From London to OKC and 27 Autumns In-between

Posted more than a year ago.

It’s long been my intent to have a guest writer or two on this blog. It shakes things up and keeps the perspective fresh. However, I never guessed my first visiting blogger would be none other than our president, John deSteiguer. I’d be surprised if you didn’t know John (he knows everyone somehow), but if you don’t, you can learn more about our home-building leader right here.

He’s found himself on the Thrive Blog because fundraising is, as I’ve said, very personal business. It’s not about numbers or spreadsheets or flashy presentations. Sure, sometimes those things find their way into the mix, but fundraising is really about people. And when you’re investing your life in others, that leads to some wonderful serendipitous moments and some equally wonderful stories.

And, well, I’ll let him tell you the rest…

Sometimes you just have to do scary things. Remember when you were little and you knew you were going to the doctor to get a shot? Yeah, that was always terrifying. I have seen some surveys that suggest three intensely frightening activities for adults: public speaking, asking for money, and handling live snakes.

I am ok with the first two; the third one not so much.

But, writing this, my first ever blog post, is really scary for me. Will Blanchard is a master at this – he’s funny, he’s a great writer, he explains stuff behind the curtain really well. I already don’t like the comparison!

But, I want to share something personal and fun. So, here goes. In 1987, 27 autumns ago, Darla and I moved to Shepherd’s Bush, a London neighborhood, for our third semester of Law School in Pepperdine’s London Program. It was a great experience. London is a world-class city that rivals Vienna, Austria – the home of OC’s Das Millicanhaus and our Euro Study Abroad Program.

On Sundays, we attended the Wembley church of Christ. At first, our trek involved the London Underground and a long walk. Then, church members felt sorry for us and began picking us up at the Underground stop. Soon, another pattern of hospitality began that we remember vividly. On Sunday afternoons, after morning service and before evening service, Charles and Jeanene Bare would take us home to a delicious lunch and their comfortable flat to relax and study. The Bares became like our parents away from home.

Over the last several years, our past has returned to the present. Darla and I have reconnected with Charles and Jeanene. We get to see them regularly when we are in Houston. They’re great – and they’re just as hospitable as ever! In fact, home is so precious to them that they’re making a Thrive project possible – the $250,000 Apartment Refresh. So, not only did they make home special for two young students in London many years ago; they will be making home special for OC students in some of our apartments for years into the future! The Bares are a blessing!

Oh, and another bit of good news – the Mabee Foundation recently committed a $1 million challenge grant to our Dining Reboot (I think Will plans to tell you more about this soon). We have 12 months to raise the remaining $2.5 million to qualify for the Mabee grant and make the coffee shop and new dining facility a reality. By the way, in the last few days we have asked some donors for this remaining amount ... while they didn’t say yes, they also didn’t immediately say no … and for a fundraiser, that’s not a bad first reaction!

More soon and many blessings.