T-Minus 4 Months, and Counting!
Happy Easter 2017! As I write this letter, I have just finished five weeks of traveling around Montana, Washington, Georgia, Texas, and the United Kingdom raising funds, recruiting students, and making friends for YTI. Your YTI staff has been working hard getting the word out, connecting with students, preparing for our annual soccer camp, working with our contractors and preparing for our faculty arrival this summer. We have been sharpening our vision and preparing for the next chapter of our story.
In St. Andrews, Scotland, we connected with trustees of the Templeton Foundation and faculty members of St. Mary’s Divinity School, who are interested in our project. In Devon, England, we connected with a group of Methodist churches who would like to develop an intern program for our students. In Bellingham, Washington, we conducted our first Friends of YTI dinner, and indeed, made more friends for YTI. We increased our student body there as well, and look forward to many more students enrolling. In Georgia, Karen Gilhousen and I met with the staff of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and had a great discussion about partnerships and scholarships for our students. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Cooperative Baptists as well as other denominational fellowships. We had our second Friends of YTI dinner in Augusta, Georgia, hosted by Dan and Joyce White. We are grateful for all of our new friends, including Dr. Sarah and Nathan Ford, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Grubb, Pam and Anne Bussey, Jack Stone, Vic and B.J. Reese, Don White, and Dee and Tina Doolittle. All wonderful people! In Texas, we made new friends in San Antonio, Brownwood, and Abilene. We finalized plans for our soccer camp experience volunteer coaches, and had the opportunity to reach out to undergraduate students at the Baylor University Seminary Fair. We have several new students who are looking forward to enrolling in the Fall of 2018 and 2019.
In less than four months, we begin our Master of Divinity program at Yellowstone Theological Institute. Two years ago, we began our Master of Arts and Diploma classes in Boise, Bellingham, and Bozeman, hoping that our research would prove correct. It did. The type of education that we offer is not only unique, but sought after. The more potential students encounter us, the more appreciative they are of the education we can deliver for them. It may take several years to catch hold, but we are already seeing the fruits of our labors. We are the option for which many students are looking!
As I write this to you, I have several requests. First, pray for us. We intentionally run with a small staff to help cut costs for our students. However, this means that right now many of our people are working 40-60 hours a week to make sure all of the work gets done. Keep us in your prayers. Second, if you haven’t donated, donate. Don’t be afraid or be shy. Yellowstone Theological Institute is an IRS 501c3 educational and religious non-profit corporation. Your contributions are tax deductible. I’ve never been a person that liked to ask for money or felt that I was particularly good at asking. I just believe in what we are doing here, and believe it has an influence on the church and its mission today. It doesn’t matter what you donate, but that you donate. Finally, join the team. You are our best resource for recruiting students and friends. Just be a positive influence. Tell folks you like us, and like what we are doing. Point students and other potential “friends” in our direction. Be who God called you to be and do what God called you to do. Make a difference
Grace & Peace to You,
Dr. Jay Smith, President