Last updated: February 21, 2024

In Line for Hughes Auditorium

To accommodate the tens of thousands of youth who had arrived in Wilmore, KY, for the Asbury Outpouring, Hughes Auditorium would soon close to adults. That’s what Rob Waldo and his family learned as they followed the Outpouring online from their home in Peoria, Illinois.

Rob and his son Daniel wanted to experience the Asbury Outpouring in Hughes. So on Friday night, February 17, 2023, they decided they’d get in the car at 3 a.m. the next morning and make the 7-hour drive before it was too late. 

“I was excited to go have fun with my dad and worship Jesus,” says 11-year-old Daniel. His dad, Rob, says, “There’s something about being around an opportunity to worship and something fresh – something that would hopefully put a shot of encouragement and faith in our souls.”

A shot of encouragement certainly happened in unexpected ways for both father and son.

Rob and Daniel arrived in Wilmore between 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 18, a very-crowded day on the Asbury University and Asbury Seminary campuses. They stood in line for Hughes all day and into the evening, building great relationships along the way. Rob was astounded by the people he recognized from his Asbury Seminary days who were serving the crowds in various ways. 

Meeting Jesus at the Asbury Outpouring

Rob and Daniel got into Hughes Auditorium at 9 p.m. and worshiped the Lord until midnight. A woman who gave her testimony asked if anyone wanted to surrender 100 percent of their life to the Lord. Daniel responded to her call. “I knew that I had given, like, most of my life to Him. Say, 95 percent,” he says. “There was that last 5 percent that I was still controlling my own way. And I wanted to give that last 5 percent to Him.” Though exhausted by midnight, Daniel was crying and didn’t want to leave. “Everybody wanted to keep worshiping. Nobody wanted to stop, and it was just a crazy thing that I had never experienced before,” he says.

After crashing for the night, Daniel and Rob spent Sunday morning walking around the Asbury Seminary campus as Rob showed Daniel the places where he had lived and taken courses during his M.Div. days. “For me, it was really wonderful. It brought back a lot of memories of my time at Asbury, and I have a lot of fond memories of my time there,” says Rob. 

They also visited McKenna Chapel – one of the overflow chapels for the Outpouring. This time, it was Rob who had a powerful encounter with the Lord as he was on his face. “I realized I spent four years at seminary, and I had drawn close to the Lord in prayer and studying the Word and growing and being prepared. But I felt like I had missed loving people well. I had missed seeing people as I could have seen them. And the Lord really touched my heart to grow in that area. So a lot of softening.”

The Legacy of Henry Clay Morrison 

The Lord was to touch their hearts even more before they departed Wilmore back to Peoria. Rob and Daniel visited the H.C. Morrison statue and read the plaque about his founding the Seminary with three students in 1923. Rob talked with his son about how H.C. Morrison had been faithful over a hundred years ago, and here it was 2023. “Year after year, there are students being trained, growing in their faith, and being equipped to then go out into the world to serve the Lord,” says Rob. “And so that faithfulness was profound.”

Daniel was impacted as he meditated on this. “I thought that if H.C. Morrison, over a hundred years ago, was faithful with what he had, and now we’re being touched today, what would happen if I’m faithful right now, and then a hundred years later something like this would happen because I was faithful to God?”

Rob and Daniel then prayed on the Seminary campus, asking the Lord to keep training and drawing many students. “Through Asbury, we want to be part of His work on the earth. Part of that is just asking, ‘Lord, use our lives for Your good, whatever that looks like.’”

Jesus and Satan in the Wilderness

Rob feels incredibly fortunate to have studied at Asbury Seminary, where he learned in his courses to rightly interpret the word of God. “This is the preeminent struggle. This is Jesus and Satan in the wilderness… the interesting battle that can either lead to freedom – because we get Jesus’ interpretation and the truth sets us free – or to bondage,” says Rob. 

He describes Seminary as a “greenhouse,” a place of safety and protection to study the word of God without the pressure that comes during vocational ministry. After earning his M.Div. from Asbury Seminary, Rob served as a pastor of discipleship in Peoria for five years. Then, through a number of events, the Lord directed Rob to a Christian nonprofit healthcare ministry called Samaritan Ministries, where he is now Chief Administrative Officer. “I help us in our governance, risk and compliance. And that basically means that we try and keep our house in order so we can do the ministry God called us to do.”  

Rob passionately believes that the church also needs to make sure its house is in order. He learned that vocational ministry involves an ongoing battle of spiritual warfare and trials, which must lead us back to our foundation. “The wind’s going to blow and beat on the house of our lives. The longer we’re alive, the more likely we’re going to have situations come that are like two by fours that nail us on the back of the head… And what seminary tries to do is provide this theological foundation that is strong – that when the winds blow, the rains beat on that house, we can stand and we endure.”  

The Outpouring, for Rob and his son, was that reminder of the presence of Jesus and that foundation to return to from the grind.  

Three Generations Impacted by Asbury Seminary

Rob’s parents came to faith in Peoria in the late 70s through the ministry of Ira Galloway, who served as a board member for Asbury Seminary from 1975-2015. Rob was then led to faith in the late 90s by his parents. Almost 10 years later, Rob’s parents and grandparents encouraged him to attend Asbury Seminary. “Ira Galloway was faithful in his service in ministry to the Lord in the 70s here locally, and then now in 2023 God touches my son. It’s just amazing to see how that works,” says Rob. 

For one of his seminary courses, Rob interviewed pastors and leaders, including Ira Galloway, who said, ”Providence is hard to see looking forward. It’s a lot easier to see looking back.” 

Rob has not forgotten Galloway’s statement. According to Rob, our stories probably won’t look like we think they will, but we can look back and see how God used our circumstances. “It’s easy to get offended, or bitter, or disillusioned. And we need to say, ‘You know what? God knew about all of this, and He called me here because He knew He needed me in this spot at this time,’” says Rob. 

To the students and alumni of Asbury Seminary, Rob has a message: “The church is hurting, and the church is in need of godly, trustworthy men and women who can be healers and be part of redeeming the world. We need you out there in service. And even if the path, like mine, hasn’t gone how we thought it would go, God has had a plan.” 

To stand strong on the rock of Christ, Rob, Daniel and his family love their “family worship” time, which they try to do daily. Whether focused on prayer, worship music, or God’s word, the goal is the same: to grow in following Jesus as a family. In their free time, Rob runs endurance obstacle races, and Daniel likes grilling, working out, and listening to worship music. And who knows, maybe one day Daniel will represent the next generation for the Waldos at Asbury.

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