Some great quotes from the article by David Brooks entitled The Cultural Value of Christian Higher Education follow. He argues that it is in Christian universities that you best see the synthesis in the training of the mind, the soul, the body and the spirit. It is a good read, full of great quotes and things I think are true. It makes me want to send my kids to Abilene Christian University where both Allison and I went to school. I will try to not push them too hard. 😉
In any commitment, love is at the core. A commitment is falling in love with something and then building a structure of behavior around it for those moments when the love falters. It arises at a deep sensation of certainty, a moral and spiritual sensation that something is right, that you’ve been called to something.
Love humbles you because you realize you’re not in control of your own mind. You think obsessively about the person you love. It opens up the crust of life and reveals soft, tender flesh below so you enjoy more and you suffer more. It de-centers the self. You realize your core riches are not in yourself; they’re in another. Love also teaches you how to endure. We’ve all had that first romantic passionate love, but when you educate a love, it’s not reliant on that immediate, passionate first embrace. It longs and endures. It’s what the philospher Roger Scruton calls a second love. This long second love carries people through the tragedies and the blessings of life.
The author Louis de Bernières wrote in the book Captain Coreli’s Mandolin about a love that fused people together. One of his characters says, “Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it. We had roots that grew towards each otherunderground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches, we found that we were one tree and not two.”
We have had interns every summer from Abilene Christian University, and we have been so impressed with them. Sadly, this year we will not have any. But I look forward to possibly having more in the future. Having these students with us, and then visiting ACU while we were in the US last fall has given us a great appreciation for the education and culture that our alma mater provides. We made great Christian friends while we were there, and we are continually impressed by what they are doing in the world. I will not tell my kids where to go to school, as I want them to choose. But I will be very happy if they choose to be Wildcats. I read an article that was linked on Facebook, and it made me remember the culture of ACU as it strives to educate students to have an impact for Christ in the world. Here is a little bit of the article titled Why It’s Time to Re-think College: An Interview with David Hicks.
David Kern: I have heard you say before that parents should ask the same questions of a university that they would if they were going to a boarding school. Can you explain this a bit? What would those questions be?
David Hicks: When I said that, I’m sure I was thinking about the profound influence the culture of the school has upon the formation of a young man or woman. That, in my opinion, is the single most important factor in the decision of where to go to school or college, if one has a choice. I say this, reminding my reader that in ancient Greek, the word for culture and education was one and the same: paideia.
So, what questions might get at the nature of the culture? How do the students at this school or college typically use their leisure time (An Aristotelean question)? What is the life of the school or college like on the weekends, particularly Saturday nights? How many of the students typically attend church on Sunday or synagogue on Shabbat? What opportunities does a student have to engage with the community outside the school or college? How much and what type of interaction do students have with their professors outside of class?
We got an email a couple weeks ago from a friend who wanted to come for a visit! It was Ryan Blucker, a friend from our carefree days at Abilene Christian University. It is always good to have another wildcat in Apurimac . . . we already had five of us in these lonely mountains. I dare to say ACU is the most represented American university in this part of Peru. So we were eager for number six to arrive. It was a great blessing for him to be here as he encouraged us and laughed with us about some of the funny things about life in C-town. I did not remember that he is a child psychologist, and really an expert in helping to try and break the cycle of family violence. He is a fluent Spanish speaker, and he already works in Central America, specifically Honduras and Guatemala, in efforts to try and help alleviate the suffering that comes in these broken societal structures. His job at the University of Oklahoma allows him to take time away from work to travel and help. Ryan had been in Lima presenting to a conference of Latin American psychologists, and while there he made a little time to fly out to Curahausi to see us in our humble home. When I was reminded of the work he does, I was very eager for him to meet with the leaders of the school to see if he would be able to help. I think the meeting went well, and there might be possibilities for the future. Who knows? Maybe God has a purpose in this short visit that could pay dividends in the future for the people of Curahuasi!
Ryan Blucker on Capitan Rumi
While here we took him to the local swimming hole. I think he may have more respect for our biting flies. Never forget the bug spray!
