Although my parents tell me we stopped there briefly on our way home to Michigan during a tour of the American West when I was young, I still cannot summon the memory of my first visit to Rehoboth. It was with fresh eyes, then, that I was blessed to spend a bit of time there during a trip to visit Calvin alumni in the Southwest. 

Beyond the incredible beauty of the land- scape and the historical connections to these places, I was moved by the incredible work and dedication of Calvin alumni in yet another part of the world. 

The trip began with a wonderful alumni event in Phoenix. Then, after a memorable drive through the Arizona mountains in white-out snow conditions, I arrived in Rehoboth, a town that lies just outside of Gallup, New Mexico, amid the Navajo Reservation. Growing up in the Christian Reformed Church, I had known of this place, so it was truly an honor to drive onto this well-known campus again for the “first” time. 

I was wonderfully hosted by Rehoboth Christian School’s executive director, Bob Ippel ’81, and high school principal, Dan Meester ’95. To hear them both talk about the deep calling they’ve felt to be a part of this school is humbling, and to see these alumni living out that calling is inspiring. 

Bob and Dan are certainly not the only Calvin alumni living out their calling at Rehoboth; it was terrific to meet many other grads there including Emily Jeninga ’16, who told me about her current collaboration with Calvin speech pathology students and their virtual therapy sessions with Rehoboth students. 

I also journeyed about an hour south to visit more Calvin grads serving the Zuni people, a vividly different and distinct group of Native Americans. Zuni Chris- tian Mission School and Zuni Christian Reformed Church are adjoined on slightly more than one acre of land in a community with a highly diverse religious culture. 

The tour of Zuni was led by Tim Becksvoort ’97, the principal of Zuni Christian Mission School, and James Zwier ’06, the pastor of Zuni CRC. The experience was extra special for me, as Tim and I have been friends since preschool. Tim, James, and several other alumni gave us a tour and shared their rich understanding of the Zuni culture during our visit. I left with deep respect for their commitment to that community and the work they do there. 

In this edition of Spark, you’ll read about Calvin’s Outdoor Recreation program, directed by Ryan Rooks. I met one of Ryan’s former students, Chad Meekhof ’08, in Rehoboth. Chad is now deeply involved with Rehoboth’s renowned outdoor programming, and he and Ryan still actively collaborate on innovative ideas. You’ll also find a profile about Michelle Huyser ’06, the first Navajo surgical oncologist in the nation, who grew up in nearby Window Rock, Arizona, and returned to the Southwest to serve Native American people, among others, in her practice. 

Just like my visits with alumni in the Southwest did for me, I hope that, wherever you are, the stories of our fellow Knights in this edition of Spark inspire you and reenergize your own commitments and service in God’s kingdom.