presidential perspectives

Presidential Perspectives: At the Center and Top of the World

In a new series on The Bell, President Lindsay will be bringing a variety of perspectives from his corner office in Frost to the far-flung corners of the world where he travels—and everything in between.

At 9,000 feet, Quito, Ecuador is the second highest capital in the world in terms of elevation. The air is so thin that simple things like climbing stairs or running to catch a taxi can make you winded pretty quickly. But it’s breathtaking in other ways, too—full of beautiful sites, incredible people and wonderful experiences. Looking out over the stunning, mountainous landscape that surrounds you, you feel like you’re on top of the world.

As Gordon was getting slammed with a blizzard earlier this week, our Wood Fellows were experiencing the warm weather and hospitality of the Ecuadorian people. Led by Chaplain Tom Haugen, the Fellows are working with an evangelical ministry called Youth World, witnessing firsthand how God moves across many cultures.

Rebecca and I also had the privilege of traveling to Quito a few weeks ago to spend time with our friends, Ambassador Todd Chapman and his wife, Janetta (pictured above). We first met them about five years ago, when Todd was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia and spoke on Gordon’s campus. (They will be back on campus this fall, and I’m thrilled that Gordon students will have a chance to hear from them again.) Both accomplished diplomats and respectable Christian leaders, Todd and Janetta represent our country and our faith in wonderful ways.

As these friends showed us around Quito, one of our stops was Mitad Del Mundo—quite literally, the middle of the world. This site on the edge of the city marks zero degrees latitude, where we could put one leg in the southern hemisphere and another in the northern hemisphere. There we stood feeling on the top of the world, at the center of the world.

Like our Wood Fellows doing good work in that very center, this week two other groups of Gordon students find themselves at different centers—Washington, D.C., our country’s political hub, and Silicon Valley, the high-tech capital.

The Richard Gross Fellows are spending their spring break gaining exposure and connecting their passions with the important work of public policy and advocacy in D.C. While visiting with organizations and government leaders, they not only are learning an immense amount about government and how policy is shaped, but they are also building connections for advocacy work they could be doing in just a few years. The Forrester Venture Fellows are in Silicon Valley, meeting with leaders at Microsoft and other companies, and being inspired by entrepreneurs while discovering what their own passions might be.

As our students, faculty and staff return from all of the places God has taken them over the break, I look forward to hearing their stories. And hopefully the snow will be gone and spring will greet them in grand fashion!

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