There’s nothing quite like staying overnight at someone’s place. When you’re a staff director with InterVarsity who is trying not to kill your budget visiting 10 staff in 4 states, you get creative. At the risk of having your car stolen, you spend the night with your staff members near campus. When you visit a young family of 6 who lives on a farm in the middle of Iowa, there are other hazards to contend with. And you still have to be creative! I had a blast last week on my Iowa State visit.
One of the best culinary reviews I could ever receive for my pizza came from Levi, son of Chad Britten, bi-vocational GFM staff member and organic crop farmer. Chad told me Levi said to him, “Dad, that was the best pizza I think we have ever had.” Think of it. A teenager’s body is like a pizza super-highway with more traffic per year in pizza pies than at any other time in one’s life. Of course the average teen palate is not fully developed all the way up the nutritional pyramid, let’s say. But as regards pizza – I think this young man might just know what he’s talking about.
Fun pics around the Britten’s farm.
Staff families are a wonder to behold up close and personal. God’s faithfulness shines out from them. They are among the most resourceful, close-nit and intelligent eco-systems you’ll find anywhere on the planet. The Brittens farm. They have four very good looking, very above average kids active in everything from jazz to soccer. When you enter the foyer of their home, you’ll pass what looks like a church-pew (no kidding) PERFECT for sitting down and taking your muddy shoes off. OR, as the case was when I visited, perfect for about a dozen plastic Walmart shopping bags each with a dozen tomatoes in it. “You should take several with you, Tim, on your way home. We had to pick the last of them the other day. Cold weather is coming – we’ve got to bring them indoors. We’ll be eating these till Thanksgiving (even though we’re giving them away as fast as we can).”
I dared not displace a single person in this household from their bed. They live in a pretty small farm house with one bathroom. So I asked the Brittens something unthinkable to most of my readers. “Would it be ok if I camp in my tent somewhere out in your 5 acre yard?” I nestled in north of the house within ear-shot of one of those wind-turbine generators. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Not an abundance of sleep that night, but it was so fun to hang out at the Britten farm and make two of my best pizzas so their busy family could eat in shifts around soccer practice and a school concert. I enjoyed a stroll around the property seeing if I could find anything interesting to shoot as the sun went down. It was honestly one of the best staff visits I think I’ve ever had!
After spending the next day with Chad and Tom at ISU, I zoomed back home in the Black Pearl (our 2014 Honda Pilot). The next three days I spent down in Kansas visiting staff at KU in Lawrence and at K-State over in Manhattan. One highlight of my time in Manhattan was meeting a student in George Gardner’s ministry with Internationals. I’ve heard George talk about this guy for three years now and the unusual circumstances surrounding his arrival at K-State. In his home country Christians are the vast minority – and it was there that he actually had completed some biblical studies! As he wraps up his PhD in Chemistry, he explained to me how he longs to locate with his first job near a place where he can attend a seminary! He’d like to land a teaching post so he can at the same time complete a Theological Masters degree from a seminary! He’s interested in a top-shelf program as well – hopefully at a place like Trinity Evangelical Divinity or Dallas Theological Seminary.
Pray for George and this incredible PhD student. He’ll be defending his dissertation (on some variation of organic compound synthesis related to cancer treatment). He’s been such a terrific part of the International fellowship George works with. He and another student from his country are a source of vibrant witness in their department. Pray for God to bless George’s leadership. George and Sharon are wonderful models of servant evangelism. The event in the pics above is Brunch and Bible every Saturday morning. Sharon, George’s wife, recently retired from a career in food service. She does in fact cook many of the worlds greatest dishes (including the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten). My cinnamon roll palate IS quite refined I’ll have you know.
Thanks for your prayers! Please keep my local GSCF group in mind. We have our second brunch gathering of the semester tomorrow at my home!