We have had two very nice witnesses with us this summer. When I talk about witnesses, I am referring to the World Wide Witness program that is a class on missions at Abilene Christian University. In this class students learn about missions, and then they do a practicum where they spend time with missionaries in the field. We had two witnesses last summer who were great! And we have not been disappointed with the two fun witnesses we have had this time around. It has been a little different for them, as it feels like the summer has been a little bit crazy and busy, but we trust that God gives them what they need in each moment to grow in their faith and in their understanding of the mission life. I thought it might be nice to give a little publicity to their blog which is called Hasta los Confines de la Tierra. Click the blog name to go see what they have had to say about their experiences over the last 5 weeks. Here is a picture of Allison with Natalie and Haley that I stole from their blog. It was taken on a recent trip to Cuzco where they bonded and bought hippie backpacker pants.
Wecome Week evening devotional at ACU. The real emphasis on the “Christian” part of the school’s name is one of the things that makes our school unique.
I would like to share that I am proud of my alma mater, Abilene Christian University. This past summer, in our little state of Apurimac, located in one of the poorest parts of Peru, we had five people associated with ACU working for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of the poor. From our little university, located in the dry plains of west Texas, somehow five of us managed to find ourselves through the leading of God to be in one of the least honored regions of our hemisphere. Most recently, the story of Kent Brantly, the physician who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia, has been prominent in the news. Well, he is an ACU graduate as well. When we were in language school in Costa Rica, a school specifically serving missionaries, at times we had up to 10 students who had an association with ACU. That was 10 percent of the student body from one university, all in Costa Rica with the hopes of learning Spanish so they can serve God in some capacity. I read some Christian biographies and there are colleges that are prominent in American missionary history. One that comes to mind readily is Wheaton college up by Chicago. That small university has sent missionaries all over the world, and it has had a bigger impact for the sake of Christ than its size deserves. I wonder if in 50-100 years, if people will be looking back and wondering how that small university in west Texas managed to send so many people out to bring the message of Jesus to the world. I thank God for ACU. Here is alink to some of Kent Brantly’s interview on NBC.
Us with the witnesses celebrating Peter’s birthday. L to R: Lydia, Annie, David, Will, Peter, Allison, Sarah, Austin
We were blessed to have these two awesome ACU students with us over the summer. Yesterday they left Curahuasi for the last time, and today they are flying home from Cuzco. We are thankful to both of them for coming and sharing a summer with us. We learned a lot about being willing to help in any circumstance, even if it is not exactly what you may have imagined or thought it would be. Both Austin and Lydia are pre-medicine students, but they probably spent more time working with the school and with kids. Yet they did it willingly, jumping in wherever they were needed. Their service demonstrates a lot of humility and the heart of the greatest servant of all, Jesus Christ. Austin joined me in many board games, giving me a worthy and fun challenge playing Hive. Lydia helped Allison as well as many other of the missionary wives serving wherever and whenever she could. Basically they were friends to us, our kids, the other missionaries, and the kids in town; everyone can always use more friends! Thank you both for coming, and I hope and pray that the upcoming year will be a great one in Abilene, God’s country! You will be missed by us all.
Glad to have Ari Cale here with us. This is another person from America with whom we share some common history. She is from Washington state, went to Harding University. Of course with our Church of Christ background, that gives us a lot in common with her. She did medical school in Ft. Worth, and then residency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. So it is like we have been neighbors for years! I grew up in Oklahoma, lived in Dallas and Washington state, and we went to Abilene Christian University. (Right now in our little region of Apurimac there are at least 3 ACU graduates and 1 Harding graduate. When we were at the Spanish Language Institute there were at times at least 7-9 of us who had been at ACU. Way to go Christian university education!) Back to Ari, she is also very thoughtful, enthusiastic about God and serving others, and she is someone who will make you think, especially in spiritual matters. Ari, welcome to Curahuasi! Also from the Diospi Suyana Hospital website.
Among the 52 long-term employees missionaries, we currently have five doctors and dentists from the United States. Yesterday was the first official working day of Dra. Arianna Cale, who graduating a few months ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her specialty is general practitioner, family medicine. In the next two years she will treat an approximately 6,000 to 8,000 patients at Diospi Suyana. We wish our young colleague, success and God’s blessing in her mission medical work in Curahuasi.