gradgiation…OK, what now?

Steve's Graduation Blessing

I graduated yesterday.

I heard Pomp and Circumstance, wore a silly robe and hat, got “hooded” by Dana Hood (no joke), and posed for lots of pics. You can now call me Missionary and Artful Master Steve Holt Jr. (because I received my master’s of arts in missions) — kidding, kidding. Yesterday morning I, along with my classmates who are graduating, were commissioned and blessed by the faculty and our parents in a tradition that is probably about as close to ordination that the CofC gets. It was special, though.

“The Big Dance” went over without a hitch, except for the fact that I forgot to remove my black cardboard hat during a scriptural call to worship, and I was the only one out of 400 or so in Moody Coliseum with my hat on. It was cool, though. I was on the front row, close enough for Royce Money (the prez of ACU) to sweat on me while he was speaking (not really). Dr. Tony Ash, the commencement speaker, charged the graduates to “bring it on!” when it comes to a Christian example of peace, love, humility, etc. I was pumped up. I looked around at my fellow graduates at one point, however, and began to think, “I don’t deserve this master’s degree. That’s Travis Fry…man, what a smart cookie and awesome man of God! And that’s Adam Kirkland — he’s out of my league…” Paraphrasing Wayne and Garth, “I’m not worthy!”

The real fun, however, began at 3 p.m., when most of our close friends and family assembled in our backyard for an old-fashioned, meat-grilling, horseshoe-playing, sun-burning, conversation-having cookout. We have the best friends and family. Many of you are reading this as we speak. Please know how much we appreciate and love you. We would bear almost any burden you’d need us to carry, and we know the same is true for you.

OK, what now?

Well, I’m not out of the woods yet, academically. Monday I begin a Maymester class called History of Missions, and next Friday I begin a weeklong class called “Living in God’s Story: Spiritual Formation for the Missionary.” In total, three more weeks of academic work, to end on June 2.

June 3, we pack up all our stuff into a 5×10 U-Haul trailer, attach it to the borrowed Dodge Grocery-Getter my folks graciously lent us, and start driving east. We pick my folks up in Memphis, and we should be in Boston by the evening of Monday, June 5. It is unbelievable how soon that is. Though we will be sad to leave those friends (and some family) I mentioned earlier, we are ecstatic to have this opportunity to start over in our favorite city, joining God’s work there, a “work already in progress.”

Thanks to all of you who have been praying for us for the better part of two years. Thanks to you who have given us a pat on the back or a kind word of encouragement. Thanks to you who supported us in any way. You are appreciated and loved, and we couldn’t have done this without you. To God be the glory, though.

Keep praying…

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