Living The Dream: When Hospitality Becomes Real, with Ken and Trudi Berding
Mandy [00:00:01] Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.
Chris [00:00:10] Hey, we're so glad to have you for another Art of Relationships podcast where we talk about all things relationships and marriage and cool things like that. Lisa I think in the past, you know, we have gotten a chance to talk about all kinds of, you know, spiritual gifts, all kinds of ways they impact marriages and relationships. And today I think it's going to be really fun because we're going to talk a little bit about the impact on marriages and relationships in particular related to things like hospitality or exercising a gift of having others around and providing a ministry to those in need and and what that's like. And so we have some special guests today.
Alisa [00:00:58] We do. And when you think of the word community, instantly these two people come to mind for me because they do it in an incredible way and they do it so well. And since.
Chris [00:01:12] We're talking about me in.
Alisa [00:01:14] Addition to you, so you have these two special friends that we've known for many, many I'm not even sure how many years. Chris [00:01:23] oh maybe 24th you know.
Alisa [00:01:24] Yeah. So our colleague here at Biola, our coal church friends, Dr. Ken and Trudi Berding.
Chris [00:01:33] Yeah.
Chris [00:01:35] Ken and Trudi. Welcome. Thanks to this podcast. It's so good to see your neighbors as well. I mean, we used to live what?
Alisa [00:01:41] Oh, down the street, my houses down. And even I bet.
Chris [00:01:44] That our children raised together. Ken and Trudi, thanks for coming and taking time out and being here today. Guys love to hear your story. Ken, you've been a professor at Biola now for over 20 years. 21, 21 years. Yeah. Yeah. And Trudi, you've been with him along the whole way, making sure he, when he messes up, that you are able to correct.
Chris [00:02:07] Any of his doctrinal issues that. Alisa [00:02:11] She's got her hands full will say that.
Chris [00:02:15] At least I should know. So tell us a little bit about yourself real quickly so that the listeners can get just get a chance to you guys. Let's see. You have well, tell us how many children, how long have you been married?
Trudi [00:02:27] We have four daughters and three son in laws and one grandson and one grandbaby on the way. So we're very excited about that. Yeah, that's our family.
Chris [00:02:37] Wait, cool. So tell us where your children were raised when in the early days.
Trudi [00:02:43] Our two oldest daughters were born when we lived in the Middle East. And that was pretty awesome. And then our next two daughters we adopted when we moved to Southern California. So they were in the L.A. County foster care system and we brought them into our family.
Alisa [00:02:58] I remember that. Do you remember that? Chris [00:03:00] Oh, yeah, I do remember.
Alisa [00:03:01] We were in our Sunday school class. I remember you going through the fostering.
Trudi [00:03:05] Yeah, it. Alisa [00:03:06] Was 6.
Ken [00:03:06] Or 8 and ten when they came into our home and nine and 11 when they were adopted.
Trudi [00:03:10] And they are joy.
Chris [00:03:12] And are your first to do they have dual citizenship in some other country or only U.S. citizenship.
Ken [00:03:18] They could get it, but they don't. They only have U.S. citizenship.
Chris [00:03:22] And in the Middle East, you know, we're talking what happened to talk today at the start of a an amazingly and horrific glee event, a horrific event going on in the Middle East today. You guys lived through a little bit of those tensions in the Middle East. And it's it's amazing how impactful it is. Is this personally? Can you guys thinking about this a lot and friends and people.
Ken [00:03:50] You're talking about what's going on in Israel. Come on. Come on. Yeah. We we really have a heart for the Middle East and we're really kind of wrapped up in this right now. But there's the other side of the Middle East that a lot of people don't see, and that's that they're very hospitable people, really warm people. We're family oriented. And actually, since we're talking about hospitality today, some of our story runs through that because we lived in this very communal setting where everybody knew everything about every everyone. So that was actually some of the impetus for us starting what we're doing right now.
Chris [00:04:28] Yeah, this is being recorded in fall of 2023 and the Israel Hamas, Palestine, Gaza Strip conflict is happening. And but let's go to that time. You guys decided to be you are you're married for a couple of years. You decide to become missionaries. I guess it was part of your story. How did that all develop?
Trudi [00:04:51] I'm in college, actually, before we even got married, that was my heart's desire. And Ken was willing to as well. And then, like you said, we did learn a lot about hospitality there. I think it really imprinted in our hearts the value of being in community. And we loved our season there. And then we came back and can did graduate studies and then after graduate studies taught in New York for a while and then came to California and many of the things that brought us back to the States, we did it. We wanted to still make an impact. And part of that was the dream of living with college students.
