Saturday, April 26, 2008

not so fast...

well, it turns out that the gates millennium scholarship isn't a full ride. it could be, if the family's expected contribution were $0. but they will not cover the expected family contribution -- either student's share or the parents'. that was... disappointing.

the big issue with columbia has been that they have evaluated our ability to pay (that is, our expected family contribution) very differently than one might expect. how they ever thought we would be able to pay $30+k is still not clear to me. the offers have been better since then, but we're still not quite to a level we could actually afford. but we're appealing -- again.

so i guess it's never time to stop praying. thanks for keeping b (and our family) in your prayers.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


those of you who are following the story know that b has been on a major faith journey. she had maybe the happiest day of her life when she was admitted (early decision, no less) to columbia, her first choice for university. it's the most ethnically diverse of the ivy league schools and situated in new york city-- a city of great excitement and tremendous needs -- all of which appealed to her. but the joy turned to anxiety when the financial aid offer was impossibly low for a family of our relatively modest means.

what were the alternatives?
  • apply elsewhere. other schools were interested and recruiting her. maybe she could get a better deal there.
  • apply for scholarships and trust God. this would mean reserving the spot at columbia, and withdrawing applications at other schools. all the eggs would be in one basket.
our family prayed, discussed, and agonized over the options. it was an intense, sometimes contentious, emotional conversation. at the end, we believed that God was saying that we should trust for columbia. this was a challenge to walk by faith, not by sight -- my favorite... (-: more than one supportive friend wondered how in the world this could ever work out. but many got on their knees to pray for what could reasonably be termed a miracle.

b started writing her scholarship applications. and she chose some big scholarships. the good news in that approach: they offer a lot of money. the downside: they're nearly impossible to get -- some with odds as low as one female student in the entire united states. b worked like crazy on the applications -- and we prayed together as a family nearly every night. then we waited.

last month, she received the news that she had been chosen as a ron brown scholar -- one of only 20 in the whole country; it's a generous financial award, along with the promise of a longer-term community in which to network. and this month, the news got even better when she was notified that she had been awarded a gates millennium scholarship -- with a full ride for her undergraduate education and the possibility of money for graduate school, if she is inclined to pursue an advanced degree in one of their preferred fields of study.

it's been an amazing season for b -- and we give glory to God. he has been lavish in his generosity, and there is no one like him. as i told b, she is an excellent student and a great person; we are very proud of her. but there are so many bright, high-achieving, accomplished students -- perhaps equally qualified. when the odds are as long as they've been and you keep ending up with the golden ticket... well, there's more going on than meets the eye. there are times when the working of God is low-key and understated. and there are times when he is dominant. this is one of those times.

from of old they have not heard, nor perceived by ear,
neither has the eye seen a God besides thee,
who acts in behalf of the one who waits for him
isaiah 64:4

Monday, April 14, 2008

birthday surprises

i turned 46 this past weekend. that wasn't the surprise -- my birthday seems to happen around about this time every year. :-)

what was a surprise was how birthday wishes seemed to come from all quarters of the world, and from so many different times in my life -- international students in montreal (including the generation that arrived after we left!), former international students who are now in places as far away as japan and the uk, former cal grad students (from veritas fellowship, now spread out literally from coast to coast), iv staff in canada and in the usa, lighthouse friends (including a pastor, a church member, and a teenage friend), long-time prayer and financial supporters, and a former cmds student (now doing his residency in alberta).

here at home, we celebrated at the bridge with more kinds of pie than you can imagine! even in our fledgling congregation, there was someone who had the same birthday! my family treated me to a delicious dinner at miyabi and a certificate for a massage -- something i will definitely enjoy in these sometimes stressful days.

as a tip of the hat to my friend b, who loves to blog about what she's preparing for lunch, here's what i had for my birthday dinner:
  • miso soup
  • wakame salad
  • salmon shioyaki
  • tempura
  • nigiri sushi (maguro, sake, binnaga-maguro)
  • maki sushi (california roll and spicy tuna)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

flirt to convert?

a christian book that advocates flirting and missionary dating as godly means of sharing the gospel?
take a look here.

this clever april fool's ruse was perpetrated by three intervarsity staff friends (two of whom are former students of ours). if i didn't know better, i'd say that someone has way too much time on their hands... :-)

if you enjoy a good april fool's joke, take a look at this list.