Hi friends and family! I hope you all have had a terrific couple of months! I know for me, these past couple of months have been extremely hectic but also some of the most encouraging months. For those of you that don't know, outside of everything I'm doing for H2O I also started seminary in August and am getting married in 12 twelve days; so, life has been rather wild.
This semester has been strange, far stranger than any other semester during my time in Cincinnati. Student organizations are greatly limited in what we can do. No longer can we go out on campus and pass our flyers about our church or meet in large groups and simply draw people in. In fact, much of our typical activity on campus has been limited to simple contact evangelism. And by no means does my use of limited there imply any less effective or inferior; it is simply the only thing we have left to do. And God has used it beyond our wildest dreams. Due to time, I myself have not been able to go out on campus as much as some of my co-workers, but everything I have heard testifies that people are hungry. I don’t know if it’s just this generation, or because of Covid, or due to the riots that happened in the summer, or because of the election, or a combination of those plus others that have made students so spiritually hungry. But they are. And it has been incredible to witness our God doing incredible things in a year where I wasn’t sure what would happen. None of our staff team did. There was so many unknowns we didn’t want this to be a year of survival and God has provided in so many ways. Our church has grown this year. No so much in numbers (we are about where we were last fall) but I have seen our dependence on God and the faith of our church steadily become more dependent upon Him.
The concept of God providing for us plays perfectly into our sermon series this semester too, which is aptly titled, Provider. In it, we are diving into the truth we see in scripture about God has provided for his people time and time again and how He promises to continue doing so. We might not be able to meet in our typical spot, Lindner Center, or be able to have two separate services, but God has provided for us nonetheless and in ways I never would have expected. Instead of meeting indoors we are meeting outside in Burnet Woods, a park adjacent to UC’s campus. The city has graciously been willing to work with us to allow us to use their space for our church service and (aside from the acorns occasionally dropping from the trees) have seen so much fruit from that space.
Outside of Sunday Service, the Life Group that Laura and I co-lead has been a huge blessing to both of us and—I would like to think—all those who are a part of it. We have good-sized group of committed freshmen and some upper classmen who have made our group feel like family. In total, we have roughly twenty people attending each week and have recently moved our Life Groups to individual homes due to the colder weather (we were previously meeting outside in Sigma Sigma Commons). The biggest blessing to our group has been one of my co-workers, best friends, and groomsmen, Ethan, being a part of our Life Group this year. My spiritual giftings tend to lean much more on the teaching side of things. Give me something to teach or preach on and I could go on for days. Ethan, while also being incredibly wise, is incredible at creating community and thus I have seen our Life Group get so much closer as a result of having him working with Laura and I.
Our Lead Pastor, Grant, told me the bulk of seminary work was reading when I was applying and made sure I was up for the reading. Now, anyone that knows me knows I love reading and am fairly good at it. I can read quickly and pick up on a lot of details while doing so. So, when Grant mentioned the reading to me, I kind of laughed it off. “Nothing can be that much reading for me,” I told myself. I was wrong. Very wrong. I have loved my time in seminary thus far, but if I am not working for H2O at the time or with Laura, I’m reading to make sure I don’t get too far behind. Hence the reason this newsletter has been put off for so long, and that is my fault. I have had to completely remake my schedule multiple times over to get a handle on everything on going on and have not made the time for writing this. So, to my loyal supporters, I’m sorry I have not been in the best of touch over the past few months. Now that I have a grip on the workload of seminary and am learning to say no to H2O things, I will be getting back onto my monthly schedule, with the next one of these likely coming sometime early to mid-November.
On the fun side of seminary, however, I am loving the reading I am having to do (even though it is slowly killing me). It is nice to enjoy reading for school once again and be enthralled by the subject. For this semester, I am taking three classes: Introduction to Seminary, Introduction to Great Commission Studies, and a Hermeneutics class. The hermeneutics one is by far my favorite since Biblical interpretation is one of my favorite things to study. And if you would want to know more about everything I’ve been learning, I have a growing list of books to point you towards so just let me know!
Lastly, Laura and I are getting married in twelve days. Exciting? Yes. Equally terrifying? Also, yes. This has been a long time coming at this point, as it feels like we just started wedding planning a month ago. But we are so close, and I believe both Laura and I are just ready to be married and no longer be living 40 minutes apart and to begin doing ministry together as a married couple. We have a little apartment a few blocks off campus and feel incredibly blessed by all of you who support the two of us and the mission God is doing on the University of Cincinnati’s campus. If you would like to watch the ceremony, we will be live streaming the ceremony and I’ll update you all with more info on that as we get closer to the day of!
Once again, I want to thank all of you who are supporting me (and now Laura!) either financially or via prayer through all of this as you are making it possible for me and the rest of H2O Cincinnati's staff team to reach the students at the University of Cincinnati. If you are not a part of our financial support team, I ask that you prayerfully consider joining us and our mission with H2O Cincinnati at a monthly amount by clicking on the give button on the top of your screen.