We announced our news on April 1st and didn't realize until later that...perhaps people didn't realize that it was not an April Fool's joke! :) Yes, we are leaving the beautiful town of Savannah and moving to West Lafayette, Indiana to minister to the college students at Purdue University through RUF. Curtis and I are very excited about this opportunity even though we are sad to leave lots of sweet friends and family in the FL/GA area. We are in the process now of trying to sell our house (or possibly rent it) and beginning to pack! Please pray for us through all these transitions. We also will have to fundraise for this opportunity, so we would ask you to prayerfully consider financially supporting us by clicking this link and selecting staff member "Curtis McDaniel - Purdue University."
See Curtis' letter below for more information:
I am writing to you with exciting news for the McDaniel family. After spending almost four years in the beautiful city of Savannah, GA, the Lord has opened up a door to minister with Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. As you can gather from a map, this will be a big change for us. Savannah has a special place in our hearts, as it was both the first place we ministered and the birthplace of our daughter Anna. While we will miss our friends there, particularly our church family at Grace Church of the Islands, we are thrilled at the prospect of doing college ministry at such an influential campus like Purdue.
Many of you know that both Margaret and I have a heart for college ministry, particularly RUF. We both were heavily involved in RUF during our time at the University of Florida. RUF provided a place for us to hear the Gospel, to have meaningful community, and to reach the college campus with the beauty of the Gospel. Not only did we meet some of our best friends through RUF, we even met each other! Consequently, we have a strong passion for college ministry and we are excited about taking this passion to Purdue University.
Some of you may be asking, “Why is Purdue such an important school? Consider the following important pieces of information about Purdue:
- It is a large state school with almost 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
- It has produced 13 Nobel Peace Prize winners and 23 astronauts.
- It has the 2nd highest international student population of any public university in the US. In fact, one Purdue student told me of a conversation with his Chinese neighbors in Columbus, OH (home of The Ohio State University). His neighbors said they hadn’t heard of Ohio State in China, but they had heard of Purdue. The nations come to Purdue, which provides a unique opportunity to reach students and groups that would be much harder to reach otherwise.
- The new president, Mitch Daniels, is widely respected for his tenure as the governor of Indiana. Many think Purdue will become an educational model for the 21st century, making it a university that others will seek to emulate.
Why is Purdue important? Purdue produces culture-makers and influential leaders who will shape the Midwest region, our country and the world.
It is these students that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As you can imagine, these students wrestle with many problems and questions. They grapple with the stress of a challenging academic school, the pressure to succeed, and the temptation to find their identity in their work. This is in addition to other issues like family troubles, relationship hurts, and even asking deep questions. These questions include “Who am I?” “What should I do with my life?” and “What do I really believe?” It is into these situations that the ministry of RUF comes alongside college students with the love and truth of God. It seeks not only to impact students, but also to equip them to bring the hope of the Gospel to their friends. It also emphasizes the importance of the local church as it connects students not simply to RUF but to the “enduring community” of the church. A graduating student said this about her time in RUF at Purdue: “Although I had been a Christian since childhood, I saw and met Jesus in a new way at RUF. And as I leave Purdue, I am excited to keep growing in my understanding of the gospel and serving the church.” In short, RUF ministers at a critical time in a transformative way in the lives of students.
Because of our experience and our passion for college ministry, Margaret and I are confident that this opportunity for ministry is from the Lord. We are following the first campus minister, Brian Davis, who pioneered the work of RUF at Purdue. The Lord blessed his ministry and as a result, there is a strong core of committed students who love the Lord, RUF, and Purdue. We are stepping into a great ministry and an good time to transition leadership.
We are inviting you to partner with us in this strategic ministry. Because this is a time of transition, it is a critical time in the life of this ministry. Consequently, you have a vital role to play. We are in need of both prayer and financial support. Please consider partnering with us by praying for us, for this ministry, and for Purdue regularly. We would also ask you to consider supporting us financially. RUF is funded exclusively through the generous giving of churches and individuals like you. Please consider giving to RUF on a monthly basis, one-time, or annually. I have included a support envelope with this letter that you can send back with a donation (if giving with a check, please write “Purdue University” on the memo line). You can also give online at ruf.org. I also would love the opportunity to speak with you and possibly your church about RUF. Please feel free to contact me at the email address below. Thank you and God bless!
Grace & Peace,