March 4 — Vermont and Student Training

I almost broke the spell. Every time I visit our ministry at the University of Vermont in Burlington there is a big snowstorm. But this time, like the rest of the Northeast, the Vermont weather was mild. I had a splendid time visiting John and Megan Meinen, their intern, and the students in the RUF ministry. This is their fourth semester with a Large Group Meeting, and it is maturing nicely. The whole ministry is maturing, and there are some promising leaders coming up.

On Friday I had to drive to Lancaster County, PA, for a student conference. I woke up to snow. The spell survives! I got out and on the road quickly, thinking that the snow would probably stop south of Vermont. Wrong. At least in Vermont it was a crisp, dry snow. In New York it became wet and soggy, and even thicker. By the time I got to Albany driving was quite difficult. It snowed all the way into New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Google maps directed me to the Pennsylvania turnpike, but displayed a discouragingly long stretch of red. I opted instead to use US 202 through Bucks County, where I passed accidents, dodged fallen trees, and detoured around closed roads. By then the snow was almost a foot deep on the roads. After driving all day my car was out of gas, but most businesses had closed. I finally found an open gas station and made it to the retreat center a couple of hours late. The students from Maryland arrived even later because the high winds closed all but one of the bridges over the Susquehanna River.

In spite of all these obstacles we had an excellent weekend. There was a good spirit, and the students learned a lot. We met our primary objective, which was to train leaders and potential leaders to play a central role in our ministries in the coming years. I was completely exhausted by Saturday night, but I made it home without any difficulty. Praise God for His protection and provision!

I’m typing this as I fly to Atlanta for the spring meeting of RUF’s national oversight committee. I return on Wednesday, then join our presbytery on its annual retreat.