September 21, 2020 — Millersville, DC, Ellicott City

It’s steady travel season. My first trip was to Millersville two weeks ago. The RUF committee has not selected a new campus minister yet, so I wanted to see how the students and the intern at Millersville University are getting along. The campus is a ghost town! Out of 7400 undergraduates, only about 700 have returned to campus. All but a few classes are online, so there is no need to move to campus and pay for housing. Consequently most students have stayed home. As I walked across campus I met only two people!

I had dinner with the student leaders of the RUF group on campus. Two are living in dorms, but there is little socializing on campus due to covid restrictions. Nevertheless the students seemed upbeat. They are holding weekly Large Group Meetings with masks and social distancing and local pastors preaching. I attended the Large Group meeting on Thursday. There is an in-person Bible study and a virtual one. The group is small, but they are persevering!

Last week I took Ruth with me to D.C. and Ellicott City. We had dinner with Cyril and Janell Chavis on Tuesday, and I spent Wednesday with Cyril. This is Cyril’s second year at Howard University. The campus is closed and all classes are online. Cyril has had success reaching Howard students via social media. He has pulled together a Ministry Team and is working to develop ministry skills and attitudes in them. Not bad for a second year ministry that cannot meet students in person!

Ruth and I visited Trip and Joy Beans on Thursday and Friday. The Beans moved to Ellicott City, MD this summer to begin RUF at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). They have settled into a very nice home and have done a few improvements. They are still deciding on bookshelves. Smokey the rabbit is enjoying his even nicer luxury rabbit condominium. Outsiders are not allowed on the UMBC campus at all as a virus precaution. Trip and Joy have a list of over a dozen UMBC students and have begun ministering to them online. I also met the RUF committee chairman while in town.

So far RUF ministries are holding together and making some progress in this strange semester. Tomorrow I head west for Penn State and IUP.

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