Ken [00:05:34] Yeah, I didn't just want to be a talking head in the front of a classroom somewhere. We really we really couldn't. You need to understand, we were in one of the most unreached nations in the whole world, a nation that needs the gospel. So much so every day of our lives. We have to justify why we're here rather than there. We have a very strong sense of calling for what we're doing right now to train up people actually to go out the world changers.
Chris [00:06:01] Well, what's that? Describe for me what impacted you there. You've already used the word communal community. You brought that back because it seems to be a value that was strong there. But is it as strong here and why not? I mean, there seems to be, I would guess, a disintegration of community where we're so individually, you know, individualized in this culture, especially now talking, let's say, like California or America in general, right. Or the West. You live in independent small houses, you shop in different places. And you guys saw a completely new thing that changed you maybe a little bit about your marriage.
Ken [00:06:46] Yeah. I mean, there's no question that our culture is very disintegrated, as you said, and lot of lonely people around. We really think that one of the ways that you you reach people with the gospel is actually by by showing community, by showing the love of Christ, inviting them into the family.
Chris [00:07:07] What was loneliness an issue for you guys over there in the Middle East? And then was loneliness an issue in that culture as well? And how did it look different compared to here?
Ken [00:07:20] Yeah, there's no question that loneliness was an issue for us. We were we were the only at times we were the only Jesus followers in an entire city of more than a million people. And yeah, we felt the loneliness there. There's a type of community where there's not loneliness for most people, but there's an internal loneliness, loneliness. I think that's just because they're disconnected from Christ.
Chris [00:07:48] Oh, gosh, that's it's fascinating that you can be around a bunch of people and still feel alone. Right. So it's not the let's say it's a city of a million and you're all condensed in a ten square mile area, which I don't know yours, but it's not it. Yeah, it is small, but it's not a matter necessarily having people around you. So college students, people anywhere could have.
Trudi [00:08:14] All kinds.
Chris [00:08:14] Of people around them and still feel lonely. What's up with that and why does that happen?
Trudi [00:08:18] I think there's a real connectedness. I mean, you could be next to someone, but are you really communicating on a connected level? And then without the Lord, there's going to be a gap, too, between people.
Chris [00:08:31] And truly, what is that? What is what is that? What goes through your mind when you think of connectedness? And then how did that spur what you guys want to do in a ministry that you had? What what led you? And then we'll get into the description of what you guys are doing and how you're bridging maybe different cultures, but also bridging kind of this gut, you know, divide between connectedness and loneliness that we see rampant.
Trudi [00:09:02] Well, I'm a people person, so for me, yeah. Chris [00:09:06] You know, my like, you guys get together and. Alisa [00:09:08] Let's really thank you.
Chris [00:09:10] I just can and I are like please stop.
Ken [00:09:13] Like people at a distance.
Chris [00:09:16] So it doesn't mean I want to be there.
Trudi [00:09:17] I must say I'm a real people person and I love to have a good conversation. And often most conversations, if they're really good conversation and you're a follower of Christ, at some point the Lord comes into that conversation. So being in a country where that isn't part of their life, then there's a loneliness coming back here and then doing what we do now is how can we have those discussions as conversations and those connectedness as connecting on point.
Ken [00:09:52] That we're connected iness. So it works for me. Chris [00:09:54] Yeah, I think so too.
Alisa [00:09:56] We know what you mean.
Trudi [00:09:57] I think that that is a need. It's a human need that almost everyone is craving. Even people that are more introverts still are craving a real relationship with someone else. And so, yeah, what we're doing now gives that more opportunity for that.
Chris [00:10:18] So tell us. So you guys have you now you have your four children, you're living in Southern California, You have a reputation. Let's let's look back ten years from ten years ago, a reputation of having students come over to your house. Right. I mean, you guys said, hey, you're this is my new class or classes. We want to get a chance to know you guys. So come on over, hang out, have a meal. I know you've been doing that from the beginning. Why? And then what did that lead to?
Alisa [00:10:47] And in fact, when when we decided to start having students at our house, Trudi was the first one that I called. What is it? Okay, Trudi, how do you house 15, 20, 30 students at a time? What do you serve? Do you make him for dinner? And how do you logistically set that up? How many times during the semester do you do that? You know, how do you afford this? And so Trudi really was my go to.
Ken [00:11:14] Was like, how do we afford it through. Alisa [00:11:16] Manna, you know, the Lord just multiplies. Ken [00:11:19] I think that's exactly right.
Chris [00:11:21] But then here's the problem. Extroverts are expensive, and because they like people and people need food and people need drink and introverts, we don't need that. Just give us.
