Dear Greg, the rest of the Caleb Project staff and celebrants,
|Debbie, Karen, Nancy & Greg, founding staff of the Caleb Project|
I celebrate with you on the 25th anniversary of Caleb Project's humble beginnings. Such is the nature of God's kingdom process-starting always as a mustard seed. It was a privilege for many of us celebrating this anniversary to see it in this state for awhile when we were students at Penn State in the spring of 1980 as well as the following year or two. Even though there was much initial excitement and vision and energy, there were other times when the seed could have easily died.
Many people left their fingerprints upon Caleb Project's infant development. We were far from perfect. It is truly a mystery how God can use such broken, messed up people to further His purposes. But we knew we had stumbled onto something far bigger than us and our collective talents and intellect. We somehow knew, we sensed, we were pressing afresh into the heart of God and His incredible passion for His creation to be redeemed and reunited with His love. A new thing needed to happen.
We simply felt that we needed to dream bigger beyond the lines and boundaries that were already mapped out for us as students and recent graduates of the university. We also attempted to keep some kind of community and accountability across the miles of separation and eventually the months and years of time that can so easily dissipate many a fresh wind of God's Spirit blowing through a new idea. But this was not easy.
Often it is much more glamorous to hop on the plane and go to the so-called "front lines" of the mission field. In that first year after the Caleb Project was born, four of us went to Libya while many more of us spanned oceans and longitudinal lines following God's compassionate heart for the "hidden peoples." But Caleb Project's real work was left to a handful of women who uprooted from family and friends, eventually moving to California to tirelessly labor behind the scenes to keep the vision alive. Women like Karen Meehan, Lyn Haugh, Patti (Silver) and Deb Saunders to name a few.
Even with the successes at Edinburgh 1980, the Caleb Project was languishing for able-bodied volunteers and a director after a year of its birth. Because of these circumstances even I was asked at one point to consider being its director. It is a good thing I eventually turned down the offer. After honestly looking back over the years, I readily admit that my emotional immaturity and confidence (often masking pride) could well have sunk or set back the project while it was still in its infantile state. So, it was Greg Fritz who stepped up and the rest is history.
I believe the two originals of Caleb Project in Greg Fritz and Deb Saunders exemplify two pillars of growth and stability that the organization as a whole has experienced. Though they are quite different in their circumstances, abilities and roles, I respect them both immensely. They are two of my peer heroes - they have walked through a lot of trials, have been faithful, and God continues to cause their increase…to expand their borders much like the Caleb of old modeled for future generations. May we continue to believe for the next generation as well.
Our lives have been touched and even changed by the vision behind the Caleb Project. What new things might God be up to now? And can we dream for the next 25 or 250 years?
Peace in Jesus,
Dir. of Research and Training
Christian Futures Network