This semester was a really good one for Sharon and Everette and he wanted to give you a brief update. We finished the Purdue semester with a Senior Dinner honoring the four seniors who are graduating. The time of affirmation was quite powerful as the students who attended shared openly and there was a lot of humor. This was a good year for personal growth for our consistent leaders and we also saw two students make commitments to Christ at the end of the semester. Everette is ready for a break from the pace but will be ready to roll again in the fall.
On the international side, he made a very interesting trip to India March 10 – 18th. At first he was very challenged by the mass of humanity, the pollution, and the chaos in travel. However after a couple of days he was able to recover enough from the culture shock to have a very meaningful time encouraging some young pastors, and there is a possibility he will be returning next year.
A lot has also happened on the home front. On March 4th Myles Edward Albrecht, their first grandson (they have two granddaughters as well), was born to Susanne and Mark in Lake Stevens, WA. Sharon was able to be present and Everette looks forward to seeing him in July as he, Sharon, their oldest daughter Jessica make a trip West. His youngest son Michael is out of the Marines now and is job hunting in Southern California. Their youngest daughter Michelle, who married Luke last year, graduated from Nursing School and is starting her job search. Everette and Sharon love seeing Jessica weekly as she eats Sunday lunch with them. They have a lot of fun interacting with their adult children.
Mary had the joy of one Chinese student (who is now at Ohio State) become a believer on April 7th. She visited over Thanksgiving and the Lord continued to work in her heart. In March, she asked “How will I know when is the right time to say yes?” Mary knew she was seriously counting the cost so she said, “Don’t worry, you will know. The Holy Spirit will confirm in your heart that it’s time.” She called at 11pm, so excited, saying, “My hand went up first!”
Mary is also part of the World Welcome class at Covenant Church. Alison (left in picture) was only at Purdue for one semester but was so glad she found us through a lunch at the beginning of the semester.
Kayle from Taiwan was invited by another church member. Both of them are believers. Puting who Mary has met with for almost 3 years will be moving to Boston University with the entire Cheng research group. The Lord orchestrated a couple working with InterVarsity’s international ministry there to continue the in-town discipleship. God is Good!
This is Mary’s year to go to Kenya and Uganda and teach discipleship training in three locations. There will also be the first ever East Africa WDA staff conference in Nairobi with International staff from seven countries!
Henry Blackaby says when you see people responding to the gospel, this is an indication that the Holy Spirit is working. Parks has seen some thrilling workings of the Spirit this semester!
One young student that Parks has been meeting with for a year and a half recently prayed to receive Christ. He grew up in a Christian home but realized he did not know Christ in a personal way. He immediately turned around and shared Christ with one of his close friends! He was so excited to be able to do this.
On Wednesday evening, March 1st, we had an evangelistic outreach with Steele Johnson. Steele won a silver medal at the 2016 summer Olympics in synchronized diving with Purdue grad David Boudia. Steele shared about his Olympic experienced and how his faith has affected every area of his life. He said it was fantastic to win a silver medal, but that his identity was in Christ.
Three students with whom Parks has been sharing Christ were able to attend. They really enjoyed hearing Steele share his testimony.
He recently had lunch with a student with whom he has been building a relationship. Parks asked the student if he (Parks) had ever shared his spiritual journey story. He said no. Parks asked him if he would like to hear it. He said yes! Parks was able to share his testimony with him and a clear gospel presentation. He asked him if he had ever heard this before and he said he had not. How cool is it to share the gospel with someone who has never heard it before!
Parks was sitting in the lobby of a residence area recently when a student from India sat down beside him. He ask Parks when he did the Bible study at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house. Parks gave him the info and invited him. He said he had never read the Bible and that he did not have a Bible. Parks gave him a copy of the gospel of John and challenged him to read a chapter at a time and ask God to reveal himself to him. He is very open!
In October, Everette & Sharon, Parks & Julie, and Mary were able to go to Israel! It was an astonishing, unexpected gift from some supporters!
Lon Solomon, a Messianic Jew from McLean, VA, led the tour. He has led over 45 tours! Lon gave great messages at each location, making it memorable in so many ways.
We have always heard, “You’ll never read the Scriptures the same again!” It is true! We can now clearly picture where Jesus was in places like the synagogue in Capernaum or out on the lake (Galilee) or along the shore and the Jordan River. It moved us all to see Jerusalem for the first time. We were able to step onto the Temple Mount (equal to 27 football fields) and see the model of what it would have looked like in Jesus’ time. To add to the experience, Everette & Sharon were also able to go to Mount Sinai and Petra.
The opportunity to add our prayers at the Western Wall (aka Wailing Wall) was very emotional and powerful. Especially knowing what happened in that area over the centuries and knowing there will come a day when the Eastern Gate will no longer be blocked. The Lord will come back in Glory!
Our reading and teaching is now richer because of this trip and we will never forget it!