Trudi [00:11:32] My extrovert and Ken's introvert together. When I said, Oh, let's have students over for dinner, this was like his first year of teaching. He goes, Oh, okay. And and he says, okay, but if we're going to do it, it's got to have a purpose. I'm like, Let's play a game. And he's like, No, we're going to have a conversation. I'm like, okay. You know, I came to really appreciate it because I was all about Let's have fun. And he's like, Well, I don't want to just have fun all the time. I mean, he is a very fun person to me, but he wanted to have our evening speech with a purpose. So from the beginning of having students out for dinner before we lived where we did, before we added to our family, we had it every week. We would invite anyone from his classes over for dinner.
Alisa [00:12:18] And how many would you have?
Trudi [00:12:19] Oh, we would have anywhere from 4 to 17.
Alisa [00:12:23] Oh, my.
Trudi [00:12:24] God. We didn't know till two hours before they showed up.
Chris [00:12:26] So you just extended an invitation. You said, Listen, every whatever night, every once a week, if you want. Come on over. Hang out with us, have dinner. Yes. And you and students took you up on that. So you knew immediately you are scratching a need and providing a place right away. And what did that do for you guys?
Ken [00:12:48] It was really interesting to we have had people come back to us who've done who've been over to our house, who have said, you know, you're the only good family we've ever seen. What a Christian family is, is that one night? That's a lot of fun. And we've heard that kind of comment a number of times.
Chris [00:13:06] That's profound. You know, Elise and I were at a conference just in the last week and a girl came up maybe a couple of and said, you know, I remember my friend used to babysit for a faculty member and you were friends with them. And then I would I would every once more come over to your house and I'll never forget it. And I'm thinking, I don't even remember this person. But it was profoundly important to them to be able to go into the home of not just a faculty member. That's cool in and of itself. Just a place to have dinner or a place where you're wanted, a place where you're heard, a place you understood. But then what you said, truly the model and kin of somebody who who does marriage well, who does it in front of others and and is saying this is part of what the Lord called us to do, to show him and show his world and what he's done for us to others. And it's the hard to believe it's the only time many people have ever seen a true Christian.
Alisa [00:14:12] And did your kids participate? I mean, were they were they required would be there for the kids?
Trudi [00:14:18] Liked it for a long time. It was the only night we offered dessert. Alisa [00:14:24] So you made it like dessert.
Trudi [00:14:27] Great. When our kids were little, we said, okay, you could stay all the way till dessert, and then we would let them go when we would have. Because the format we do it is then this is we still do this today for students. Anyone can come. They text me by 4:00 in the afternoon saying I'm coming for dinner. And I say, Great, see you at six. They show up at six. We had dinner. Then after dinner we served dessert right away. And at dessert time we open up a topic of conversation. We will raise a question, will raise a spiritual life issue, will ask a question, and then we all talk about it. And then at 8:00, I pray for them and we send them back to wherever they came from.
Alisa [00:15:07] So there's a definite start and a definite ending.
Ken [00:15:11] To Yes, actually how we're able to do it. Yeah. Because if we if we let them
stay around, they would, they would need to stay around. Alisa [00:15:17] 7:00 or later.
Chris [00:15:18] Yeah. We still have some that are out on our back porch or like are you ever leaving? They're like, nah. So long as you keep Sara in the desert.
Trudi [00:15:26] We have we have other nights where people stay longer, but those nights.
Alisa [00:15:30] We keep.
Chris [00:15:30] It restricted.
Trudi [00:15:31] We keep it kind of because they.
Ken [00:15:32] Like, go to bed. They like it too, because when we invite them, we're like, We'll be done by eight. And that's when most you just start studying anyway, right?
Chris [00:15:40] I was the response of students to y'alls time at the home as being profound. What what is that done to you or your like it it takes you a little bit off guard initially like what has happened and why are people not able to see this in, you know, as a model. And so many students seem to not either have that model, you know, maybe their parents were just so-so at it, but they might think, I've never seen anybody else do it this way. It must be profound.
Ken [00:16:14] I mean, I think it is profound for some. Some people have seen it, but many people have not. Even just the basic idea of a family sitting down to a meal together. There's also social psychologists. But I've heard that just sitting down at a dinner table is like profoundly life changing.
Chris [00:16:32] It's one of the biggest things that people would say define of a healthy family. And one of the variables we look at is, do you ever have meals together and how often? We're so often independent.
Alisa [00:16:45] Oh yeah. So you guys have really kind of taken this idea of community and hospitality to a whole nother level, haven't you? And tell us about what you're doing and how this came to be. Where did you get this idea and how did you make it happen?
