On behalf of Cedarville University, Joy, Rachel, Samuel, and I pray you have a blessed Christmas and start to the New Year. This past year God has shown us grace and mercy in many ways. Please allow me to share just a few of those with you.
We experienced the joy of watching Samuel, our four-year-old, play T-ball and soccer for the first time. His ever-present wide smile displayed sheer joy as he ran around the field with friends old and new. God used his joy to fill our hearts as well. The Cedarville University Men’s Soccer Team coached the “Little Dribblers,” which provided us with another cherished opportunity to interact with students.
God has allowed us to see Rachel, our ten-year-old, mature in many ways. Academically, she worked hard, successfully achieving the title of “Memory Master” in Classical Conversations this year. She memorized more than 500 facts covering everything from the history timeline to Latin grammar and recited them to three different people with no mistakes during her last quizzing. Joy and I are proud of this academic achievement and even more proud to watch her grow in godliness as she flourishes demonstrating hospitality and a servant’s heart to guests at our home.
Joy continues to homeschool Samuel and Rachel and serve with me in our many University responsibilities. During her spare time, Joy contributed several devotionals to The Devotional for Women, which was published by B&H and released in October. God has blessed her with many opportunities to mentor young ladies through her part in leading the Women’s Soccer Bible Study and administrating the Women’s Mentoring program. Rarely a day goes by where a Cedarville student is not at our home for one reason or another. Joy flourishes in this environment, and I have no doubt the students benefit as she points them toward King Jesus.
On a sad note, our beloved German shepherd, Princess, passed away this year. Fortunately, we still have our black Labrador, Shadow. We are, however, adjusting to the loss. Living without my faithful companion for the last thirteen-plus years reminds me that our world is fallen, not the way God originally intended it.
God has blessed me this year with increased comfort in my ministry assignment and better balance in life. Now in my third year, I feel more settled, and God has graciously given us a sweet spirit on campus with anticipation that He might do something amazing. Academically, I contributed a chapter on church discipline in the book Baptist Foundations: Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age, published by B&H Academic. More importantly, God has blessed Cedarville University with several noteworthy accomplishments. Join me in thanking God for the following:
- We have paid off more than $10 million of debt in the past three years, placing the institution on solid financial footing.
- We successfully completed fundraising and construction of a $5 million renovation and expansion to our Science and Engineering facilities.
- Fall enrollment increased from 3,620 to 3,711, and our freshman class increased from 787 to 819.
- God has blessed us this fall with more than 100 professions of faith and more than 90 students answering a call to serve God wherever He sends them.
- Our placement rate continues to be 6 percent above the national average, with 100 percent placement in more than 50 degrees programs.
- Awards all across campus display the academic excellence of our faculty.
We also experienced the challenge of losing a mighty man of valor with the passing of Don Rickard, along with other members of the Cedarville family. We are thankful for the legacy these people have left and stand on the shoulders of those faithful servants who have gone before us. We look forward to a glorious reunion in heaven one day.
Finally, I am excited to tell you about one upcoming project. The Trustees approved a $3 million renovation to the twenty-year-old Jeremiah chapel. With chapel five days a week and weekend events, it shows the expected wear and tear. Through the Lord’s blessing and generous donors, we have raised one-third of our goal. We do not want to use student tuition dollars for this project, so we request that you join us in praying that God would provide the remainder through gifts.
Chapel is my favorite ministry at Cedarville University. When I stand on stage to preach God’s Word before more than 3,000 students, faculty, and staff, I feel the weight of responsibility knowing that I will give account to God one day. When I think about saved souls, repentant hearts, major life decisions answered, like specific way to serve God or the budding romance of a lifelong relationship, thankfulness fills my heart. Our majestic God still changes lives, and He often chooses to do it in chapel. We should have a room that immediately communicates to others the importance we place on chapel, while ultimately knowing it’s not about the facility, but eternal decisions made during that special hour.
An investment in this chapel is an investment in eternity. So as you pray for the timing and funding of the chapel, would you also pray that God would reveal Himself to us in unique ways and send revival to our campus? I invite you to come experience chapel again for yourself. God is moving. We wait with anticipation for what He will do, and I invite you to be part of it.
We pray Numbers 6:24–26 for you all, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Please let us know if we may ever be of service, and take time to celebrate King Jesus during the upcoming holidays.
In Christ Alone,
Thomas, Joy, Rachel, and Samuel White