I write from a colloquially-furnished coffee shop nestled in downtown Omaha, Nebraska. On Monday of this week, I drove my little blue Mazda hatchback through a harrowing snowstorm across Iowa’s expansive flat to arrive in Omaha long after the sun had set. Welcomed into a comfortable home wearing every distinction of a grandparents’ abode, I have since spent my hours beginning to put together a life for the next four months in Nebraska, a state it had never before even occurred to me to visit before a few weeks ago when this next step in the story began to form (due to ignorance of course, not aversion).
Omaha, you might say?? Wait, what? Weren’t you just in a) California? b) Colorado? c) Philadelphia? d) back in Chicago? e) Back in Chicago again? f) Coaching at Moody? g) Considering going back to Europe?
Excellent questions, all. And to each I answer affirmatively. My past couple months have been a bit of a whirlwind, so I’ll give a brief play-by-play and then will tell you what I’ll be up to for the foreseeable future.
There are a couple previous blog posts that can give a bit more detail on a lot of this, but for a comprehensive snapshot, I’ll start with my position at Moody ending in mid-October:
- Mid-October: Moody job went kaput
- October through November 20th-ish, I visited:
- Washington, D.C.
- Grundy, VA
- Columbia, MO
- Nashville, TN
- Thanksgiving: Returned to Chicago and stayed through Christmas with my family
- January 4th-28th, I visited:
- California (San Diego, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Auburn, Scotts Valley)
- Denver, CO
- Philadelphia, PA
- January 28th – February 5th: Returned to Chicago, packed my stuff, got to see my youngest brother perform in a theater production, then drove to
- Feb 5th-?: Omaha, NE
Whew. Thank you for obliging me — I had to write it out just to make sure I had it all straight in my head.
So what’s in Omaha?
My exploratory conversation that began before the Christmas season with the director of Athletes Intervarsity has matured into a volunteer posting for the remainder of the spring semester in Omaha to help nurture a couple athletic groups and projects on campuses in the area. Here’s what I know:
- I’ve been provided free housing split between two gracious and generous hosts for the four-ish months I’ll be in town. I’ll spend the first two months in a cozy basement apartment in a nice neighborhood courtesy of my IV supervisor’s in-laws. I’ll spend the second two months at the home of an IV alumni couple.
- There used to be a vibrant athlete group meeting regularly to hold Bible studies and be mentored by IV staff at one of the campuses in town, and there are whispers of potential activity on two other campuses in the area as well. My job will be to poke around in the coals to see what flames we can rekindle into life while I’m here in the hopeful anticipation of IV being able to bring a full-time IV staff member back into the area to work with those groups again after I’m gone.
- I have been able to spend some quality time with the IV area director, my supervisor for my time here, and her family over the past 40 hours. It’s been great and I look forward to working with her and other IV characters stationed in Omaha over these coming few months.
Here’s what I don’t know:
- What will we be able to do between now and May?
- What will most benefit these athletes? What will be the most effective or helpful efforts I can put forth?
- What will my relationships look like by the end?
- Am I here in Omaha for something other than athlete ministry? What will come out of this time?
- What will my future involvement be with InterVarsity?
- What kind of job will I be able to procure while I’m here? What should I be looking for? What would be the most beneficial to all involved?
- What will my church home look like?
- Will I be able to find community? Will I be able to find basketball people? Workout people? Music people?
- Am I cut out for this?
- What comes after Omaha?
Potential answers are already swirling, but those will be fodder for future posts. For now, we stare into a horizon of unknowns (thanks for standing here with me). I look forward to the fog dissipating and life becoming more concrete with every forward step, and hopefully that will happen quickly over the coming weeks. But for now, on to building the next adventure!