At present, I am in Wake Forest, North Carolina, on the campus of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I am taking six weeks of intensive Biblical Hebrew in the summer session. I am doing this to make up necessary prerequisite credits for admission into the new PhD Missions Cohort that is being offered as a joint project between Southeastern and the IMB. I am really enjoying the beautiful campus, some new friends I am making, and even the opportunity to learn a bit of Hebrew, which I opted out of 20 years ago when I was working on my M. Div. at Mid-America and Southwestern. I am also enjoying spending some good time with Alan Knox and his family (who I first met by way of the blogosphere, and has since come to be a good friend), as well as the church fellowship at Messiah Baptist Church. At the same time, I am really missing my wife and two sons, who are back in the Memphis area spending time with family while I get this Hebrew requirement out of the way.
Also, I would have loved to be able to go to the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis. But it coincides with my class schedule, so here I am in North Carolina writing this relatively personal blog post. Sorry I will not be able to say hello to many of you I would have loved to spend some time with otherwise.
On another front, Kelly, the boys, and I are getting ready to return to Spain, Lord willing, sometime in mid to late July. That will make one year since we have been on Stateside Assignment. A few months before leaving Spain, I had posted expressing some uncertainty regarding our future. Over the course of the year, though, God has confirmed to us that we are to return to Spain, and we are really looking forward to what lies ahead. In the coming months, we will need to look for a new home, as well as to define a little more our specific ministry description for the upcoming term. There are some exciting possibilities, about which I look forward to keeping you posted. We would very much appreciate your prayers for us during this time.
Some of you may be thinking, "...and what about the PhD?" Well, that's the awesome thing about it! The Missions Cohort PhD is structured in such a way that we will be able to remain on the field as active missionaries at the same time I am working on my studies. Also, the group of fellow cohort members will all be fellow career IMB missionaries. And, the main topic of study will be missions. I believe this will be a strategic opportunity to bring the world of Southern Baptist missions together with that of Southern Baptist academia, allowing for greater "cross-pollinization" between these two fields of ministry that have many times operated in relative isolation from each other. And I am really excited and count it a great privilege to be included in this cutting edge pilot project!
Which brings me to one more bit of news. I was just made aware by Nathan Finn of a new collaborative blog called Between the Times. Even though there will be no comment section, this promises to be a significant and positive addition to the Baptist blogosphere, with an all-star roster of contributors, all of them hailing from the faculty of Southeastern Seminary: Danny Akin, Bruce Ashford, Nathan Finn, Kenneth Keathley, and David Nelson.
The first post, Toward a Great Commission Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention: Part One, is authored by Bruce Ashford, who, by the way, has graciously agreed to be my major professor for my upcoming PhD project. I strongly recommend you to check it out, and to closely follow Between the Times in the days ahead.