Wake up. Shower. Breakfast with other IV staff in the hotel next door. Morning plenary – lots of worship songs that I wish I could sing better, but glad there’s a playlist. Incredible stories of God bringing hope to human trafficking victims. Students testimonies about rekindled hope for the broken-hearted and depressed. Prayer. Lunch. Workshops on Loneliness, Men and Women in Ministry, LGBTQ+, and reaching the intensely secular and skeptical. Wei Ramen for dinner. Evening plenary – more worship, Bishop Claude Alexander. Catch details on the schedule, speakers and when you can find plenary sessions being streamed (Eastern Time Zone).
We have one more full day of events extending into the night tomorrow. We’ll ring in the new year with a communion celebration! Pray for God to connect with students! My job at Urbana has been hosting afternoon workshops. It’s been a fun place to serve as I’ve watched so many different ministry leaders interact with students, hungry to learn. Here’s a small sample of Better Together: Women and Men Partnering to Advance God’s Mission.
Feel free to catch a live stream of one of the sessions at the above link. If you’re curious about the worship being shared, here’s a Spotify Play-list where you’ll find the songs we’ve been learning this week. It’s really cool to experience the way the circular stage is set so that the crowd is surrounding the speakers, and musicians. It’s been festive and upbeat!
You’ve probably notice we’ve been having horrendous weather here at the close of 2022. Did all that vicious snow wind and cold kill your conference, Tim? NO. We are off to a terrific start. YES, weather was a huge challenge. A faculty member from one of my campuses could not attend because he couldn’t get back to his hometown before leaving to come here to Indy. We also have heard story after story of upended travel plans. A group of three of my GFM colleagues were trying to leave Raleigh-Durham two days ago. At the airport at 5 in the morning they discovered their flights had been cancelled. Solution: they rented a car and safely drove 9 hours to Indianapolis! Another staff member I talked to yesterday left FROM BUFFALO, NEW YORK (again, driving instead of flying – no car rentals were even open). His wife and three children got in their own vehicle and DROVE to Urbana 22!
At last night’s first session there was heavy atmosphere of “God got you here and has something good to give you!” How many students are attending? There are about 5,700 here. Actually the smallest Urbana I have ever attended (my first Urbana was 1984). Would you pray for us this week – that God would meet students powerfully and give them good things? I’ll check in with you several times during the week. Use the link above to learn more about the speakers and link to a live-stream of the plenary events! Hope you can sample some of Urbana this week!
As the year comes to the end, I’d still love to hear from you about your ministry partnership plans for 2022. The following links are here to help you with any year end giving you may be waiting to do. Thank you so much for your partnership!
Last weekend, InterVarsity in Omaha hosted its annual progressive Christmas dinner party. After a two year break due to Covid it was wonderful to be together again and especially great to bring grad students! Our group has been growing this fall as we’ve focused on developing Spiritual Friendships. You’ve heard lots of reports about Syntrek coming together as a spiritual formation strategy. Check out the latest Syntrek article here from the front page of the fledgling website. In addition to building spiritual friendship pairs, we’ve enjoyed monthly brunch with local faculty guest mentors. It was also a nice surprise to discover another small group of Creighton Pharmacy students at the event we were completely unaware of on campus! We got a chance to meet them and extend an invitation to our events next spring!
Thanks for helping pray this group into existence! The students in the picture with me above represent about half the group. As we head into next semester, we’d love your prayers for involving more students as well as mapping out more brunch conversations. Students are just now finishing up exams and many are heading home for the holidays. I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks with our family here in Omaha, then heading out to Urbana the day after Christmas!
Urbana 22 – Rise Up!
We’d appreciate your prayers as thousands of students get registered to attend. Most Urbana delegates are undergraduate students, but the triennial missions convention is hosted by the entire InterVarsity staff team nationwide. This year we’ll be in the book of Acts exploring the theme: You shall be my Witnesses. I’ll be coming to you with live updates from the gathering, but if you’d like to see the entire convention program including featured speakers here’s a great place to explore:
Thanks so much for your prayers and support of the Perry family. Thank you for your prayers for my students, faculty and staff team. It’s been a full and rewarding Fall semester with a lot to look back on and celebrate. I hope you are enjoying a terrific Advent Season!