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God Is Our Waymaker

God Is Our Waymaker

  • June 9, 2021

Dr. Mark Jobe ’84 chose the Founder’s Week theme in a surprising way. A few months ago he was praying with people who drove through the food distribution line at his church. The conversation started out easy—“How are you doing?”—until a young father began to sob, choking out that his wife was depressed, his daughter had attempted suicide, and he had been laid off from his job. “I just don’t see a way forward,” he said.

That encounter led to the Waymaker theme, Dr. Jobe explained when speaking on the final night of Founder’s Week. “God is a Waymaker, and there is a path forward,” he said, preaching about Elisha and the miracle of the widow’s oil (2 Kings 4:1–7). “If you need a way and a Waymaker, then I wonder, which direction is your heart leaning?” he asked. “I would challenge you, I would beg of you, that you would purpose in your heart to lean into God.”

Following COVID-19 restrictions, only about 40 socially distanced students and the camera crew were allowed to watch Dr. Jobe preach in person. The rest of the student body and thousands of people from more than 20 countries watched online. About 160 alumni registered for their reunions on Zoom, including six from countries as far away as Tunisia, Ukraine, and Italy.

The week began with global prayer each morning on Zoom, followed by teaching, testimonies, and worship in a variety of styles—from music minister Walter Owens to Michael W. Smith, who recorded a version of “Waymaker,” to Moody’s Gospel Choir and Orchestra and a piano/organ hymn concert by John Innes ’61 and emeritus music professor H. E. Singley ’71.

Also live on Alumni Day was Emanuel Padilla ’14, program head of the BS Integrated Ministry Studies program. He preached insightfully on 1 Samuel 17, with a small band of friends watching in the Sweeting 4 studio, including his former professor, Dr. Winfred Neely.

“I like the way he used the elements of the story to get us in a unique narrative way to the gospel,” Dr. Neely said afterward. “I thought it was just so wonderful. He took a lot of classes with me, so to say that I’m proud in a good sense is an understatement. I was in tears as I think about the way that the Lord used him, and he has grown in such a wonderful way as a dedicated scholar and preacher of the Word of God.”

Perhaps David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C., and founder of Radical, summed up the theme best: “For every hurt we have, Jesus is our only hope. He’s our nation’s only hope. He’s the nations’ only hope. So let’s call people in our nation and all nations to trust in Him even as we trust in Him, knowing that when we do, His peace will never pass away and He will always make a way.”

You can still watch the video messages of Mark Jobe, Emanuel Padilla, David Platt, Rodney Maiden, and others on Moody Bible Institute’s YouTube channel.

Behind the Scenes of a Virtual Conference

“Come on,” Josue Reyes ’09 MA said, staring at the computer in his Sweeting office. It was late Thursday afternoon of Founder’s Week, and he was trying to retrieve the Faculty Citation Award video for Alumni Day the next morning.

“Can you call someone for help?” an editor in the room suggested. “Call ITS.”

“We are ITS,” Josue said with a sigh, then headed to Crowell Hall to restart the server storing large media. It took two restarts before he could get the videos to the web team, but “by the grace of God we were able to do it,” he said later.

When Founder’s Week has to go virtual, Information Technology Services plays a significant behind-the-scenes role in making the week happen without a hitch.

“We handle it like a television production, something that people are used to seeing at home,” said Josue. “There are elements of openings, transitions, delivery of content, and a particular direction of the camera, not to mention the talent, graphic styles, and timing.”

Using his background in news television, Josue directed the video engineers and students who helped with the conference, such as Juan Quiroga, a senior Communications major from Bolivia, who oversaw the teleprompter each evening, and James Hasdak ’17 MA, who helped produce the Alumnus of the Year and Faculty Citation Award videos.

Instead of live bands, in-person attendees, and set-up and tear-down, the tech staff worked with prerecorded content, including student testimonies and much of the Bible teaching. But not everything. The large studio on Sweeting 4, originally built as a TV studio, was used, with introductions by Roy Patterson ’81, Colin Raab ’20, and Kerwin Rodriguez ’09, pre-show discussions with faculty, and live preaching.

“One option could be to pre-record everything and hit ‘play,’ but I think students and most people appreciate the live emcees and the live Q and As, because there’s a sense of now to it,” said Andy Thisse ’98, event tech coordinator and audio engineer.

Producing the music was another great feat. Professor of Music Yongmin Kim, conductor of the Moody Chorale, taught himself how to use Jamulus audio editing software so he could get recordings of the Chorale students’ individual audio tracks, add video, and then mix it all together. One of the four songs the students worshipfully sang (in synched Zoom squares) was Keith Getty’s “I Will Wait for You,” which Dr. Kim connected to Psalm 40. “While we are waiting for the Lord, we just proclaim God is great,” he said.

Ken Reyes, a junior from Manilla, Philippines, said his Chorale experience has shown him how powerful worship music can be in a time of turmoil and social distancing. “While it’s harder to produce music, we need music now more than ever,” he said.