This has been a big week for us. We started classes on Wednesday morning (first up: James & Hebrews) and have loved every bit of it so far. While we are in class, Hudson spends his time flirting with the lady infants in the nursery. Everyone loves him. Everyone. I’m not making that up. The school has filled up with a lot of new faces mixed in with the familiar ones, and we are excited about getting to know them over the course of the year. Life in this community has it’s challenges, but there is also much we are grateful for.
We have never doubted God’s faithfulness to provide for us here, and He has continued to show us that He is able to meet our needs. Last year I had the opportunity to do some odd jobs for the owner of a local used book store, and upon returning to town earlier this month, I reestablished contact with him and was offered more work. Last week, he offered me a job in his book store with the perfect amount of hours and flexibility. I’m pretty new to the whole retail/cash register thing, but I’m getting the hang of it pretty quickly.
This Jackson economy may be shaky, but our God is a rock!
We’re finally completely (not actually completely) unpacked. We like Jackson. The town of 33,000 has a cool mixture of old and new that makes you feel as if you’ve been here a hundred years. There are many more churches that we thought we’d find (though our expectations weren’t really based on anything), and many of them are these towering majestic century old buildings that cast their jagged shadow on everything around them.
While I have no clue about the rest of Michigan, one might infer that Jackson is somewhat conservative. Call it an educated guess.
We really like our campus. The building was originally the site of Jackson High School until they grew out of it and built a new school on the other side of town. When New Tribes purchased it, they were able to use the first floor for class rooms and offices, and convert the second, third and fourth floors into student housing. The only downside to this is that because the building is classified as “historic” by the city, they were not allowed to make any structural changes, including plumbing. That means that only a small portion of the apartments have running water. Ours does not, but we are working on rigging up (in the fashion of my Aggie brethren) a sink with some water flow to ease the situation.
There is a swimming pool and a gym attached to the building so we can get some exercise during the frozen half of the year, and a cafeteria where we will likely eat lunch in between classes.
We registered for class yesterday. It is exciting to have a feel for our schedule, finally. The curriculum is designed for each semester to have 15 hours of required courses and several electives to choose from. The entire program is set up to teach you some of the core principals of understanding the Word (like hermeneutics), and to teach chronologically through the Bible. We are very excited that by the end of our time here in Jackson, we will have studied every book of the Bible. That’s one of the things I am beginning to love about this place: that the emphasis is not different philosophies or approaches or methods. The emphasis is God’s Word.
Two days of orientation start tomorrow, and classes officially begin on Wednesday. Please pray that we would be ready to go and eager to learn! Please also pray for our fellow first semester students. There are ten other married couples (some with children), and around fifty total students in our class. Pray that each of us would be filled with God’s love and a passion to see His name proclaimed, and that we would be active in making an impact among the unchurched of this community while we are here.