This is my grand-daughter. Hanging out with her dad in his lab. Today is a very special day for Aaron. Prelims. Aaron is a PhD student in aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois. As I write this, he is with his committee presenting his preliminary paper and taking an oral exam. Prelims are a very, very big deal. When he passes this phase of his research, the finish line to a grueling journey is finally in sight. It’s how his department gives him the final, final green light to complete his research and dissertation.
I have to say after being in GFM ministry for almost two years, this is the most exciting moment for me. When I connect with students and faculty members in my ministry context, I’ll forever picture my own son and his experiences. I’ve seen how hard he’s worked to master every subject relevant to his work. He’s modeled system after system and fed it to this hungry wind-tunnel again and again. He’s built UAVs. Most flew just fine. One crashed.
I’ve also seen him become a dad in the midst of all his career-launching training. I’ve had the joy of watching every stage of his work come together and the joy of watching his daughter learn to walk and talk at the same time. PhD students are without exaggeration the best of the best. They advance the understanding of our world and how to solve its biggest challenges. They often go on to do the kind of work that eventually changes the way the rest of the planet thinks! They also have families and marriages and in-laws. I can’t imagine working with a more strategic people group.
When you think about GFM, picture my son. Say a prayer for Aaron today. 2019 is the 8th year he’s been an aero-space student at the University of Illinois (he’s done all three levels of his program there). Pray that he’s able to keep all that stuff he’s learned in place as questions are fired at him. Pray for the decision his committee will make today – for the input they’ll give him to help him conclude. Pray for his research to wrap up in the months ahead and for the last stages of writing.
And Poppy. Aaron is so blessed with a beautiful wife and daughter. Poppy is the most delightful de-stressor Aaron could hope for in his life. He and Savannah are doing a great job building a family, trusting God and staying on track till Aaron finishes. When graduation finally comes, wouldn’t it be nice if those people in the funny hats would also call spouses and children up to that stage and confer some kind of advanced degree on them as well? Pray that this grad student and his family are able to get to the finish-line. And finish well. Thanks!
Be blessed and stay well.