September 25th-27th, 2011
By Chris Godfrey
Arkansas. Sweet SEC and land of mountains and trees, so good to see you again! I boarded my plane and headed to the U of A; I landed in a little airport in Northwest Arkansas called XNA built for the Wal-Mart families nearby. Xi Chapter Chaplain, Patrick Grace, picked me up on his way back from Pledge Retreat Weekend. The pledges really enjoyed camping out and sharing life getting to know their fellow pledge-class brothers. He got me up to speed about the weekend’s events and recent activities at Arkansas as we headed to officer meeting. Officer Meeting was at a few of the men’s house which happened to be right off of campus—closer to campus than just about anything else. I came in on a busy meeting with discussions of many things going on with the men. It is always encouraging to see the officer corps work so well together bouncing ideas off of each other and then coming to an agreement to knock it out. After diving right in to meetings after arriving, we had dinner at a chicken restaurant similar to Zaxby’s but homemade. I took a brief break back at my hotel after dinner until Patrick came and picked me up from the local Holiday Inn Express to have our one-on-one.
Patrick and I went to a local coffee and dessert shop on their main street in Fayetteville. We had some great pumpkin cake and hot chocolate to kick off the fall season. I enjoyed our conversation and getting to know his story as well as his heart for BYX. Cell Groups had just begun and worked hard to make sure they would be really meaningful for the men in such a large chapter. Patrick’s story is one that shows how God can use BYX in collegiate men’s lives after growing up in a family that doesn’t strive after the Lord. Really encouraging to hear how much he has grown in college and making sure to use his time to grow in his relationship with Christ and pour in to other men on campus and in the chapter.
Monday morning started too early after a late Sunday night! Fellow National Advisor Jordan Difani is a local of the Arkansas Chapter so he and I caught up over a 7am breakfast. There are so many exciting things going on in Jordan’s life as he recently got married and continues to have two chapters he works with. Ryne, the pledge captain, picked me up from the hotel and we went to breakfast at a local bakery after catching up with Jordan. What a great way to get all fired up for the day after eating a load of baked goods! Ryne has taken the reigns of pledge captain and really done a great job of encouraging the pledges and challenging them. At chapter meeting he gets everyone pumped for upcoming activities and giving out weekly awards. Two awards were the ladies choice and Mr. Patriotic—just an example of some creativity.
Xi Chapter Treasurer, Eric, picked me up from the bakery and we went to campus to talk. The guys at Arkansas continue to budget wisely and do things with excellence! Biker week was beginning in Fayetteville, but thankfully the bikers weren’t there rumbling through the city just yet as John (the vice-president) and I went to lunch on the main strip. They have had some great events this semester and have a great line-up of activities left. Founder’s Day Tailgate was a huge success as they had a cookout and were sporting new BYX tailgate tents out on campus and giving away BYX event cups. After lunch I met up with President Taylor Hall at the house they had officer meeting at right off campus and we went to a local coffeehouse that the chapter supports to help an international ministry. The coffeehouse also serves as a prayer house for prayer time in the mornings and evenings—it’s a really neat opportunity the guys have to be in prayer for the community and world.
Chapter was a great time of community! The Cell Group Leader meeting before chapter was a great time of prayer and encouragement. The announcements and awards were at the beginning part of chapter and then had a great time of worship and encouragement after a brief break. The pledges were looking sharp as they were dressed up with black pants and white button downs for pledge time on Mondays. They have continued to have functions and coke dates this semester to really get them involved on campus and in various organizations. Pledge time was great because 80+ pledges came together and had a good time investing in one another. Tuesday I had the opportunity to sit by the Starbucks in the middle of campus and talk with men as they walked by between classes and during class breaks! Josiah, an active member, shared how BYX has really held him accountable and grown him as a man in college. The chapter really is on fire for the Lord as well as living it out for Him on campus through Greek life.
Thomas Jenkins, Secretary, took me to lunch before I left for the airport. I enjoyed my time with him eating at local restaurant that was very similar to a restaurant called Peaches in Georgia! So good drinking Sweet Tea out of the mason jar and hearing what the Lord is doing in Thomas’ life. The men at Arkansas continue to push forward and to do things well and with excitement! It was a very encouraging visit and a lot continued positive growth with the Xi Chapter.