Annie is finishing her sixth year on staff with InterVarsity. It has been a full six years! She spent the first four years on campus serving fraternity and sorority students and the past two years serving staff across Indiana and Illinois as an administrator. She has been grateful for this season of life and the ways God has worked in and through her. Now it is time to enter a new season. Since Mikey came along, Annie has loved being a mother. She can’t get enough of it! That is why she has decided to leave staff to give more of her time to Mikey and our family. Annie loves the work she has been doing with InterVarsity, and plans to continue serving as a volunteer. But at this time, she feels God is calling her to fully enter into motherhood to soak up these moments with Mikey that will pass so quickly. She is grateful for all of you who have encouraged her, cared for her, and prayed for her while she has been on staff. She couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you!
Annie enjoyed three months of maternity leave with Mikey after he was born. She returned to work in January at 10 hours/week. It has been quite an adjustment from 40 to 10 hours for Annie. You can’t get nearly as much done in 10 hours! Especially when a cute baby wants to play with you all the time. Our family is figuring out how to manage our time and Annie has been able to assist in some significant projects. She made initial staff assignments for Chapter Focus Week [which is assigning over 300 staff to serve two weeks at camp], prepared budgets for next year [over 100 accounts], and is starting to work on the details for staff performance reviews in our region [over 80 staff]. Work is certainly different with Mikey around. Luckily, he enjoys working with mommy at the office. He better be careful, she might start teaching him how to use Excel and making him do real work! Annie has been grateful to Mike and her supervisor for supporting her in this transition.
Annie was able to serve another conference as registrar in February. Vision was February 26-28 in Deerfield, IL. This was a conference designed specifically for black students across Indiana and Illinois. But students ended up coming all the way from Iowa and Minnesota! 150 students attended Vision from across 7 states. InterVarsity has ethnic-specific conferences such as this to help students grow in their faith within their cultural context. The intent is not to separate groups. Rather these conferences help them appreciate how they uniquely reflect God’s image and then to bring those images together in other places. Annie was honored to serve Vision and to have this cross-cultural experience.
Now she’s turning her attention to a Marriage Conference for InterVarsity staff. April 1-3 about 30 staff will gather to talk about what it’s like being married and being on InterVarsity staff. Our region tries to offer a conference like this every three years. It will be a great time to connect with our spouses and talk about the challenges of navigating marriage and ministry. Please pray that the details will come together for this conference and that couples will be able to connect with and encourage each other!
All new staff in Indiana and Illinois have to go through a two-year program called Formation. This helps them in their personal and professional development. Annie was able to serve at the January meeting of Formation. It was a great experience! She loved being able to listen to their fears and excitement about ministry. She was able to share her experiences and reassure them about some of their fears. It was encouraging to both them and to Annie. She doesn’t feel like she has been on staff for that long – only 4 ó years – but she has learned a lot during that time! Working with the new staff helped her reflect on her experiences and see how God has been working in and through her these last 4 1/2 years.
Although Annie spends a lot of her time now developing spreadsheets, she still loves helping people develop as leaders. Being able to participate in Formation was a great way to start the year. Hearing stories from the new staff about the work they are doing on campus reminded her of the importance of her work behind-the-scenes. The work she does allows the work on campus to happen. Annie is looking forward to the next Formation meeting in April.
Annie survived her first conference as registrar! She can tell you anything you want to know about the numbers of Indiana’s Fall Conference. We welcomed 176 people at camp; 130 students, 19 InterVarsity staff, and 27 volunteers. Annie’s prayer was that registration was the least memorable part of Fall Conference for the students. Registration can be challenging if students have a balance they weren’t expecting, or they aren’t rooming with their friends. That’s not a fun way to start the weekend. Fortunately, things seemed to run smoothly! Annie was able to connect with almost every student in camp, even if it was just for a second. She loves being hospitable and welcoming, so this was the perfect job for her.
Annie’s next big project is our Regional Staff Conference. All the staff across Indiana and Illinois gather every December to connect with each other and receive training. Annie is doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work – making sure every signs up, room assignments, coordinating with the retreat center, and more. The theme of the conference is “Thrive.” We will be talking about what it means to thrive in our ministries and our spiritual lives. Annie is hopeful it will be an encouraging conference for everyone.
Annie has been keeping busy! She has been making meals and coordinating logistics for various meetings. At the end of September, she helped with the Regional Leadership Team Meeting. This meeting gathers all the staff directors in Indiana and Illinois. This group only meets twice a year so their time together is very valuable. Annie helped to cook the meals and took notes of the meeting.
Conference season is starting up. Annie is coordinating registration for multiple conferences. Indiana’s Fall Conference is at the end of October. Vision, the Black Campus Ministries conference, is at the end of February. Soul Surf, a spring break evangelism conference, is in March. She is enjoying learning the registration system and trying to make things more efficient. Helping with conferences is a great way for Annie to stay connected to students.