Ken [00:17:05] Well, it actually the idea for it came all the way back when we were living in the Middle East before we ever moved to United States, because I knew I was going to come back. And do graduate and then postgraduate studies because I wanted to actually be a teacher. But we didn't want to just do that. We really wanted to have impact students in a deep way. And so we thought, wouldn't it wouldn't it be amazing we could have kind of a live in community of students who would be near us all the time and we could just be inputting into their lives and, you know, throwing the football around like we were the other night or or playing pickleball in the driveway like we did the other night.
Trudi [00:17:48] That was fun.
Ken [00:17:49] Oh, it's really fun. Wouldn't it be great to do this? And so we had the dream way back there and then we just kept it alive. Well, it almost died for me, I'll be honest. But for about 20 years, we were just, you know, we would always be looking at the real estate. When Zillow came out. She loves the open house.
Trudi [00:18:09] I look.
Ken [00:18:10] We went in.
Trudi [00:18:10] More people in in.
Ken [00:18:11] The open house. But we moved to Southern California where things are so expensive and actually near the school teaching. There's very few places that would actually work for this because we needed a place that could actually hold students. So you can tell them what actually happened.
Trudi [00:18:28] So it was a sermon about a church on a Sunday morning. Chris [00:18:34] It was an idea or, Oh, you do.
Ken [00:18:38] Really good by.
Alisa [00:18:38] Changing.
Chris [00:18:40] What? Like, I really didn't realize I had that impact.
Trudi [00:18:42] So we during this 20 year period, we had prayed about it and we would, you know, look and oh, okay, well we'll be content where we are anyway. And one sermon that was preached was, Are you dreaming big things that God may want you to do? And and we went to our life group after that and someone at the table said, Well, I don't know, I'm not really dreaming a big thing. And I looked down the table. I look at can I go? What can I share with ours? As he goes, we'll go ahead. And so I shared, We're dreaming about this. And everyone around the table is looking as like and you're crazy. Because in our life stage in life, more people are thinking, Oh good, we're almost empty nesters downsize. We could downsize or we could go have more fun or we could do this or that. And here we are thinking about just adding more people and very counter culture counter into it, you know, just not normal, but very much a dream of ours. And we are dreamers. I've come to realize, I always used to say Ken's the dreamer and I just kind of go along with it. But I'm actually a dreamer too. And this was a dream we had. So the next morning and so I shared it with our group and they're like, okay. And so the next morning, what.
Chris [00:19:56] Specifics did you share? What did you.
Trudi [00:19:58] Tell? I said, We are dreaming that we could live in a home where we had multiple units, that we could have college students live with us and community and mentor them and just do life together and to someone in their 50s, that's just not a normal plan. And, you know, we were really content in our home. It was really close to school and we could do life there. So the next morning, Monday morning, I decided I'm going to look on Zillow again. There might be a house. Well, there's nothing in our little block of right next to Biola University, but I know if I just go one neighborhood over there across this major road, there's multiple house units over there. And so I look and Ken is in a class. The poor guy has no clue that I'm doing this and I see this property and I am like, there is a place. And immediately I send him the link. He comes back on a break and he goes, Oh, no.
Alisa [00:21:00] You doggone it. Well, I was listening to your prayer shoot.
Trudi [00:21:04] I cannot believe you found this.
Ken [00:21:07] Then I told her, I don't want to see it. Not until I can find out whether it's even possible for us to do this. Because there's the whole financial piece that goes with this. So I spent the next two days just trying to find out, is there any way to get pre- qualified for a loan? Because the way we do the finances on this thing is very complicated. It's a huge faith stretching thing. Anyway, that was Monday. And that Tuesday and Wednesday spent trying to get pre-qualified. I got pre-qualified on Thursday. We called up the realtor. We had this long relationship where.
Trudi [00:21:41] You would just get to see houses that were, Oh, no, that doesn't work. Okay, next time you find one, let me know. I'll go. I'll go with you.
Ken [00:21:47] So we called her up and we went and we saw this house. Trudi [00:21:50] And we took one of our daughters with.
Ken [00:21:52] Us. And we saw that it had three living units. With that means three separate living rooms, three separate kitchens and three front doors. In other words.
Alisa [00:22:04] This house.
Ken [00:22:05] Is not a commune, is not a compound. We don't even use words like that. Chris [00:22:09] It's more like a cult, really.
Ken [00:22:11] That's what we were trying to avoid. And as soon as we saw the upstairs apartment, the moment we walked in, that that's when I knew we have to try for this. So we.
Trudi [00:22:24] That was.
Ken [00:22:24] Thursday. It was Thursday. We said, we want it, we want it. We want to put an offer on this, this huge, crazy, gigantic home. Trudi [00:22:33] Place.
