep with our ongoing development AND to comply with IRS standards. Ed has to finish his final class (just one!) this summer and because I usually was watching the kids while he did his courses, I have to start working on completing mine this summer by taking 3 classes. Normally, we would travel to Colorado to take them, but because they didn’t have any apartments or housing to offer to large families, they are allowing us to take the classes virtually, with the exception of one class I have to take in Austin in June. So, Ed and I will switch places a little this summer as he studies and continues to work but steps in more with the kids so I can complete my classes. As you can see, it is a LOT of reading and work and I will be stretching another muscle I haven’t used in a while. Excited to learn but nervous about balancing it all!

Then, in July, we will travel to South Carolina to meet with ministry partners and then travel to Colorado for our bi-annual national staff conference. We are pretty exhausted from the school year and are excited to switch gears for a few months. Thank you for your partnership, prayers, and for another great school year down! Praying for bigger things to come….