Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Driving, Driving, Driving, Flying, and a Proposal

I've returned from my InterVarsity GFM fund-development trip. In my last post, I wrote out the tentative itinerary and promised a report with pictures. Well, here it is.

I started my trip by picking up a Hyundai Sonata from Hertz at the airport. It's cheaper on my budget to rent a car than to expense the mileage for my own, so that's what I did. I wish I had taken a picture of it, because it was a neat little car with a great sound system, working A/C, a sunroof, and a self-darkening rear-view mirror. Ah, the niceties of life, or, err, Hertz.

First stop was Vilonia, AR (383 miles). There, thanks to the generosity of Rhonda Harris and First Baptist Church of Vilonia, I was able to make a presentation to 15 total people. By far the scariest audience I've had (they are, after all, my wife's friends and family), they were warm, encouraging and generous. This picture is of me handing out information before the presentation.

Next stop, Siloam Springs, AR (+200 miles). In Siloam, I stayed with old college friends, Mark and Megan Etter, ate lunch with Kyle and Katie Weaver, toured my alma mater's campus, talked with professors, ate breakfast with an old friend Patrick Carr, and reinvigorated some of the networks I had lost since graduation three years ago. I am hoping to stop back through Siloam soon to make a presentation now that I have reaquainted myself with the area, but I am happy to have garnered some support while I was in town.

Next stop, Stillwater, OK (+155 miles). I had intended to have another dessert presentation while in Stillwater but for various reasons the dessert itself fell through. Instead, I was able to have meals with a couple of families who are going to support me, and, of course, I got to hang out with my family and take my (not-so) little brother Stephen out for coffee (or hot chocolate as the case may be). It was a fun and restful time. Unfortunately, the camera didn't make it out of the bag while I was there.

Next stop, Tomball, TX (+497 miles). There, I was able to attend the church I grew up in both Sunday morning and evening, talk with a few folks about InterVarsity, and stay with two sets of Callons (Ken and Mary, and Craig and Cheryl--the Callons have been close friends of mine since the second grade). I had a similar experience in Tomball as I did in Siloam Springs--I saw a bunch of people I hadn't seen in ages and got to start some of those friendships again. In some ways it's sad that it takes the fund-development process to bring me back into their lives, but in others, I'm so happy to have reason to do so. Being back in Tomball felt like going home, and I realized just how much I missed it.

I left on a Sunday and arrived back in Nashville (+792 miles) the next Tuesday night. By the end of the road trip, I had traveled over 2020 miles in that Sonata. We had become close friends.

On Wednesday, I flew to Philadelphia (+1600 miles round trip) to be with Monique while she defended her dissertation proposal. Defending the proposal is a big deal at U.Penn. because you don't have to defend the final product, just have it signed off by your committee of three. (I guess the figure they want to nip any problems in the bud). The whole department came out to hear Monique's brief presentation and then grill her on the details. Monique handled herself amazingly and her proposal passed without any revisions! Thanks be to God!

Thank you to all of you who were praying during my trip and during Monique's defense! We appreciate it greatly. If you have any other questions about the trip, please feel free to add a comment to this blog or email me. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

W. Travis McMaken said...

*Cheers for a great trip and for a passed dissertation proposal!!!!!!

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