Two students!

We’re rebuilding our GFM group at Creighton. If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be relaunching the group of 20 students we had then, with just two students this fall, I wouldn’t have guessed it in my wildest pandemic imagination. Pandemics can be hard on group moral! Maybe you’ve been experiencing that in your communities.

Last year we were struggling to maintain momentum in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions (the flywheel effect in reverse if you will). We had a really encouraging New Student Outreach. We’d met about a dozen new students in addition to the dozen or so who were active the year before. This time last year little did I realize we wouldn’t see a single student at an in-person activity all year! No kidding.

Vapid expectations crept through my efforts to restart “the group” this August. No Student Activity Fair hosted by Creighton. No new student contacts to speak of. Just an aging list of last year’s contacts. Three students indicated that they would not be returning to the group, but were starting a group of their own with pharmacy colleagues. (That’s actually terrific – they have a national organization they can connect with that is just focused on Pharmacy). I got the text seen above from No-Religion-Nate (hope you have a nice life, Nate, not sure why you signed up last year in the first place). I heard back from Lela – a student who attended GFM once her first year, but withdrew from the OTD program last fall. Crickets from 14 others after three attempts.

And then there was Madison. And Kayshe ( long a, silent e ). Thank you Lord!

Two students! That’s our group at this point. I’m very grateful for them both and very encouraged with their positive outlook. Madison and Kayshe have zoomed with me for the past three weeks. Just getting to know them, sharing some GFM vision with them and discerning how I can invest in their leadership. They are a part of a group that has started on its own this fall. Pretty much just students in their class (OT-2s). I felt it best to just coach them and see what kind of resources I can give them for the group they are already in. I’ve still made no contacts with new students!

Tim, how is your team doing? (a fly-over)

Kevin / Univ of Iowa / Iowa City: In his 41st year on staff, reaching grad students and some faculty, meeting totally via zoom this fall, also teaching a class the university is doing at a local prison!

Jake / Univ of Kansas / Lawrence: Just finished a year-long chaplain residency program at St. Luke’s in Kansas City, has been part time with GFM this past year, has had a terrific year of MPD with his budget in great shape, also rebuilding his group after key students moved on from last spring.

GFM Central Area playing Tenzi on zoom at our Regional Staff Conference.

Mark / K-State / Manhattan: Working with several faculty groups, recently connecting with an ecumenical campus minister group reading an engaging book about Jesus, and when he’s not busy with other things…he’s writing a book (something about God and Star Trek).

Linda / Washington Univ / St. Louis: New staff member as of this spring, is herself alumnus of GFM at Harvard, she and her team mate are rebuilding the Wash-U grad student fellowship, and when she’s not helping her husband be a Wash-U professor, she’s serving a local non-profit called St. Louis Bicycle Works.

Tom / Iowa State / Ames: Leads a faculty ministry, is an emeritus professor at ISU in biological sciences, in addition to GFM ministry Tom teaches an ISU honors seminar each year called Faith and Science. He’s gearing up for another session next spring.

George / K-State / Manhattan: Currently the the one leading our team in Back to Face to Face Ministry! George does a thing called Bike Night, reaching international students through food, the Gospel and bike repair! He and his wife also host Brunch and Bible on Saturday mornings in their home!

Josh / Washington Univ / St. Louis: Is Linda’s team mate in leading the grad student part of our ministry at Wash-U, works full time in a lab in addition to volunteering his time with GFM, loves making (and selling and delivering) his own dumplings! Covid has thus far deprived me of tasting them, but I really like Josh anyway and am so glad he’s on our team!

George / Washington Univ / St. Louis: Yes, two Georges. Yes, three staff at Wash-U. This George leads faculty groups including groups at Lindenwood and St. Louis Metro, partners with our undergrad ministries at St. Louis University and Webster. All of his groups have gone virtual since last spring. George has a 15 year old grandson named Warren who is battling leukemia.

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