A Good Fit

By Anonymous

All over the world people are searching for a good fit. I am reminded of a sign I saw outside a Hong Kong tailor’s shop: “Men may be fitted downstairs; women may have their fits upstairs.”

A good-fitting suit or pair of shoes is a treasure. Right after I graduated from Nyack College (Nyack, N.Y.), I wanted to buy my first pair of golf shoes. Being the youngest of five boys meant I had been using hand-me-downs, and I was determined to get my own pair. At that time in my life, the most important qualification for a good pair of golf shoes was that they were cheap. I walked out of the discount store feeling very pleased at how little I paid. There was just one problem that dogged me for the next decade—the shoes were a full size too small! At the end of every round of golf I had to unfold my bent-over toes as I swore that that was the last time I would wear my “bargain” shoes.

As great as it feels to have a pair of shoes that fit well, an even greater feeling occurs when you enter a new life situation that is a great fit. This happened to my spouse and me when we left the field, where we had been serving as the U.S. C&MA field director couple for the previous eight years, to be Missionaries-in-Residence (MIRs) at Nyack College.

From the moment we arrived, we knew this was going to be a good fit for us. (Well, maybe from the second day, since we arrived when the temperature was more than 100° and the air conditioning had not yet been installed!)

Since we were in our early fifties we wondered if we had enough generational currency to minister to the students. That fear dissipated at our first student leaders training session before the start of the school year. Both my spouse and I connected with the students in ways we never dreamed possible. I suppose one reason is that I myself have never truly grown up. I enjoy a good joke, especially a good play on words. Both Sharon and I have a natural way of demystifying missions, so promoting The Alliance comes naturally to us and has been received well by the students.

As we progressed through that first semester, words from former MIRs began to ring loud in my ear. “During your first semester, you are just learning your role,” they cautioned. “About half way through the second semester, you finally “get it” only to start disengaging in order to return to the field.” Although there was truth in those words, we knew we were not returning to the field. However, we had no idea what was next for us.

When Nyack approached us about staying a second year, we breathed a sigh of relief, mainly because it afforded us more time to discern the Lord’s will for our future. But also it gave us more time to invest in Nyack. We used the second semester of that first year to connect with even more students. Teaching classes gave me great exposure to students in the intercultural studies major. Having them over for meals and movies was a great way to do informal mentoring. My spouse, however, chose to line up six or seven young people to invest in for the remainder of the year.

Last year we were able to deepen relationships with students as well as to forge new connections. Being in the classroom was a powerful way to communicate with students. Informal and formal mentoring opportunities enhanced our time on campus, too. Hanging out with students at the cafeteria as well as attending softball games, basketball games, volleyball games, concerts and various other functions gave us the chance to personalize missions.

As we worked with some seniors during our second year, attempting to guide them in their next steps, we were thankful to the Lord, to the C&MA and to Nyack for allowing us this opportunity to be on campus.

It was a good fit.

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