“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”
It is summer and life is busy here in Utah! Summer in Salt Lake City is gorgeous, and as the snow melts in the high mountains the roads and trails get crowded with the bustle of active climbers, mountain bikers, fisherman and hikers. We are grateful for the beauty that surrounds us and the opportunities that we have to enjoy the mountains, the wildflowers and the deep blue skies.
Program Starting September 1st!
We are incredibly excited that we will be starting our pilot program this Fall! We are so thankful to see how God is moving ahead of us and making a way for this program to begin and can’t wait for our new Fellows to move here to Salt Lake City, UT!
As we approach the 1st of September we are preparing for our 3 Fellows arrival! Our focus right now is finding great jobs and housing for them. We are also working through two books that the Fellows are reading this summer as well: Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller and A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester. These are fantastic books that key in on the missional focus of work and hospitality, that are key elements of our program here in Salt Lake. We would heartily recommend both of these books!
We look forward to introducing each one of our incoming Fellows class for this year's pilot program in more depth in the upcoming weeks. But for now, here are their names; be praying for them!
McKenzie Hamlin - Appalachian State University
Emily Stuart - Christopher Newport University
Alex Bumgardner - North Carolina State University
Join the Salt Lake Fellows financial support team and donate to the program or to one of our Fellows!
Recruitment for the Class of 2017-18
Do you know of an upcoming college senior who doesn't know what they want to do after they graduate? Tell them about the Salt Lake Fellows program! If they are still trying to figure out where God is calling them, we would love to help them Start Well! The Salt Lake Fellows are will be accepting applications for the 2017-18 program this Fall , so if you know of someone, tell them to contact us! We would love to tell them more about who we are and what they can expect from our program and a year spent in Utah! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thoughts from the Founder
The quote at the top of this newsletter is a precise picture of our key focus and vision for this program here in Salt Lake: that comfortability and complacency are dangerous and we should embrace the struggle and pursue a journey that takes us into unknown and uncomfortable places. We should not fear those mountain passes. They bring out the best in us; they make us present and create in us the opportunity to engage with the world around us. And even more so, they cause us to lean and depend on our Creator as provider and sustainer of all things. John Muir uses that beautiful imagery to remind us that when we are in the midst of those mountain passes we are watchful, thoughtful and anticipatory. We are fully present, fully attentive, ready for what might come next.
I love 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, where Paul addresses the brothers and sisters in Corinth: "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Let all you do be done in love." Powerful words to a people who were a serious minority in a cultural hub like Corinth. Words of action and specificity. The type of language you would need to share with someone encountering the "mountain passes" day after day.
This is why we moved to Salt Lake and why we believe God has called us to initiate this program, to create the opportunity for young people to pursue Christ in a place so entirely out of their comfort zones. Utah has one of the most unique cultures in America because it has never had a Christian impact or footprint. So it is completely pre-Christian. Since the Mormon settlers in the mid 1800s the culture has predominately remained an LDS bubble...until recently. Salt Lake City's majority today is agnostic; a mix of cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities that are fighting against LDS traditionalism in a "in your face" kind of way. For example, Utah's biggest holiday is Pioneer Day, celebrating the settlers arrival to the Salt Lake valley; but for those not LDS, on the same day you can celebrate Pie and Beer Day. This creates a unique tension as this post-Christian agnostic city fights against its pre-Christian, Mormon heritage.
Ultimately, we know it is not Salt Lake City that will transform and change these Fellows. The experiences only create the opportunity to be molded and shaped by God. He is the one who transforms us, who works in the midst of struggle and hardship. He calls us to summit the mountain so that He can have us when we are most vulnerable, most helpless, and most in need. Christ alone is the potter. And we believe he will use the uniqueness and beauty of this place to shape young peoples hearts and minds and give them the desire to not settle for mediocrity or complacency in their own lives and communities.