Ken [00:22:33] Community property. Property. That's right. And so our realtor said, okay, there's someone already interested in their house. I don't know where she got that from.
Trudi [00:22:42] From our house. But we haven't even put on the market.
Ken [00:22:44] That's right. And she said, okay, we're going to do an open house on
Saturday. This was Thursday.
Chris [00:22:49] To.
Alisa [00:22:49] Your current house to house that.
Trudi [00:22:51] We were living in.
Alisa [00:22:52] Oh, my.
Ken [00:22:53] On Friday before that happened, she actually showed up with someone to see it. On Saturday, we did an open house in our house. Can you imagine how much we were working at that time? And by Monday we had an offer on our old house, which opened up the way for us to do our work.
Trudi [00:23:09] So it happened all in one week.
Alisa [00:23:11] You would think that maybe God had a plan, purpose for this.
Trudi [00:23:15] Or something very much that way.
Ken [00:23:17] You know, all the things that went into the next two months was very complicated because the property's really complicated. It's not clear whether it's one property or two properties. And so the government gets all kind of complicated on that, but it's all good. Now.
Chris [00:23:33] As you looked at this, you guys immediately sensed a potential. You sense God's presence, you sense the fulfillment. You knew something in your heart. And when God opens doors and and makes things, you're like, okay, this is like, what was it about it? It was just everything vibe.
Trudi [00:23:54] And we walked upstairs and we saw that there's another apartment, our daughter that was with us, she goes, Well, this is what you guys have been praying for for almost 20 years. I think we need to say yes. And this was like a challenge for our personal family because we were in the middle of a semester. We had a daughter in college, but living at home and then the whole thing, everyone's life was put upside down, moving into this place, our personal family, but our children also knew our prayers. They also knew the dream and they had also been around a lot of college students. And so to have your own kid who's in high school say, Well, mom and dad, this is what you've been praying for, let's and then having the whole thing happen. In fact, they were so much on board, they were helping the realtor advertise our old house online and Facebook, and the realtor goes, I need them every, every day. And so they were very supportive. And the day we moved, we had over, I think, 30 people come, mostly college students, and our life group come and move our stuff and another group of church move our stuff and just wanting to see what God was doing because it was definitely God moving and there was a lot of spiritual warfare things at the beginning too. But God really did have a plan for us in that place.
Ken [00:25:14] And I should say that, you know, the Bible, the terminology of open doors, Paul uses it three times, but every time he uses it, there's like major challenges in the way there's a wide open door for ministry and offices, but there are many adversaries, he says, right afterwards. And so we faced a lot of stuff. I had a I had a significant medical crisis that broke out right in the middle of this, and we almost abandoned it because of what was going on. And then we had like treaty says spiritual warfare. I can't begin to tell you how many problems we had right as we moved in. But sometimes when you're facing spiritual warfare, you lean into it knowing that probably like the enemy and all of his minions are against you, and because they see that maybe God is going to do something.
Alisa [00:26:01] So what does tell you? So you call your place, your property, you're the kin and treaty Berding and you call it the Berd house. The Berd house. That's perfect. I love it. So what?
Ken [00:26:15] We didn't really name it, at least just in case everybody else kind of named it for us. Yeah. And the second day we were there, a Berd literally flew into our house.
Trudi [00:26:25] And we're like, I went to her concert, I guess, or the Berdhouse. Like, okay.
Chris [00:26:29] Did it serve all. Sorry I didn't flight.
Ken [00:26:33] It took us it took us about a half an hour to get it out.
Chris [00:26:35] That's a good sign.
Alisa [00:26:36] So what is a day in the life at the Berd house look like? How does life work at. Yeah, in within community.
Chris [00:26:44] Yeah. Yeah. Dating life and so and then during that explain. Now so you guys live in a certain part and then you started what And then describe.
Alisa [00:26:55] How how's it how does it work?
Trudi [00:26:57] We have a community calendar which is kind of helpful so that people know what's going on because they still have their normal lives. They're all students. Many of them have jobs too, and each group is different. Some groups know a lot of them. Some groups have a lot of friends over. I will have people come in in my driveway or my lawn. I'm like, I don't know who they are and. Hi, how are you? I go out, meet them and it's it's great. It's really great. Sometimes I forget a lot of names too, so it's really a challenge on that. But practically we do twice a week can leads a morning prayer time. At this year, it's 7:15. Twice a week. And they do for a half hour. They pray together and he leads that. And then we have every other week it goes about we have dinner together as a group. Sometimes we do those where it's a bring a friend night we had last Friday or Thursday we had 35. Let's bring two friend nights for a special guest. So sometimes we do that.
