I'm pretty convinced there is nothing better than campus ministry. (I'd maybe even arm wrestle you over it.) I know of very few other vocations that get the privilege of reaching into people's lives at such a monumental, life-shaping time and then after a few short years, they are sent out to the uttermost parts of the earth to (hopefully) continue the work of the Kingdom in all sorts of vocational callings and geographical locations! While it can sometimes be frustrating, exhausting, and heart-breaking in the short-term, it is overwhelmingly rewarding in the long term.
We constantly have to remind ourselves that campus ministry isn't a short-term endeavor. Though it certainly feels like we only have a few short years to labor alongside these students as they face incredible challenges, pressures, and temptations, it's easy to forget about the long haul. (it's probably the same way in parenting, I'd guess...)
But we've always said the success of RUF (Reformed University Fellowship, our campus ministry) is not something we can look at in one semester, or even one year. We'll know in 5, 10, or 15 years when we see what kinds of stay-at-home moms we've touched. We'll know when we see what kinds of businessmen, what kinds of doctors and lawyers and interior designers and teachers and nurses and architects we've produced. We'll know when we see what kinds of church members and community servants come out of RUF.
It's the ripple effect. We reach and equip for a time, and then we watch the ripple effects of our ministry. It's the most beautiful part of campus ministry!!
And this past weekend, we were blessed to see just a few of the ripple effects as we were reunited with several former RUF students from Texas Tech. (where Marc served as campus minister from 2001-2008. Many are not pictured, unfortunately, but you'll get the idea...)
In Dallas, we met up with students that were involved in our very first year in RUF. (it was also the first year of RUF at Texas Tech!) What a joy to see them now as parents. As husbands and wives. As teachers in the poorest schools of Dallas, taking the transforming power of the Kingdom to places that we otherwise tend to avoid. As church members who are struggling to find and create true community. As librarians and tutors and engineers and pastors who love the Lord and are serving Him in their various callings.
What a JOY it was to laugh together, to catch up, and to remember old times! It was way too short. But our Dallas crew gave us a glimpse of the ripple effect 10 years later.
We were also SO privileged to take a trip over to Lubbock and see many of our former RUF students and alumni there. (Caroline even got to do "guns up," too!) I just can't put it into words how much we love each one of these people... both while they're in our ministry, and long after they're gone. It is like a slice of heaven when we are able to be in the same room again. (can you tell I'm a proud "mama" yet??) :)
We were also able to visit our former church in Lubbock and spend time with friends there. It's just amazing how much you feel "filled up" when you're in community and visiting old friends. The pains you feel are so alleviated-- it's wierd how that happens. The opportunity to laugh together and cry together?... oh, my cup overflows. It was better for my soul than any Hawaii vacation.
Plus, I got to meet new additions to our church family, too. :)
We loved visiting old neighbors, too.
We praise God for the way He has blessed us with knowing so many dear friends, many of whom read this blog! We are so rich with love. We are so grateful. I pray He will continue to use us in years and years to come for His glory.