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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

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 3.30.37 PMBuilding buildings is a grandiose task that will negate the energy of an army of very good men and women.  But, we need a new building.  This is not an option.  If we do not then we will severely limit our growth.

The one we have has been under repair for years. We repair that wall, fix that office, reconfigure the desks, spruce up the classrooms, upgrade the equipment, rearrange office space, et cetera.  The major items like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, windows, roof leaks and the like leave us shaking our heads.

However, it is not the maintenance that keeps us wondering.  Instead, it is the space.  Enrollment has been steadily growing in our extension campus for successive years.

More students mean more faculty and staff.  More personnel means more office space.  Square footage has been as creatively sliced and diced as much as possible.

Parking is a big deal.  We have 275 students and only 50 parking places.  The neighboring streets are lined with cars and students have to walk to class in the dark.

A serious graduate school needs a research library.  Our little library has tripled in size over the last three years and it has overflowed the room where the stacks cannot be spaced any closer together.  We converted a classroom for an auxiliary library space.

It was time to move.  Hours of meetings, real estate conferences, drawings and discussion ate up time and resources.  Money was raised, donors smiled, prayers were lifted up and God blessed.

The new building was chosen, papers were signed, demolition began and architects designed the space.  Soon the dust will clear and new walls, halls and spaces will be set up.

Parking will not be a problem in the foreseeable future.  The library is the centerpiece of our new digs.  Offices are grouped for growth.  Class rooms are designed with intention rather than adapted to whatever is available.

Our Communications Office produced an artist’s conception of the new configuration.  Everyone is excited about the future.  It is just around the corner.

This summer we hope to move into the new location for DTS-Houston.  Plans are shaping up for our move.  Everyone is talking about the excitement.

Soon we can concentrate on seminary education at the highest level.  The puzzle of what to do with what we have will be a historic dialogue.  All of the energy that poured into short-term fixes will now accelerate outstanding seminary education at the highest level.  Now, that is bodacious!

photo credit: DTS Communication Department

My work day started early.  A morning breakfast meeting was first on my calendar.  Time flew by quickly and our interaction was productive.

Next, a longer than usual commute to my office was a result of heavy traffic.  A lot of people sure seem to be going in the same direction when it comes to where our work is located.

Meetings filled in the empty slots.  I love to have one on one meetings with my direct reports.  Early on I need to know what my team is doing, how I can help and what needs to happen to keep my team happy and productive.

For my lunch hour I had an outside guest come in.  He is directing another seminary extension in Houston and I wanted to make a friendly gesture of goodwill.  We had a helpful meeting.

The rest of the afternoon was occupied by meetings, discoveries, conversations, correspondence, planning and projections.  A number of problems were solved.  People got directed in the right classroom, connected with the right schedule and sorted out so that their assignments didn’t look nearly as foreboding as they once thought.

Now, it was eleven hours on the clock.  It was time to head home.  Students were now tucked into their classrooms.  Faculty, both resident and visiting were firing away with all cylinders. 

I paused long enough to smile.  Education and training was happening here in at an eternal level.  What these students were learning would change their lives forever and touch the lives of the people that they served for eternity. 

With my backpack full, I stepped out of our building and made my way to my vehicle.  That’s when I noticed how full our seminary was that night.

When I was in the middle of our parking lot, I noticed that the lot was full.  In fact every slot was taken up by a vehicle.  Both sides of the street were lined with cars as well.  

Everyone could tell that something was happening here.  Activity and the fullness of the classrooms and parking lot are symptoms of a busy night of ministry.  Glancing at the setting sun, I smiled at the God that I served and thanked Him for the privilege of serving in this amazing institution. 

He started this work and He energizes the work.  Furthermore, He is growing it so that it is as full.  Full is a very good place to be.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

Patience is not a stranger to my day.  I have to put on the longsuffering headset many times in my profession.  Whether it is crazy circumstances or unbelievable human frailties, I don patience daily.

Some things in life can’t be changed.  So we wait.  It is futile to get exasperated; it will accomplish very little.

I was thrust into the mode of being challenged by patience today.  Yvonne needed to make a stop at a local variety store this afternoon.  My initial groan was a dead-give-away.

But, I repented and gladly jumped into our vehicle and made the journey to the jam-packed parking lot of the local variety store.  I knew of a few overflow spots and tried to get there.  Cars blocked my path several times.

One driver stopped in the middle of the lane after turning part way into the aisle.  “Are you kidding me?  She’s holding up traffic in three directions!”

That wasn’t the half of it.  The parking spot that she was waiting to claim had two people still loading their purchases into the car.  They had at least a dozen bags left in their shopping cart. 

I was pinned. The four cars behind me couldn’t back up.  Going around her was not an option either since her wide turn was blocking the aisle for opposing traffic. 

She was clearly not going to move.  Every parking space in the visible area was taken, and she was not going to be denied this space.  Several people were honking at her but she would not budge from her perch of determination.

Traffic finely lightened up.  I drove around the roadblock.  Other vehicles followed suit but with their hands on their horns.

Several times we were stuck looking for that rare parking place.  People hovered over potential spots by following shoppers who were leaving the store.  Once they identified the shopper’s vehicle they would territorially mark their place as the next owner of that twenty-foot long piece of asphalt.

Courtesy is gone.  Seething impatience is personified behind each steering wheel.  Human beings are morphed into tenacious space hunters.

I dropped Yvonne off to shop at the front entrance.  Slowly I moved to a parking area next to a fast food eatery, off the real estate of the variety store.  Once she was done with her shopping I saw her text message, we rendezvoused as deftly as a pony express exchange.  Merry Christmas!

photo credit: google image

We have an unofficial family motto: “any reason is a reason to celebrate.”

Within a week’s time our son-in-law and our daughter both have their birthday. It’s time to do it up big. We make plans through texting to rendezvous for a party!

Oops! We forgot to make it clear. Didn’t it make sense that we would meet at the restaurant? It didn’t to them.

Ha! We were making good time through our busy San Francisco traffic. Then, Yvonne’s cell phone rang. It was our kids. That usually brings an automatic smile for both of us.

My smile disappeared when Yvonne exclaimed, “Oh, no…are you at the apartment? You have the dogs? You don’t have a key? OK, we’re on our way back.”

I took the next right turn and recalculated my route for a 180 degree turn-about. A quick glance at the clock confirmed my suspicion. There was no way we could return home and still make it to our dinner reservation.

Back at our place the pups were squirming wildly. We opened up the apartment and laughed over our mix up. I thank God that I have a family where there is no anger, blame or offense for a simple issue of life. There is only adjustment, consolidation and continuation of fun.

We laughed and caught up on our drive to dinner. Once we were close we laid out our pony express strategy. Everyone was ready.

When I was across the street from our destination, a red light made it convenient. “OK, everyone, time to get out.” Three doors opened quickly and my family poured out of the car and pulled their jacket hoods tightly to keep out the wind and the rain. It was my job to drive off and find that rare San Francisco discovery often called a parking space.

My family safely crossed a busy street under the protection of a cross walk and green light. Traffic cleared. I turned against a red light and began the search.

After one block, I turned right again. The vision in front of me was shocking. There was an entire block on Pine St. with open parking.

Was it too good to be true? It was only a block to the restaurant and there were no hills to climb. Neurosis tried to fool me. But, I fought of the paranoia by reading all of the parking signs, locked my car and walked away in faith ready to party!

photo credit: google image