2023: Challenges Ahead

Central Area Team – April 2022

Upon returning from Urbana and rebooting everything, look what happened! Another new year is upon us. I thought to kick-start 2023 at the Perry Boiler Room, I’d give you a run down on my team mates and some of what each is facing this year. There are 12 of us. You’re kidding me, Tim. Yup, just like the disciples. But they’re not all men. Maybe you can skim this for now and come back to pray for each of us later. We’d love your prayers. Here goes:

Sarah – Wash U, Grad students,

Is a mom of three kids, currently lives in Pittsburg, PA and is on staff at Washington University in St. Louis! Sarah’s husband Kaleb is wrapping up a year-long law clerkship with a federal judge in Pittsburg and is searching for a job with a firm in the St. Louis area. Pray for God to provide for their family as they return “home” to St. Louis in August. Sarah is also working on reaching full budget for her first ministry assignment (Grad Student Fellowship at Wash-U). This year has been a whirl-wind of displacement, but Sarah has made the best of it as she builds her young family and follows her call to ministry in the university. Pray for the endless list of details – job hunting for Kaleb, house hunting back in St. Louis and caring for their kids through all the transition.

Carrie – Assoc Regional Director,

Was joining our team retreat here in the photo. She’s one of our Regional leaders, but not a regular part of our team. You’re welcome to pray for her, but since she’s not on my team I’m gonna skip her! Sorry Carrie. We love you, though!

Josh – Wash U, Grad Students,

Works for Bayer in St. Louis, is a volunteer staff member for the grad chapter, recently married to Bethany. Josh and Linda (below) are the current local staff for Wash-U and are leading the chapter into an exciting phase of it’s history. They have been helping students get official recognition as a Registered Student Organization on Wash-U’s campus (no small feat). The group is regaining momentum in the wake of the pandemic. A leadership team is re-forming. Roles are getting clarified. And the group is working its way back to in-person gatherings. Pray for momentum and guidance for the student leaders. Pray for God to bless Josh’s investment in and care for students. Pray for Josh and Bethany as they journey through their first year of married life!

Kevin – Univ of Iowa, Grad Students,

Is approaching his 43rd year of student ministry, lives with his wife Maria in Iowa City and leads a very international Graduate Student Fellowship on campus. In addition to the grad group, Kevin leads a weekly zoom prayer gathering focusing on the war in Ukraine and its impact on IFES student ministry in the region. He is also serves with the Association of Campus Ministers at Univ of Iowa. One significant goal I’ll be working with Kevin on in 2023 is planning a sabbatical to happen in 2024. Kevin would like to build a sabbatical experience that involves international travel and connection with IFES student movements. Pray for us in the months ahead as we wade into the details and discern specific directions.

Tom – Iowa State, Faculty Fellowship,

As a retired faculty member at Iowa State, Tom has given himself to InterVarsity as a part-time GFM staff member. He leads the Iowa State Christian Faculty and Staff Fellowship – a group that meets twice monthly. This spring the group will be hosting a Veritas Forum featuring Wash-U professor Joshua Swamidass. Pray for Tom, his teammate Chad and his leadership team as they work on finding funding for the event and promote it on campus. Two addition challenges for Tom. Each year for the past 23 years Tom has taught a class at ISU called Faith and Science. It’s a half-semester honor’s seminar exploring the relationship between Christianity and Science. His class begins next week! Second challenge, pray for Tom’s wife Denise who has major health needs and spent about 9 weeks in the hospital in November and December.

Linda – Wash-U, Grad Students,

Joined our team a number of years ago now as a volunteer staff. The wife of a Wash-U law professor and as an alum of GFM ministry in Boston during her PhD years, she brings incredible coaching and leadership to the student fellowship. Everything I mentioned about Josh is also on Linda’s list. Student leadership development, coaching the chapter, serving and caring for students. Please also pray for Linda this year as she is caring for a close friend who is journeying through major health issues as well as supporting her husband’s family in their experience with similar medical needs. In both cases those in medical care are many hours away via air travel. Pray for Linda’s travel and her interaction with students which is often via zoom.

