To the TMU family,
These past couple of weeks have undeniably, and abruptly affirmed the Bible’s claim that life is like a “vapor” (James 4). Like smoke from an extinguished candle, it is unpredictable, uncontrollable, and temporal. Truly, we cannot predict or presume upon tomorrow. As the Bible says, we need to live present and dependent on God today. This is more obvious than ever. Who would have predicted a month ago you would be home, or in someone else’s home, and our campus empty for the rest of the semester?
This past week was unpredictable, unprecedented, emotional, and difficult for us all. Students, their families, administration, faculty, and staff at The Master’s University were all trying to adjust to a rapid and everchanging social landscape. We tried to make the best and most timely decisions for us all. In the end we prioritized people and health over possessions or inconvenience. I am so grateful to the Lord we did. After a hard decision to close our campus, within 24 hours after the dorms were emptied, the governor of California issued a “shelter in place” order for the entire state. This meant only mission-critical staff could come to campus, and our dorms would remain closed entirely for several weeks. If we had not closed when we did, many of you would have been stuck in difficult and unmanageable situations. We are grateful for God’s kindness that we closed when we did. Thanks to you, in a 12-hour window last Wednesday, 300 students were able to gather their possessions, and an additional 41 signed waivers so someone could get their things for them. Of the 300, 244 were able to do a “full move” and 56 others grabbed just what they needed. By 11 pm on Wednesday, our campus was empty! A BIG and SINCERE thanks to you for your cooperation and support on a big day that went about as well as it could have. Though we had to say goodbye too early, cut short our Spring break plans, and miss a wonderful celebration of our seniors in their final semester, you were understanding, good-hearted, and supportive. Thank you! Special thanks to my student life staff and seven coaches who pitched in to lead and serve on a very long day.
I am also grateful that classes are going to continue, and you will all be able to finish the semester on schedule. Our professors are working hard so you can still receive a world-class education that’s grounded in a biblical worldview. And though this forced break from campus life will require creativity, it will also affirm why The Master’s University is unique. In the coming days, your professors and student life staff will connect with you and continue ministry and life-on-life connection. I believe no other college or university combines personal discipleship and vocational training so effectively. Chapel. Athletics. Dorm life. Countless conversations in the dining hall, trophy coffee, and lower café, and now, “Zoom”! All these sanctifying relationships shape each of us into the image of Christ.
For those who did not get a chance to move out or get the things you need, we want you to be able to do that by connecting with student life and making an appointment. Those specific directions are attached to this email and on our website. Obviously, we want you to be able to get your things as soon as possible and certainly by the end of the semester. We’re requiring appointments so we can make sure you are aware of the current restrictions and risks at the time you return to campus. Currently, California’s “shelter in place” mandate does not prevent picking up your things from campus. If you believe it is necessary that you retrieve your belongings, you can make an appointment and come to campus at that time. Please recognize the situation is fluid and changing constantly. By March 30, these options may no longer be feasible, or safe. Between now and then, be sure you’re staying up to date on the university’s response to COVID-19 at masters.edu/coronavirus. And for official updates on travel restrictions and shelter in place mandates, I encourage you to visit lacounty.gov/covid19/ and covid19.ca.gov/. Those two websites will tell you exactly how our county and state officials are responding to COVID-19.
During this time of uncertainty, as so many families face unexpected questions about finances, we want to partner with our students and parents financially. To that end, I’m so grateful for our CFO Todd Kostjuk. He has led our administration team in the decision to fully credit all residential student accounts seven weeks for room and board. For students planning to return for the 2020-21 academic year, this credit will apply to their fall balance. Please contact student accounts if you have any questions.
Finally, until our governing authorities tell us otherwise, we shelter in place, we wait, and we trust our good God. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know when we’ll be able to reopen campus and the dorms. But we know this: God is sovereign over this virus. He oversees every difficult decision our leaders must make. He knows what tomorrow holds for our world, for you, for me, for The Master’s University. We don’t have to be anxious. We can trust Him. He has already given us everything through His Son. He can certainly give us what we need in the age of COVID-19.
As I isolate and adjust to a new normal through the coming days, I am truly looking forward to what God will teach us through this unexpected challenge. I am already anticipating the joyful reunion in the fall when we can share what this providential and purposeful season taught us and did for us all in our journey to Christlikeness.
Romans 8:31-32: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Thankful to be a part of your life and the Master’s family!