This past week, we have had the privilege of being back in the Boston area. I (Ben), have started my Doctoral studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. This is where I did my Master's, and more importantly, this is where Susie and I met 13 years ago. It was here that we dated, then dated long-distance, got engaged and spent the first year of our marriage.
The program I am in focuses on Global Christianity and World Evangelization. It looks at 3 key areas - missions today, development work (NGO's, etc) and global leadership. All three of these are areas that I am very passionate about. I'll be engaged in this program for the next 4 years, while also serving full-time with Athletes in Action and Cru. The program is designed for people who are in full-time ministry to do in the context of their ministry. I'll have a 2-week residency each January. Then lots of reading, writing, research and projects to do in between. After the 3rd residency, I'll look to complete my thesis/dissertation work.
I am in the middle of a 2 week residency. Week 1 was great. I have 8 other residents in my cohort and 2 professors who are literally, world renown. I feel very fortunate to be in this program and look forward to all that I will learn and get to apply as a result.
Thankfully, Susie and the kids have been able to be with me. We are staying with her wonderful cousin, Esther & Les, about 20 minutes from the Seminary. The kids are having a great time playing with their cousins and their very big, but loveable and surprisingly calm dog, Blue.
Susie is doing well. She has had a few days that have drained her more than others, but she continues to hang in there and make the most of each day. She stays engaged with the kids throughout the day and gets a few reading breaks, if Annie lets her. She ends mostly every day exhausted and very tired. Please continue to pray for her. We have been blessed to have the help of a great babysitter, Elisa, who is helping with the kids each day.
This weekend was a lot of fun. We were able to take the kids around and show them the places that were important to us. What a joy to look back on 13 years of God's faithfulness. I remember coming here right after I graduated college. I was young, very young, especially for all of you who still think of me as young. The Lord used this place in so many ways to guide and shape me, and us!
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for your continued prayers for us. Please pray for this week as I finish week 2 of the residency and then we head home. More importantly, please keep Susie in your prayers. Praying for her strength each day as she hangs with the kiddos.