Merry Christmas from the Whites
Dear Family and Friends,
On behalf of Cedarville University, Samuel, Rachel, Joy, and I pray you have a blessed Christmas and start to the new year. Please allow me to share a few special moments from this past year.
Perhaps the most special moment for all of us this year was the Transformed Tour. During a 26-day span, we traveled more than 10,000 miles from coast-to-coast with nights of worship in various cities. Our family traveled in an RV that a friend of the University loaned to us as we followed the branded bus across the nation. In a span of 10 days, our students experienced the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean. We saw many friends, met many alumni and prospective students, and had a great time praising Jesus! The time spent with our HeartSong and Advancement teams in between events was special for all of us. A memorable highlight involved touring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in four-wheel drive Jeeps. Along the way we stopping to sing praises to Jesus while overlooking God’s amazing creation. We will never forget this amazing time with our students and friends.
Samuel turned 11 this year. His soccer team finished 12-0 this fall, qualifying for the state tournament for the second year in a row. Samuel played goalie and had numerous saves throughout the year. Over this past year, his love for music has risen to the top of his list of interests. He plays piano, guitar, and drums. He helped lead worship for the first time at our church, Grace Baptist, for his middle school youth group. He has been to camp at Scioto Hills three times this year, and he still loves video games, Legos, and making “big kid friends” (i.e., college student friends).
Rachel will turn 18 this month. She ran cross country for Cedarville High School again this year. We are proud of the way she recovered from surgery on her ankle to have a strong season. She has demonstrated perseverance through these challenges. She also tried pole vault this past spring along with other track and field events. She is taking several college classes this fall at Cedarville University, including piano, voice, Geology, and Politics and American Culture. She did great in her first voice recital and is participating in the Cedarville High School musical production this year. This summer she attended church camp, Worship Camp at the University, and went on a missions trip to Utah in addition to our Transformed Tour. She has been busy and continues to thrive. She plans to attend Cedarville University next year.
Kay, Joy’s mother, who had Alzheimer’s, continued to live with us during the first part of the year. Kay’s health declined to the point where we needed to find residence for her in assisted living. Kay always enjoyed seeing Samuel and would greet him with a big smile. Joy served her mom well and was with her when she passed on the morning of December 5. It makes us even more thankful for the hope of heaven, when we will be reunited and all things will be made new.
Joy continues to do physical therapy to recover from her knee surgery last year that repaired her ACL and cleaned up her meniscus. She has created quite the senior seminar of books that she and Rachel are reading together as part of Rachel’s final year of homeschool. I’m thankful that she pours into our daughter spiritually and theologically in this way. She also continues to teach Samuel. His math skills have already surpassed mine, so Joy is on her own for much of this educational process. Joy loves attending the local high school and University events and pouring into young people. She has resumed her ministry of hospitality, and it seems like there is always someone arriving or leaving the house these days. It’s a joy that we don’t take for granted.
This past year, I loved the time with family, students, and friends on the Transformed Tour. We also had the opportunity to vacation with my mom, dad, and my brother and his family. We celebrated my mom and dad’s 50th anniversary. I was also able to attend a celebration for my dad’s retirement after 50 years in ministry. What a blessing it is to have such a godly heritage. I have also enjoyed preaching through Psalms this year in a weekly chapel series titled “The Lord is Good. His Steadfast Love Endures Forever.” These Psalms have ministered to me. I continue to be amazed at the faithfulness of our God. We don’t deserve such grace and mercy.
Cedarville continues to thrive. Here are a few highlights:
- We saw lives transformed at Fall Bible Conference, with many professions of faith or rededications to Christ.
- We welcomed our largest freshman class ever of 1,139 students, up 17% from last year.
- We experienced another record enrollment of 5,082, up 367 students over last year.
- We received an $8 million gift to Cedarville University — the third largest in our history.
- We have just over $117 million committed to One Thousand Days Transformed: The Campaign for Cedarville, where we are seeking to raise $125 million.
- We broke ground on our Scharnberg Business Center, scheduled to open in 2024.
- We opened Wood Hall, our new 120-bed residence hall named in honor of Dr. Duane Wood, long-time Vice President for Academics at Cedarville.
- We opened the Callan Athletic and Academic Expansion, which houses the new Master of Athletic Training program and the PA Studies program, which recently received provisional accreditation approval.
- We raised a record of more than $19 million last year alone.
God has blessed Cedarville in so many ways. Please join me in giving Him glory and praise for the great things He has done.
Finally, we could use your prayer and support. With the expansion of the student body, we need to build another new residence hall. Our Trustees approved a 348-bed residence hall to be constructed over the next two years. We have also experienced the impact of inflation increasing the cost of the Scharnberg Business Center. Would you join me in praying that God would bring along more partners in ministry to help us fund these efforts? We need these spaces to continue our mission of transforming lives through excellent education and intentional discipleship in submission to biblical authority.
I pray that you will join our family in taking time this holiday season to celebrate the birth of King Jesus. It is through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, that we have been saved and have the incredible opportunity to serve Him on this earth. May the grace and peace of God be with you.
Thomas, Joy, Rachel, and Samuel