Think about an 18 year old college student, whose birth year doesn't start with a nineteen. They never knew the world without the internet and were starting grade school when the first major smartphone was released. Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are their playgrounds. They have the same relational and spiritual needs, but the way their relationships connect is digital. The French campus ministry had a great idea to kick off this school year. They had a conference focusing on being digital: using social media to connect with students, using the digital tools available to them, and engaging in outreach online. May and I were there, excited to represent the technology team and digital strategies. Presenting the French EveryStudent and StartingWithGod websites, I reported a noteworthy jump in the number of visits, averaging 78,000 per month in the last year. And although the highest percentage is from France (#1) and French speaking Canada (#4), over 60% of visits are in African countries. These sites are reaching the French speaking world. This includes the thousands of people who have signed up to receive our email series. I encouraged the campus staff to get to know the articles on questions2vie.com because there are excellent answers to questions students are asking, a relevant digital resource. During the conference, I also had the opportunity to host the video option of the digital outreach. The objective was to record a testimony in 30 seconds or less, being open and real about your walk with Jesus, inviting your friends to talk with you about it. These were then posted or shared in Facebook or Instagram. I really enjoyed coaching the campus staff through recording the video and refining the testimony to be on point and inviting dialogue.
We love first day of school pictures. Since Silas is a senior, this might be the last one with everyone together. You've probably noticed they're both taller than May! Silas is applying to colleges in the US, the UK, and in France. What exactly he'll study is still being defined, but we do know music will be an element. Silas wants the flexibility to pursue violin along with other studies. This factor along with where he is accepted and affordability will inform the decision making process. À suivre.
Efrem is a freshman, the final year of middle school in France with its "Brevet" completion exam. He has also started his professional degree at the conservatory, which means taking evening classes in composition and rhythm, and playing in the same orchestra as his brother! His skill with the flute continues to progress at race-horse pace; he is a rare talent. Of course, Efrem is playing baseball once again this year, working on his changeup and curveball.