Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Summer's here, which means my job is shifting gears for the next few months. Since most students go off-campus for the summer (to work, travel, visit family, etc.), I'll be focusing more on my study program and raising support for the 2013-2014 school year. (Thankfully not all of the students are gone - a handful have stayed in town to work or take classes this summer, and orientation sessions for incoming students are being held throughout the month of June. I'd probably spiral into deep depression if I had to be separated from all of my students all summer! Not really. But almost. The students are the best part of my job!)

I'm currently reading God's Way of Peace by Horatius Bonar. It's a short book (only about 100 pages), but it's packed full of wisdom and encouragement. I read it for an RUF small group I was involved in as a freshman (or maybe sophomore?) in college, and I liked it the first time, but I'm developing a new appreciation for it the second time around. In a nutshell, Bonar writes that true and lasting peace doesn't come from looking to anything we do or achieve, but rather from resting in what Jesus has done. Golden. I highly recommend it!

Front Cover
"Accept, then, the character of God as given in the gospel; read aright His blessed name as it is written upon the cross; take the simple interpretation given of His mind toward the ungodly, as you have it, at length, in the glad tidings of peace. Is that not enough?" 
- Horatius Bonar, God's Way of Peace

My goal for the summer is to raise enough support to cover the 2013-2014 school year, so that I can focus on spending time with students and my on-campus ministry responsibilities during the school year. I'll need to raise a total of approximately $30,000 for the next year. I have approximately $12,000 pledged in monthly donations, which leaves me with about $18,000 to raise in one-time gifts and/or monthly pledges over the summer. (Check out the Support Me tab for more information about where that money goes and how to donate! And please don't hesitate to call or email me with any questions!)

So, $18,000. That's a big number. But if there's anything I learned while raising support last summer, it's this: God provides. Also, it all adds up. It sounds cliché, but it's true. Last summer, I had to raise over $28,000, and God provided abundantly - in the form of donations ranging anywhere from $5 to $5,000. So if you have been thinking about donating (or if you've donated in the past and are thinking about donating again), let me unashamedly ask you to please donate what you can. Every donation helps.

Donations can come in the form of one-time gifts (of any size) or pledges to donate a certain amount every month. Here's a breakdown of what that might look like in monthly pledges:

10 pledges of $25/month
9 pledges of $50/month
5 pledges of $100/month
2 pledges of $150/month

In one-time donations, it might look something like this:

10 donations of $1,000
10 donations of $500
15 donations of $100
15 donations of $50
16 donations of $25
35 donations of $10

Of course, these are just here to give you (and me) a practical idea of what I need to be working toward this summer. None of that is set in stone, so if you feel inclined to make a monthly pledge of $67 or a one-time gift of $324, you are more than welcome to do so. :) 

Happy summer, everyone! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Year One Wrap-Up

Well, I've officially been working for RUF for a year! A year ago, I was finishing up a fun, overwhelming ("drinking from a fire hydrant"), encouraging, scary, and eye-opening week of RUF new intern orientation. At the end of that week, I had made a lot of great new friends (YAY for friendterns!!), and I was excited (and intimidated) about moving to WCU and starting to work with students in the fall, and I was absolutely terrified about raising money over the summer.

If there's one thing this experience has taught me, it's that God is so much more faithful than I could ever know. I learned that raising money is not my forte (there's just something inherently awkward about asking people for money), but God was faithful to provide the needed funds to get me to WCU a few days before the fall semester began. My originally planned living situation ended up falling through a few weeks before I moved to Sylva, but God provided a great alternative just in time. I love my apartment - a roomy duplex with lots of windows in walking distance from downtown Sylva - and my roommate is great!

Fall semester was a time of transition - getting used to the area with all of its perks and quirks, figuring out what exactly my role on campus was, getting to know students, getting to know the campus and culture of WCU, and getting plugged in to a local church plant (Redeemer Church Sylva).

Toward the end of the fall semester, just as I'd gotten nice and comfortable, the campus minister I was working with (Rev. Dave Osborne) accepted a call to pastor a church in Greenville, NC. He and his family were sad to say goodbye to the students at WCU, and the students and I were sad to see them go. Throughout the rest of the fall semester and for the first few weeks of the spring semester, Dave worked with me to prepare me for the transition. A search committee was already working to find a new campus minister for RUF at WCU, but until then, I was going to be the only RUF staff at WCU. The prospect of doing my job (along with the added responsibilities I was picking up) without Dave around absolutely terrified  me. I felt totally unqualified for my job, and I was afraid everything would just fall apart. (I have a mind that tends to head straight to worst-case scenarios.) Dave kept reminding me that it was going to be ok - God would still be at work at WCU, God would continue to provide, and it wouldn't be the end of the world if things didn't always go as planned.

And God certainly was faithful this semester. Yes, life got busier and I had significantly more work to do. Yes, I missed Dave and Jenny and the kids, and at times it was really lonely without "co-workers". Yes, some things didn't go exactly as I planned or hoped. Yes, I made mistakes. But through it all, God continued to provide, both spiritually and practically. Students helped with a lot of the on-campus ministry responsibilities (helping with events, leading music for Large Group, etc), people from my church stepped up to have students over for meals and events, and pastors and RUF campus ministers from around the area came to preach at Large Group each week (some even drove up to 2 hours one way!). I was really blessed by the prayers and encouragement I got from RUF staff, my church, and friends. On top of all that, my supporters continued to give faithfully, so I didn't have to spend much time working on raising money throughout the semester. God is so good!! By the time the semester ended, I was tired... but I was also sad to see the semester end. It was a fun semester, despite all the craziness.

God also continued to work in the hearts and lives of students. At the last Large Group of the semester, we had a time for students to share how God had been faithful to them throughout the past year. It was so sweet to be able to sit back and listen as students talked about how God had provided them with a community in RUF, how God had been teaching them about Himself and about His grace, and so many other things. (We eventually had to stop for time's sake, but we could've stayed all night!)

God has also been faithful to provide RUF at WCU with a new campus minister!!! Brian Thomas and his wife Jessica and their two children will be moving here next week! Students are excited to have them here, I'm excited to begin working with them, and they're excited to be coming here! Please be in prayer for them over the next few weeks and months as they make the transition.

This post is already much longer than I was planning (there was a lot of catching up to do!), so I'll leave you with a few pictures of highlights of this past semester... this has been one of the best and most challenging years of my life, and I'm excited about this coming year!

Night Skiing at Cataloochee!


Not-A-Date Night (photo scavenger hunt)

RUF Summer Conference in Panama City Beach!