Seventeen years ago today my wife and I drove into Palo Alto in a rented yellow Penske truck. God had called us to minister to Stanford University and we were reporting for duty.
The years since then haven’t always been easy, but they have been extremely rewarding. Here are some thoughts running through my mind on this anniversary:
- God does the work. I remember sitting down with a student a few months ago. She had sought me out after coming to faith through reading. She had never been to a Chi Alpha worship service. She had never heard me preach. She had just spent time thinking and reading. Eventually she was convinced and her life was changed. So many of the best things we’ve seen happen in ministry have happened independently of any plan or effort of ours. God does the work and graciously invites us to tag along.
- University ministry really does touch the world. Last year, Paula hung a map on our wall and we began putting a dot on the map whenever an international student ate a meal in our home. In one year we had over 50 international students from over 25 nations sit down to eat with us. In Acts 19:9–10 we read that because Paul spent two years ministering daily at an educational institution “all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.” That strategy still works today.
- University ministry really does build godly leaders. By my count, we have alumni working in the governments of three nations, we’ve got alumni serving as professors at five universities (including three professors at Stanford), we’ve had two alumni make the Forbes “30 Under 30” list, one make the MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators Under 35” list, several serving as pastors and missionaries, and many more doing amazing things all over the world. Some of these alumni came to Christ through our ministry while others were discipled in their existing faith. We are thrilled at all God has done in them and in awe of what He is doing through them.
- We couldn’t have done it alone. I’ve got to extend a huge thank YOU to everyone who has supported us in our ministry. We are so grateful to everyone who has prayed for us, to all the staff who have worked alongside us, to the generous people who have given to help make this ministry possible, and to the students who have participated in our ministry. None of this could have happened without your partnership. We are grateful to you and also grateful to God for you.
So anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about after seventeen years of ministry on the Farm. I’m excited to see what God does over the next seventeen!
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