Ken [00:28:01] Who was our special guest?
Trudi [00:28:02] We had Dr. Correy last time, so that was very fun.
Chris [00:28:06] I don't know if.
Ken [00:28:08] You guys ever want to come as our special. We love to do that.
Trudi [00:28:14] We I would let me do that once a semester. We then we're having like a huge group come and all the Bible majors are invited for a pancake night coming up. So we do those kind of special things. But normally it's the prayer times. And we have also I meet with each girl during the week for an hour and can meet individually for mentoring discipleship stuff or just to chat and talk. And then Ken meets with the guys on a different rotation.
Chris [00:28:44] So I'm a very visual person. So you have you said three bed I'm sorry, three living rooms, three kitchens, independent. How many can like does each place hold? Yeah.
Ken [00:28:57] So a normal sized group would include six guys or six girls. Trudi [00:29:03] Living in the.
Ken [00:29:04] Front in the front house, and then four guys or four girls living in the upstairs apartment. And we live underneath kind of family.
Chris [00:29:13] Gotcha.
Alisa [00:29:14] So there's three living units.
Ken [00:29:16] That's right, Yeah.
Trudi [00:29:16] We're also we have a big yard in between where we do a lot of our big stuff we do in the yard. We actually learned that during Covid seniors.
Chris [00:29:26] Were there.
Trudi [00:29:27] During Covid. Let me tell you, for an extrovert, it was the best place to live during Covid because everyone's in school. If I got lonely, I'd just stand on the porch for ten minutes and I'd have someone to talk to you.
Chris [00:29:38] It's wonderful.
Trudi [00:29:39] And yeah, we we did it. It was great because I wasn't.
Ken [00:29:44] And that particular year was special in one sense. I mean, every year has been special and unique in its own way, but that you're all of the people were somehow connected to our church that year. And so that's not always the case. It's not that way right now.
Alisa [00:29:58] And how do you get the students that end up living? Did they apply for it?
Ken [00:30:03] Or most commonly, they've taken classes with me. So we sometimes have people who have never taken classes. And last year I think we had 28 or 30 applications. So really a lot. And then we have to prayer our way through it. We interview people and that all happens in January and February can be very it can be very intense actually. But we prepare our way through and just ask God to bring the people that He wants to come.
Trudi [00:30:31] Oftentimes, too, they're not people who are all coming as friends, so sometimes they're even getting to know the people they live with. Sometimes they know like 1 or 2 people. So that kind of brings a different dynamic to so they're coming there with a purpose. They have to really want to live there too.
Chris [00:30:46] So it's about then ten that on average you can hold and then you guys have the upstairs downstairs. I'm sorry, with the dancers, when you do this, the intentionality is obviously it's there. This is this is the fulfillment of what you guys dreamt about. How has that how is reality been different than the dream?
Ken [00:31:14] Yeah, I think we went into it pretty aware that there were going to be some challenges. I don't think we are aware of how many things might kind of break or wear out. That's just a reality.
Trudi [00:31:27] There are ten kids on know.
Ken [00:31:28] We're not we're not talking about people. We'll just being your response. We thought they've been really good. It's just a lot more people doing a lot more. So your cultures were out faster.
Trudi [00:31:39] And actually the other night four guys were sitting on my couch and I really am ready for a new couch. So I said, Sit, sit, plop, go harder on the couch and kiss. No, no, don't go harder on the couch. I'm like, Come.
Alisa [00:31:51] On, guys, you can break it. I know you can come up.
Trudi [00:31:55] So sometimes that we did find because of the tempo and also Ken still teaching full time and has a lot of other responsibilities that the last couple summers we've actually had it empty for two months.
Alisa [00:32:12] So we design by design.
Trudi [00:32:14] So we budget ourselves so that we could take the month of June and July off so that there's not students there. And I will tell you, it's very, very quiet then. And usually I'm very, very ready for them to come back.
Chris [00:32:27] Well, you are an extrovert.
Trudi [00:32:29] Because I miss them and I'm like used to their sounds and everything and people around. But it is good for us to have a season of just kind of rest. Yeah. And you kind of need it after a little bit. But I will tell you, even in our whole neighborhood, our neighbors love the students. I have had neighbors country say, Your students are so great. We love having them in the neighborhood. So they have done really, really well at. At making a good testimony and also just being a light for Jesus in our neighborhood.
Chris [00:33:08] You can imagine the concept of college students, you know, in 99% of any other community in this country that is near a university with fraternities and sororities, that's what you would call this. Otherwise. And instead, the model that these students not only provide and get see from you, but I love that it's the neighbor.
