Standing on the Rock

In Winter/Spring 2016, With the President by Erik Hoekstra

Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit recent Dordt College graduate Chris Bylsma, an agricultural educator at Ebenezer College in Mozambique. Ebenezer is the educational arm of Communities of Fusion Mozambique—a unique group of companies, schools, and churches seeking to drive vibrant, Christ-centered community development in that part of Africa.

As we stood together on a rock overlooking the valley and the small student farming plots below, Chris was a bit apologetic about the conditions for education as compared to those at Dordt College. Ebenezer has only been in existence a few years, and the buildings, irrigation, and farm plots are modest.

I stopped his apology. Because we are celebrating Dordt College’s 60th anniversary this year, I’d spent time in our archives looking at pictures from the early start-up days. I reminded us both that Dordt didn’t look like much either during its first few years of existence. I also told Chris how much I stand indebted and in awe of those founders who saw a vision of something different—grander, if you will—than the single building on the edge of a gritty and somewhat dusty small town in rural Iowa.

I urged Chris to close his eyes and imagine standing on the same rock in 60 years, envisioning what God will do with the faithful beginnings he and his team are digging out of that valley—for God’s glory and for his servants’ thriving as his image bearers.

The Dordt College campus today has blossomed since then and has an “our cup runneth over” feel. It has become a place where, by God’s providential hand, we aim to thrive and move forward, to ever more faithfully and abundantly serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

As the members of Dordt’s Defender Nation, in Sioux Center or Mozambique or wherever God has called us to serve, may we be humbly mindful that the success of our work does not depend on our efforts alone. May we take from our work a deep joy that God has chosen us to serve his kingdom purposes in the communities to which we are called. May we hand off to those who succeed us, a commitment to Christ-centered renewal and an ever-expanding vision of what will be in the future. And may we continue to stand on the Rock, marveling at what God will do through us and to us and with us, for his kingdom purposes and his glory.