The year has begun.
The students are back. They are back to school for another great year of big enrollments. They are back in church, leaving us with 'standing-room-only' situations. They are back to their relationships and friendships. They are back in the bible studies and CARE Groups around the Palouse. They are back and it is great to have them.
Two weeks ago, we moved in more freshmen who are beginning their first year at both universities. The days were full of fun conversations, great introductions, (a few awkward moments) and lots of boxes carried up lots of stairs. Last week, classes started and many of these students are now panicking as they get use to the new expectations and schedules. Pray for them -- many are cracking under the stress; they will recover (they always do), but its tough for them to be in the moment.
We also had our typical kickoff events. We set up our annual booths and handed out more Ramen Noodles in order to promote our organization. We seem to be getting better at what we do and most of the adjustments we made from last year feel like they have paid off for us. We invited students to our annual cookouts and had even better turnouts this year. We had a great time eating food, playing volleyball, challenging others to "cornhole" and just talking around the picnic tables.
We also had a great baptism service where we saw 22 people get baptized from Real Life on the Palouse. Some of those people were college students and it was a great night of celebration and story-telling.
Just last week we had our official College CARE Group Kick-Off at Real Life and invited as many college students as possible to sign up for CARE Groups and make community a priority for the upcoming year. We had more than 100 sign up for new groups over the last two weeks. We bless God for that.