Mark – Kansas State, Faculty Fellowship,

This year will be Mark’s 30th year in campus ministry – about 14 of that with InterVarsity and 16 of that with Cru. Like Kevin, we’ll be working this year on framing up a sabbatical for Mark to begin as early as this summer. Mark works with several faculty groups in Manhattan and stays connected with faculty at Emporia State and a little bit at University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The biggest reason Mark could use a sabbatical leave is to work on a book he’s authoring. Pray for us as we work on his sabbatical in the coming months, connections we need to make to sustain his ministry while he detaches, and for the longest period of time we can manage so he can complete his book!

Jake – University of Kansas, Grad students.

Jake and Chad are bi-vocational, part-time staff. Jake works as a chaplain in hospice care as his other job. Working two jobs always sounds “doable” on paper, but it more than doubles some aspects of time management and a divided focus. It always adds up to way more than a full-time experience. Pray for Jake and Chad both as they are constantly switching back and forth between work environments. Jake is rebuilding his grad student work at KU. Pray for fruitful results as he is connecting with new students – he is especially focusing on involving International Students.

Chad – Iowa State University, Faculty and Grad students,

Chad is the guy whose back-yard I camped in back in October! Chad’s other-job is organic farming. If I had a prize for the most number of moving parts in a staff worker’s family, Church and work world, I’d have to give it Chad. His kids are like a nest of bees coming and going in warp-drive. Farming is not the kind of work that stays in its margins, let’s say. And a trip to campus or church from his farm takes 38 minutes (one-way). Pray for Chad and Tom as they ramp up this spring for the Veritas Forum. This will be potentially a huge, very well attended event. Chad and Tom are working on funding, promotion and follow-up. Pray for all the networking that needs to happen. Pray for Chad as he sinks further into GFM work at ISU – Chad just joined our team this past year!

George Stulac – St. Louis Faculty Ministry,

This George leads several faculty groups at Wash-U, Wash-U Medical, Forrest Park Community College and Lindenwood University. George does a full and fruitful work and is at a stage in his ministry career where leadership succession is of vital importance. Pray for faculty ministry leadership in the St. Louis area. Pray for God to raise up more staff to run along side George in this season of ministry. Pray also for George’s role at Wash-U in particular as it relates to the Carver Project, a strategic faculty ministry InterVarsity partners closely with. God has been providing several significant volunteer leaders and workers in George’s orbit. Pray for more. Pray for discernment about how to best use who he is providing.

George Gardner – Kansas State, International Students,

This George leads GFM’s student ministry in Manhattan, KS. Volunteer Teams and partnerships with churches and other ministries are a big part of George’s strategy. Students are weekly engaged in bible study. Several of George’s students are Christian, but the majority are not. Pray for George and his teams to effectively befriend and witness to the vast potential represented by thousands of K-State internationals from all over the world. George has also been taking groups of students to Bear Trap Ranch for a week of fun in the Colorado Rockies as they also encounter Jesus in scripture and friendship with Christians.

Ben – Wash-U, Faculty Ministry Advisor.

Ben is one of many answers to prayer for God to raise up leadership for faculty ministry in St. Louis. As a new faculty member in Mathematics, Ben is a strategic volunteer in George Stulac’s ministry. He’s an informal member of our area team (ha! but not in the photo above) which frees him up to serve with George on Wash-U’s campus. Ben’s life as a Christ follower has a constant undercurrent of spiritual formation that shows itself in Rule of Life thinking and practice. George will be leading a couple of the Wash-U groups with Ben this spring. It will be a unique opportunity for Ben to learn ministry from George while bringing his gifts and passions for discipleship.

Moi – GFM Area Team Leader

I have just decided this post is quite long enough. Now and then it’s ok to not say much about yourself! More on me in other posts. I’d love your prayers this week as I get my Creighton/UNO Grad Student brunches started up again.

Thanks for reading. Thanks even more for praying!


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