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!
We are so proud of all of the Team USA Olympians competing in Rio!
It’s even more fun because of the connection David and Steele have with Purdue WDA!
Purdue alum David Boudia: He was a 2012 London 10m Individual Diving Olympic Gold Medalist and 10m Synchro Diving Bronze Medalist. This month in the 2016 Rio Olympics he became the Individual 10m Bronze medalist along with 10m Synchro Diver Silver Medalist with diving partner Steele Johnson! He now has an Olympic medal of every color!
David has been friends with our Parks Wilson for a few years. He was also a special speaker at one of our events a few years ago!
Current Purdue student Steele Johnson: Prior to the Olympics (his freshman year) Steele was the NCAA national champion in 10m and 3m spring board diving. He took off last year to train for the Olympics. As Boudia’s diving partner, Steele became the 2016 Rio Olympics 10m Synchro Diver Silver Medalist! He also placed 13th in the 10m Individual competition.
Parks has also gotten to know Steele somewhat over the past year and a half. Steele spoke at our event last semester for our the Alpha Bible Fellowship Study at Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity! He is a prolific video blogger on his YouTube channel and shared some of his experiences in Rio there. Below is his video just after winning the silver medal and the multiple media appearances.
Needless to say we all were super excited, very nervous, holding our breath with knots in our stomach for each dive!
We are so proud of these men who are world-elite athletes and bold about their faith in Christ on the world stage. It is so encouraging that amidst worldwide acclaim and visibility they are clear they do not find their significance or identity in diving or the acclaim they receive. They find it in Christ alone and tell the world about it. That’s what matters the most.
This has been an amazing ministry year. It all started with an unexpected trip to Romania in August to teach a Discipleship Training Seminar. Fernando Frincu, who I teach for in Brazil is from Romania and was home on sabbatical. He felt like there were some good opportunities to teach similar content in Romania and invited a team of us to come and teach. I have not been to Eastern Europe before so this was a little out of my comfort zone, but it all came together as we prayed about it and a team of 4 of us headed over. I was encouraged by the people and the response to the content. I was also amazed by how beautiful Romania was and since our seminars were on the weekends, I got to see a lot of the county side. An unexpected blessing was getting to see Richard Mauney who was a student leader in WDA at Florida State. He has been a missionary in Romania for 20 years and is a great mentor of young men. I loved meeting some of his disciples.
I got home in time to jump into the beginning of the Purdue year, but at the same time became aware of another unexpected opportunity. Some good friends approached the 5 members of our staff team about making a trip to Israel in October. I would not normally make two overseas trips this close together, but since they were giving us this trip as a gift, it did not take Sharon and me long to say yes. The Purdue ministry had gotten a good start, and we were now off again. In two weeks we got to see a lot of Biblical locations in Israel, also Petra in Jordan, and Sinai in Egypt. Seeing so many locations where Jesus walked and ministered was refreshing and has made the Bible so much more alive as I can envision what happened where. So much of the Christian life is just being faithful in the little things, but this trip was truly a mountain top experience.
We returned home to reconnect with our Purdue leaders and move ahead with Alpha Fellowship, our Fraternity/Sorority weekly Bible study. I truly love these young men and women and am blessed by their heart for God. This year I had a good problem in that there were more interested young men than I could meet with weekly, so I was able to start meeting with men two at a time. A couple of our seniors graduated, but I have a great group of juniors who will be returning in the fall. I have enclosed some photos of the end of the year. Our prayer is that we can continue to build on the great foundation we have and do a good job of reaching out to younger students next year. I was ready to slow the pace and get a break at the end of the school year, but have been blessed as I have reflected on what God did this year.
The school year is over and things are hopping around our house as we get ready for Michelle’s wedding and have Susanne (our daughter in law) and Olivia and Felicity with us. What wonderful chaos. Michael won’t make the wedding as he is deployed overseas with the US Marines. Please pray for his protection. May God bless you with a great summer.
Puting is from China here at Purdue to get her Ph.D in Analytical Chemistry. I have discipled her for quite a while and led her to the Lord. She has been a believer for about 18 months! I invited her to the Good Friday evening program at church. I waited for her to arrive then got a text that she wouldn’t be able to get there until about 7:30 (30 min. late) but she finally arrived during the last song set with two friends from the same chemistry lab. One of them had just arrived in the U.S. in January as a new “post-doc” and had never been in a church before. They slipped into pews in the back for the last few minutes. Afterward, he asked her how long she’d been a Christian and what (internal) changes she had experienced. She was so excited about the opportunity to testify! They will have many more conversations since they are research partners on a project.
Then, a week later, she and her other friend, Jae, came over (she stayed overnight). Jae also works in the same lab as Puting focusing on the chemistry of optics. Amongst things he is working on is creating a groundbreaking portable biopsy machine! Over cups of tea, we talked about the wonders of science and creation. I talked about how the Christian worldview gave rise to scientific exploration in previous centuries. I suggested looking at Job chapters 38-41 for an amazing look at the order of creation. Puting started reading it out loud and was loving it. She is seeing the wonders of creation their research. Jae is open, moving in the right direction.
I continue to be a Faculty Fellow at Purdue and am assigned to a floor in Tarkington Residence Hall. This enables me to build relationships with the men on that floor. We generally have 10 to 15 men who come weekly on Wednesday evenings for floor dinner at one of the dining halls. They are such a great group of guys to be around and a very close-knit group with great camaraderie. It is so refreshing to see this! An example is every Tuesday evening, they go to the gym and sit in the hot tub and play water basketball and volleyball!
During a floor dinner, one of the men said he went to a religious high school, but that he was not very religious. I asked him to explain what he meant. We had a great conversation about what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ.
Recently, I had about thirteen of the guys over at my house for a Super Bowl party as well as a dinner last semester. They love coming over for a home cooked meal and are such an enjoyable group to be around.
I befriended one of the Tark guys three years ago and have been sharing Christ with him. He is not a Christian yet but God is working in his life. Please continue to pray for these men, that I will have opportunities to encourage them and share Christ with them.
Is it really 2016? We cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned!
Purdue has yet again transitioned from a ghost town to a bustling, thriving, albeit chilly campus of students in the matter of a day or two. It dawned on us it has been few weeks since they were last here! When Star Wars came out! It’s OK to admit you have seen it more than once. Some of us have seen it three times.
It’s great to get going again!
There is much talk about the basketball teams this season so it should be fun to see how it plays out! Many of our students are in the “Paint Crew” student section at home basketball games making Mackey Arena a very loud feared place to play for opponents. Boiler Up!
We are already rolling forward this week with the first Alpha fellowship of the semester, and catching up with students.
Oh and we certainly need to catch you all up on some happenings from last semester! Sorry it wasn’t more consistent!
Since there is so much to share, we’ll break up the fall events we have not covered in an upcoming Digest post including:
The Purdue WDA staff went to Israel!
The Great Exchange outreach
Parks as Faculty Fellow for a floor at Tarkington Residence Hall
Great semester ending dinner with the students at the Wilson’s home.