Nationals Visits the University of Texas

By Robert Bember
National Advisor

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I spent a hectic week at home between my first three chapter visits and my next three. I hit the road early in the semester by visiting Southern Arkansas, followed by Mississippi State and Texas Tech the next two weeks. When I left for the Alpha Chapter last Monday, February 21, it would be the first of three visits in eight days. After a not so restful week, I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the time on the road, but God once again reminded me that His power is truly made perfect in my weakness.

On the way to Austin, I stopped in Waco to grab a bite to eat with my little brother George, a junior at Baylor. While at Buffalo Wild Wings, he remembered he was supposed to be tutoring someone. This in no way, shape or form pertains to my visit to Texas, but I just felt the need to once again point out that despite being a good student, my brother is a total airhead. Love you bro.

I met with Treasurer Michael Dixon to talk money at his house so endearingly known as the Green Monster. I have to give the Horns some credit. The Green Monster is probably the coolest college house I’ve been to, despite being painted the same colors as the walls of Fenway Park. It’s home to eight members of the Alpha Chapter, including four officers, and serves as one of the chief party houses for BYX at Texas. To finish up rush week, the men hosted a “Robes and Strobes” open party in which guests could come in pajamas to enjoy a coffee house atmosphere on the first floor or go nuts in the rave environment in their garage on the ground level. It’s a three-story house. The guys were nice enough to let me hang out there extensively during my visit and I’m so grateful for their hospitality.

I met with President Kemp Gregory next and got some Kerbey Lane queso. I think that’s becoming a tradition with the Alpha Chapter presidents. We had a great meeting. In discussing some of the minor hiccups that the 2011 officers have faced, I was thoroughly impressed with Kemp’s humility. He hated that they had these lapses in judgment and wouldn’t shy away from the blame. I learned a lot about the type of leader Kemp is. They may have taken some lumps so far, but the leadership at the Alpha Chapter is nothing short of outstanding.

Chaplain Ben Oheim hosts a prayer meeting a half-hour before chapter. The response by the chapter in terms of attendance was great. Ben showed a short video and followed with a brief talk of his own before the men broke up in groups and prayed together. The Alpha Chapter offers a number of opportunities for the brothers to come together in prayer and has a system of prayer accountability partners set up in which brothers commit to pray for another brother specifically throughout the week.

Following chapter meeting, I went over to hang out outside the capitol building with Pledge Captain Aaron Burkin. Burkin and Co. are leading a pledge class of 22 and working to change up an already strong pledge process. My head was spinning a little bit as Aaron flaunted spreadsheets that recorded pledge points and absences. He’s doing a great job of balancing spiritual growth and fun brotherhood activities with the pledge class.

Tuesday consisted of one-on-ones, hydroponic vegetables and slaying zombies at the Green Monster. It’s always great to sit down with my officers and hear what God is doing in their life and with the chapter. The six officers and I planned dinner that night. We left the Green Monster to grab some bar-b-que at the County Line. I was over organic trash and wanted some meat. I think I did enough to keep Austin weird. Unfortunately, Aaron decided it would be a good idea to go 20 minutes in the wrong direction towards the Salt Lick, another well-known bar-b-que place in Austin. So my car was a little late. It was worth the wait for a great meal and great times with my officers.

I wasn’t ready to go back to my hotel after the late dinner, so Ben invited me to their officer cell group. The level of transparency and accountability between the officers is exactly what we’re trying to instill in all of our cell groups. I was blessed to not only hear what was going on in the men’s lives, but to also be able to share a little more about what’s going on in mine.

In my position, I find these times where I can let my officers get to know me at a deeper level to be so valuable. I think it’s so important to be viewed as a brother and not just some sort of enforcer of the rules. That’s a common misconception about our national advisors. If this job was just about enforcing rules, it wouldn’t be rewarding at all and, honestly, probably not worth the time and effort we put in.

The time spent with the Alpha Chapter was a great start to my road trip of sorts. The chapter is blessed with so many great leaders and passionate brothers. I’m grateful to serve such an awesome group of men and look forward to walking along side them for the next couple of years.


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