There’s nothing quite like big, red, fresh garden-grown tomatoes at the end of the summer! Sweet corn, green beans and fresh lettuce aren’t too bad either. But… if I don’t put any seed in the ground NOW, that moment of enjoyment never happens (unless I am paying somebody else for it!). Memorial Day is somewhat of a signal for me. It is a great day of celebration and reflection here in central PA, pools open, the seed is planted and it is a mile marker for the launching of summertime. So much of what happens in the fall on campus is actually happening below the surface right now in anticipation of an abundant harvest.
I am ready to dive into a purposeful, intentional summer! There is a different rhythm to the summer. The familiar routines are usually tabled, which for me can spell trouble, unless I can find the new rhythm quickly. Planting, Watering, Weeding and Waiting becomes the new routine, which essentially kicks in starting today! For the past year and a half, I have also been serving as part-time staff at our church, Calvary Church, but beginning in June, I am transitioning back to being a “regular volunteer” and will refocus all my time and energy back to the campus. This excites me, although I have enjoyed my season serving at Calvary.
Planting for a fall harvest means that I am investing time in contacting, visiting, writing, and calling on pastors, friends,supporters, potential students, and generally looking for opportunities to create or strengthen relationships that lead to students like Jordan and Daniel who got connected through pastor friends – or Sarah who also got connected to us through a former New Life student, now pastor. We also will have about 2000 new freshmen show up for our second summer term at the end of June, and that is when the fun really kicks back in on campus!
Watering and Weeding is the ongoing process of keeping connected to our students who are spread out all over PA and beyond. Discipleship still happens even through the summer now. Technology has made keeping in touch easier than ever. Helping students continue the growth process includes giving them what they desperately need, and being willing to help them get rid of some of the “weeds” that can choke out healthy growth when left unchecked. (Just like my garden, this is a daily process!)
Waiting includes resting and trusting, and maturity takes time. I am working to create a new morning routine that includes running, reading and writing. All these things help increase my production capacity, and the summer is a good time for me to give more focus to important, and not necessarily urgent matters. Unfortunately I don’t just “drift” into these kinds of things, and by writing it out here, you all have permission to ask me how it’s coming!
Thanks to you, we continue to work the soil here at Penn State, where I believe God is preparing for a bountiful harvest. Your prayers and consistent support over these years are amazing, and it’s a joy to share in the labor with you here. By God’s grace, we will keep going and trust that He uses us all to engage Penn State with the gospel of Christ for His glory!
Johnny & Kathy
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