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IMG_5677It has been months since construction has started on a key building at our headquarters campus.  My travels bring me up to Dallas on occasion and I look with expectation at the progress of the building that has captured center stage for Dallas Seminary promotional materials.  Watching a key project take shape is fun to do and gives prayers something tangible to press on to new heights.

There were many of disappointing glances in the past.  I do not know the engineering answer to those seemingly many visits when not progress was happening.  Someone mentioned that the sandy ground required a lot of shoring up and foundation strengthening.

Apparently, the foundation construction was done precisely to give not only the inspectors new confidence but also all of the Seminary constituency certainty about the future.  Now, whether earthquakes or storm or prophetic cataclysmic episode this building is built to withstand them all.  That is a good place to be in a seminary world of Biblical prophecy.

A structure is in place.  Progress is now something that we can all see.  After months and months of planning, promoting and raising the funds to make this building happen, it is finally taking shape.

Foundations are understandable.  So much is necessary to make a building last that is unseen.  Most of us get that.

But, it is human to want to see something happening.  Visual evidence makes the mind soar to greater heights of faith and belief.  On the one hand we live by faith.  On the other hand we live by sight.

Massive steel girders are connected and permanently locked into place.  Soon the building will be weather tight and the functional part of the user-friendly parts of the building will be skillfully installed.  Visually it will no longer be the appetite for a massive presence but then it will shift to quality aesthetics and brilliantly designed space.

The past is a testimony of God’s favor on this institution.  This building is a promise that there is more yet to come.  We are thrilled to be a part of that plan.

I am looking forward to walking in to this building.  When the dedication service happens, I will make the pilgrimage north to Dallas from Houston.  This will be HQ’s new digs and I among many am looking forward to seeing what God has provided.  That will be a time to rejoice and celebrate God’s generosity and goodness.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_5223How do you pump enthusiasm into an entire student body?  How do you get a group of hundreds of people from completely different backgrounds to get excited about the same thing?  When we live in an age where hopelessness is the common thread on the news channels, how can you direct people’s attention to something encouraging?

We are experiencing the miraculous move of a miracle where I work and serve.  It is not a renovation that has everyone a buzzing.  Nor is it even a new building that is underway to serve our growing student body. Instead, we are soon to move into a totally new campus!

After many discussions, brainstorming sessions, prayerful considerations we are leaving our cramped facilities and IMG_5215moving to another location.  Instead of having all of our operations for our seminary extension scattered through two separate buildings, we are relocating everything into a single building.  Everything that we have now will be accommodated in the new campus PLUS much more.

Our age-old problem of limited parking will be resolved.  We will no longer have a parking challenge in our new facility.  There will be no more necessary street parking or walking through dark sidewalks to get to your vehicle.

As our staff continues to expand there will be no more problems of giving personnel a working office space.  Every faculty member and executive will have a place to study, prepare their classes and meet with students.  Our new facility will be prepared to grow our faculty here in Houston.

The library that has tripled in size will no longer have to be separated into separate rooms.  Now, the entire collection will be housed in one room with a generous number of study carrels and quiet places IMG_5217for students to do their research.  As a bonus, the library will now have an open view to the gorgeous atrium, adding to a great environment for students to read, relax and write.

Our entire team has visited the construction site.  The demolition is done.  Now the build out has begun.

We can see the long hallways leading to state-of-the-art classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, student lounge and library.  The space that we have now has been wonderful.  We just outgrew it.

Now, the Lord has shown us great favor.  We will be able to stretch, serve our students well and equip more to be servant-leaders and bring the Gospel to the world.  All of us are jazzed!

photo credit: brucefong photography

We are crowded on the campus of DTS-Houston.  Our students pack our parking lot and spill into the street in order to take in their seminary classes.  There are times when we have more classes than available classrooms.

Those crowded moments force us to borrow a room from a neighboring college across the street.  Multiple locations work if they are established sites, but temporary accommodations always leads to confusion.  I had to steer a lost student in the right direction.

Our busy students are often full-time employees some where in the vast city of Houston.  They bolt for the door and fight traffic for miles in order to arrive for their classes on time.  It makes for an exciting environment of expectation, fulfillment and deep satisfaction.

At the same time these “good problems” are frustrating.  A facility should always serve the ministry, never hamper it.  With that in mind we have worked hard to find new classroom space.

Our plans to renovate a second building across the parking lot was the perfect solution.  The architect produced four classrooms with accordion partitions for a versatile facility.  Everyone was thrilled.

With the four new classrooms we could then take two of our old classrooms, renovate them for our growing library and we would be golden for a couple of years.  At least we could stretch out and again feel that the facility was serving the ministry and not getting in the way.  That relief was foremost on all of our minds.

Construction, even build-out of an existing building costs money.  Our Advancement people went to work.  God’s generous people responded and all of the funds were raised.  Everyone was ecstatic.

Next, the only barrier in the way was the government issued building permits.  Did you shudder?  Maybe you cringed.

It took some time.  There were several dashed hopes.  A few times we were discouraged and wondered if the permits would ever be released.

Our dream was to have the classrooms ready for the beginning of the Fall Semester.  That date came and passed.  We stopped trying to predict when we could finally have the relief.

Suddenly, unexpectantly even surprisingly word came that the permits had been issued.  We were stunned.  The workers were busily buzzing around the building and making construction happen.

Supplies had been delivered.  Walls were being erected.  Highly motivated after waiting for so long the construction is in high gear.  We are jazzed!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography