The coffee shop was fairly quiet on a Friday afternoon. They had the front door propped open and the slightly cool April air drifted throughout the room. A few men in business suits were gathered in a corner, talking rather seriously. And a handful of college students were scattered about, wearing sweats of course; appearing to be studying for their upcoming finals.
I found my way into the rather small space and quietly drifted to an available table in the center of the room. She walked in shortly after, smiling and looking beautiful as she always does. We dropped our bags and proceeded to order. She a cafe au lait, myself an iced vanilla latte.
We've only been meeting for a little over two months, but there's a vulnerability in our relationship that would lead you to believe we've known each other for years. Her summer break will begin shortly and she'll be starting an internship with a prestigious accounting firm in the city. For myself, I'll begin transitioning off campus and into my summer ministry role starting on Monday. This is the last Friday afternoon we'll have together for a while.
We share about our weeks and then I ask her to share three blessings and three challenges of the past year. What starts off as simply a list evolves into a long, intimate conversation about our lives lived surrendered to the Lord. As I've done during every other meeting, I share John 15. And we continue to talk about our summer breaks in light of scriptures commands and promises. Our time is limited and we soon find ourselves wishing their was more. I close in prayer and I can't help but pray the Lord would hold her near this summer break.
This is the rhythm of our ministry. We spend nine months with our students, equipping, teaching, and praying together. And then, as their summer break approaches we begin to ask them questions like, "At the end of my summer what do I dream could be true of my walk with God and my spiritual influence?, Who could I partner with to reach my vision?, What do I need to grow in or acquire to reach my vision?, What action steps will I take?"
Some students will move back in with their parents and work jobs from their high school days, others will begin internships, and a handful will join us staff on summer missions trips across the country and world. As staff we'll lead those mission trips or we'll partake in our own season of learning. Taking a few seminary courses for further training and equipping.
For my husband and I, we love this rhythm in ministry. We love watching our students as they take individual and mature steps towards surrendering their summers to the Lord. We love the opportunity to go to the world during our summers and minister in new cultures and contexts.
This summer we'll be traveling more than average, mostly for work, but some just for fun. Our travels will take us to Minnesota, Spain, Florida, back to Minnesota, and finally home to Wisconsin. Many miles will be flown or driven and our suitcases will likely become our most valuable possessions. It's an odd job we have, with a rather unusual schedule.
So as our story unfolds this summer, I'll be sure to mention what city, state, or continent we find ourselves in. There's so much to document about these days that I'm sure it will find its way here...