Alisa [00:33:30] In your neighborhood.
Ken [00:33:31] And you need to understand not everything that happens that's really spiritually important happens through us. We tell them that in the beginning of the semester because I mean, we go to bed early, so there's a lot of things that happen there. 9:00 No work where the guys will get together or the girls will get together or they'll get together with each other or they'll go out to canes or they'll they'll decide that they're going to go out and share the gospel somewhere, or they're going to invite some other people in. A lot of stuff happens that doesn't even involve us. We love it when that happens. Yeah, really Do.
Trudi [00:34:03] They really do start to really care for each other well too.
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Ken [00:35:46] Well, I think Trudi was born for this, so I think I'm going to have to answer for myself on this.
Chris [00:35:52] Can you make a great social psychologist? Because we can study everybody that's very social. But really, we're like anti social psychologists, you know, And we just go our wives tell us we're going to go do this. And we're like, okay, that sounds great. And they pull us along and we're like, Yeah, okay. It was really good. I had my kids.
Ken [00:36:13] But so I'm actually an introvert. You could you could put me in the basement of a library for three days and feed me bread and water and I'd probably be okay.
Chris [00:36:22] And you'd probably produce a book. I mean, you know, that's how you write books.
Ken [00:36:27] It's possible. So probably the trickiest thing for me is I get I can get social overload pretty quickly. I can just be people tired and I do love people and I believe in loving people. And to be honest, my years in in the Middle East really helped me with this because I'm I'm much warmer in the Middle Eastern language and in the Middle Eastern culture that I, I touch people a lot more. I joke I'm even funny.
Trudi [00:36:52] They're they're very funny there.
Chris [00:36:55] And so I want to go there so bad because sometimes, you know, you say a joke and this is like, are you old? That wasn't even funny. And I'm thinking in the Middle East they would a.
Trudi [00:37:05] Ten is known for dad jokes. I will say that. And these students, they will groan with us and laugh.
Ken [00:37:11] But I suppressed them purposely. They only come out when I know it's going to be funny. But but that is the biggest challenge for me because I really am naturally an introvert, so I really do need time. For example, this morning I spent two hours in the library at the school in the basement, which I do once a week, two hours. That's all I have. That's all the time I have. But I turn off my cell phone. I don't look at my email. I just write for two hours and I need that. I found out that I need that more than I need sleep, more than I need reading, more than I need anything else probably to help with my introvert in this, because then I also feel like I'm getting something done. One of the problems with with what we're actually doing, and you all know this, when you hang out with people and you talk with them about their lives, know in your head because you watched it, especially when you're older, you've watched the impact it has, but it feels like nothing is happening in that moment. And so at least when I'm down there in the basement of the library, you come up with something, I come out with something that I've written.
Chris [00:38:19] It may not be legible, but now I know that. Trudi [00:38:21] There's a couple of.
Ken [00:38:22] Things that make.
Chris [00:38:22] Sense. Yeah. Oh, yeah, you come.
Trudi [00:38:24] I love. There's a few other things that we've really put into practice, I think, to in our life. Our house is set up really uniquely in that our bedroom and another room on one side with a hall door that closes and has a bathroom to the north.
Ken [00:38:37] We call.
Trudi [00:38:37] It the north, which is very.
Ken [00:38:38] Funny if you can see so much of a north.
Trudi [00:38:40] Oh wow. Yeah, but we've got two comfortable recliner chairs in there and we can go shut the door, go in there, you know, watch our show if we want, sit and read a book or talk. And everyone are there's very few people that get through the door. Once we shut the door, one of our daughters can knock and okay, we'll talk to you. But usually it's like, okay, we're back there now we've got our own space. We've also done, I think, one thing that's been really good for us since doing this and since we do feed more people than a lot of people, we actually go out to dinner, the two of us, more now than we have ever in our life because we don't have a kid to take along. And it's like, no, we need to go out, the two of us, and sometimes not be on our property because we need to be away.
Ken [00:39:29] Sometimes even if I leave town, we're going out of town this week. We're going to be out of town because we need to. We don't do it enough, but we really do need to.
Chris [00:39:36] Yeah, so that intentional investment in the two of you has now kind of come up as, Oh, that's really going to be important, and especially given the circumstances and the number of people around you. Do you oftentimes I'm, I'm sure and you probably keep track of these things. Tell us about the impact that you are just minister to your heart and soul. And so we're going to keep doing this. Like what are some some student stories, you know, of that you're like, this is so.
Alisa [00:40:15] That's why we're doing it.
Chris [00:40:16] When we heard this or when we saw that or when this person came and left, or are there any that stand out?