Annie has been enjoying her new role as Senior Regional Administrator. At times she misses meeting with students, but is confident that God has gifted her for this new role. In fact, her supervisor sometimes has trouble keeping up with her! He says she should be less efficient.
One of the things Annie is looking forward to is working with Formation; the training and development program staff go through their first two years on staff. She helps coordinate the logistics, collect homework, and will hopefully be able to teach a session or two. It’s fun to meet the new staff and learn about their student experiences. They are always excited and coming up with new ideas to try on campus. Whether it’s being able to teach a session, conversations over a meal or before bed, this will be a great opportunity to pour into younger staff.
Much of our time in March was focused on Soul Surf, a spring break project in Panama City Beach. Mike co-directed this project. He spent a lot of time before the trip putting together a teaching manual and finalizing all the details with his co-director. He has seen how Soul Surf can transform people – InterVarsity students, people on the beach, and even himself – so he was grateful for the opportunity to be more involved..
Nine Purdue IV students decided to take on the challenge of the beach for spring break. While Mike was planning and leading the entire project, Annie was able to connect with and lead the Purdue students. Each of the students grew and saw God working in significant ways.
The last day we spent on the beach, Susan [senior], Austin [sophomore], and Terryn [freshman] went on a walk to find people to talk to. They saw a guy laying in the sand who called out to them, “Are you here to talk about Jesus? We don’t need him.” They ended up getting into a spiritual conversation with him. It was a great opportunity for Susan to model how to have a spiritual conversation for the younger students. And just three years ago she was one of the students on the beach in need of Jesus. She was able to share her story with many of the people she talked to.
We throw two pool parties at our motel during Soul Surf. During our second pool party, Justin and another student got into a conversation with Brad. He mentioned that he had been walking on a broken ankle for about 2 weeks. He wasn’t able to go to a doctor. Justin said he felt the Holy Spirit prompting him to pray for healing. He asked if they could lay hands on him and Brad said yes. As they were praying, Justin said he felt Brad’s ankle get really tense and then release. “[Brad] shot up and was like, ‘dude I’m good!’ I’m not shocked that it happened but I’m shocked that we got to participate in it.”
“This weekend has brought me to recommit to radically loving my brothers.” –Justin, Beta Sigma Psi
“This weekend showed me that it is possible to be Greek and have a relationship with God. I had lost that but found it here.” –Mandi, Phi Beta Chi
These are just a few of the things Purdue students said about Greek Conference. 56 Purdue students decided to spend their Valentine’s weekend encountering and worshipping God with 600 other Greeks from across the country. It was an energetic weekend full of dancing, worship, and the Holy Spirit. The Core Team kept telling Annie this Greek Conference was so different than last year. They couldn’t put their finger on it, but somehow all the Purdue Greeks seemed to connect with each other on a deeper level. Often students go to Greek Conference, have a great time, but don’t get connected to Greek IV back on campus. It seems like this year more people want to keep building community and growing in their faith back on campus.
Since Greek Conference, we have seen a burst in ministry activity. Five chapters have started a Bible study or will be starting one soon! Students have been inviting their brothers or sisters to our weekly gatherings. Attendance at our weekly gatherings has doubled since Greek Conference! Purdue Greeks are hungry for Jesus. They have experienced him and they want more. And they want their brothers or sisters to experience him too. Sometimes when people experience Jesus, they want to stay in that moment forever – like Peter, James, and John during the Transfiguration. But these Greeks are more like the woman at the well in John 4: they can’t wait to go back to their chapters and tell all that Jesus has done.
Greek Conference is here again! Hundreds of fraternity men and sorority women from across the country will be flocking to Indianapolis. They will experience a weekend full of fun and laughter as well as rich encounters with God.
With a week left until the conference, 54 Purdue Greeks from 13 different chapters are registered to attend. We are praying more will sign up. Please pray with us that students will continue to sign up. A few student leaders have told Annie they are experiencing more opposition this year when inviting their brothers or sisters to Greek Conference. The conference is over Valentine’s weekend so many people are reluctant to give up time with their significant others. Some people say they went to Greek Conference last year, so they don’t need to go again. This is surprising to hear because often when students attend Greek Conference they can’t wait to go back. Annie is encouraging students to be persistent with their invitations. But it seems like we are facing more spiritual opposition than we have in the past. We deeply appreciate your prayers to continue to be faithful and for God to break through these barriers.
We are so excited to see what God has in store for the Purdue Greeks who do attend Greek Conference! Every year students have significant encounters with our living God that can change the trajectory of their lives. We hope to come back to campus with new brothers and sisters in Christ, courageous leaders, and Greeks who desire to make change happen.