Last Tuesday was a crazy day. I was scheduled to work an eight hour shift at a really weird time – 11 to 8 (for those of you who are engineers and immediately said “Hey that’s 9 hours,” one of those hours was a break so it doesn’t count). I was tired the whole time, just ready to get off and go to bed. Then, about five minutes before I was supposed to get off, I finally checked the messages on my phone, and saw:

Wes Simmons: “Got your placement. Call me!”

(For those of you who don’t know Wes is the campus minister at Auburn and a dear friend)

Naturally, the last five minutes felt like they lasted five hours. To make matters worse, as soon as I punched out, I went to grab my phone – and it was dead. Another painful 20 minutes passed as I sped home and plugged my phone in and waited for it to charge. Where was I going? What if I went somewhere super far away, like California? What if they actually sent me to Alaska? It’s so cold up there, I’d have to get all kinds of new clothes, and that would be expensive, and how do Alaskans even get food if they’re buried under snow 10 months out of the year? (All my knowledge about Alaska comes from the movie The Grey, apparently, and I’m not even 100% sure it was actually set in Alaska.)

Finally, I got my phone on and called Wes, who totally thought I was dead. And then he said it:


I’m going to be the intern at the University of Arkansas!

For those of you who paid the same amount of attention in Geography as I did, the University of Arkansas is in the North West tip of Arkansas (a little south of Missouri and east of Oklahoma) in a city called Fayetteville. I’ll be joining the Campus Minister, Mike Ford (who I’ve decided is one of the coolest people I’ve ever talked to after nerding out over obscure C. S. Lewis books and Gilead together, but don’t tell him I said that ’cause I’ve got to convince him I’m cool too) and his wife, Deanna.

Mike, Deanna, and their three adorable children

The RUF at Arkansas is growing rapidly – when he got there about a year and a half ago, Mike said he had approximately 7 students, and now Large Group consists of somewhere from 40 to 60. Jesus is transforming the lives of men and women in Fayetteville, and I’ve been called to play some part in it.

Students at Large Group. I don’t know any of them yet but they seem cooler than I am.

So what can you be praying for right now?

  1. Fundraising! Pray that God would bring the people in to my life who will partner with me financially in order to make ministry possible.
  2. That the Holy Spirit would be working to prepare the way for the gospel to go forward through RUF on Arkansas’ campus. Mike and I can strategize until the end of the world, but unless the Holy Spirit brings dead hearts to life it won’t do us any good.
  3. That RUF would place a girl intern with us as well! We desperately need a woman who loves Jesus to come help disciple female college students at Arkansas.

Thank you all for your continued love and support!


Future Intern at the University of Arkansas


5 thoughts on “Placement!!!

  1. James!
    Hi, my name is Taliah and I’m a senior here at the U of A in Fayetteville. So stoked that you’re coming here to intern along side Mike Ford! Thought I’d start off by giving you a warm internet welcome! You’ll be in my prayers, can’t wait to meet you!


  2. James, How exciting! I’m praising our Lord that he’s given you direction and I’m confident that He will direct your paths and use you in a mighty way! Ellise


  3. Congratulations, James! It sounds like a great placement for you:). And you shouldn’t worry about the coolness factor: Although as a parent-aged adult my opinion on the subject means nothing, I know you are funny and fun to be around; those qualities trump “cool” in any culture.


  4. Congrats James! So glad the waiting to know something is now over. I know I’m an old man, but I’m sure you’re plenty cool enough! David


  5. Congratulations! So glad that Arkansas picked you. That is where Fred was from and I will be praying that God will bless you as you begin this new ministry for His glory. Hey, I survived a trip with you to Ukraine so I know you will be great. Blessings, Emma


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