Trudi [00:40:23] I think we are very privileged. To have young people include us in their lives when they're going through big decisions or as part of weddings or as part of council even later in their lives, which is from an investment already. That is a very special thing. I think also when you see someone, when they start and and then at the end you're like, wow. And even talking with them. Okay. The growth in your life in this year, sometimes in the middle of it, we're all trying to figure it out, but then we can kind of see big picture what happened. I think those are very special. We actually every fall and the first week in September, we do a reunion. Oh, where anyone who's lived there in the past, some of you who've lived there in the past, you have come to Reunion. Come. But we do a reunion. And then at that time, we have all the people from past years stand in a circle around all the people that are going to live there this year and put their hands on them and pray for them and they will all share. What was something special about their time? And sometimes it shocks me the things that were special about their time. I'm like, Whoa. I wasn't aware that was important. Or they give advice. So when you see some of those things, you're kind of like, Yes, Lord, this is partly why we're doing this, and it feels like this is a good thing.
Chris [00:41:58] When you when you sense. Students that, you know, in particular, they tend to be, I'm sure, or around the same age in general. I mean, that's what most of our college students are. When when you find that your family gets together, I'm sure it feels like they're part of your family. You guys have adopted, too, and and others. But it almost gets to where these people that were strangers at the beginning almost feel family like, which is actually the whole goal, right, is to make community and then you carry that on for till they get married, I'm sure. And kids.
Ken [00:42:36] I mean, there is a sense anyway, that all Christians are we're the family of God. Having said that, we do draw some lines that we communicate to them. We're not I'm not your dad is not your mom, but we do love you and we care for you.
Chris [00:42:52] And I will put you in timeout if if you continue to exhibit that.
Ken [00:42:57] But we do, you know, we have family over, but our family knows this. They know the drill to all of them. Get it. All of our kids, by the way, all of our kids, they know how to put together things, too.
Trudi [00:43:09] So if they all practice us.
Ken [00:43:10] They had they all do hospitality. I mean, we've had some of them that lived in the dorms here on campus, and they open up their door and they just have tea. They're available for people. So they've been doing this. I'm there for my kids to go to a party.
Trudi [00:43:24] Gather a party and a half hour, I guess you can.
Alisa [00:43:27] Say really good.
Chris [00:43:28] Well, if you could feed 35 into our.
Alisa [00:43:31] Students and for us.
Chris [00:43:32] You must've been. You know this. Tell me about cooking for that man. What's that like?
Ken [00:43:38] Good. That's a good question, actually.
Trudi [00:43:40] You know, I keep things pretty simple, but they're also these days, compared to when I started this 20 years ago, there's a lot more food issues. And like, we have the vegetarians, we have the lactose free, we have the dairy. I mean, we have gluten free. So I often will do something that anyone can eat, just pick and choose. And then there was a group that lived with us and a couple of people really had food issues and I would look at them. I said, Just open the refrigerator and anything you can find, go for it. And they learned to do that. These these couple of girls are like, Great, thanks. And it was okay.
Ken [00:44:13] So but I need to tell you, Trudi is really, really good at this. So she's, she she makes it look easy. So this is a little bit of a problem. Sometimes people think like, I want to do this, too, And I'm like, You have no idea. She's really good at this. And she's also very fast at it and she works really hard at it too. And I help her a lot to.
Trudi [00:44:31] Cleanse my floor sweeper.
Ken [00:44:33] For food in particular, it might be something like a taco bar or a table or potato bar or like a haystack, you know, where you have like a not hey, but rice with something or something on top of it or or.
Trudi [00:44:49] Have a burning style, you know, the kind of a restaurant where it's like a mediterranean bowl thing. Sure, Yeah, you do that. So I go to places I like. Okay, how could I duplicate Chipotle at my house.
Ken [00:45:00] Noodles with different sources on it, or soup and salad or something like that?
Alisa [00:45:05] You need to have like a cookbook today of how to entertain for 35 or more in two hours.
Trudi [00:45:12] We all sat down to dinner just this week and one of the girls goes, Oh, this is a great recipe, can I have it? I go, Oh, I, I just sort of put it together. And she goes, oh, again. Is I. Yeah, I kind of just put it together. So, yeah, that's a good.
Alisa [00:45:29] That's a gift.
Chris [00:45:30] Well, you know, when you think about dreams, there are people out there that were sitting with you that Sunday. And after that sermon, for those that maybe are dreaming something either to be on the receiving end or the giving end, you know, that is setting us up. What's your advice when someone says, you know, this dream is I just feel it, Maybe give the hospitality. Can people come and be part of your ministry? Do you have people come in and help? Who do you have? Do you have others? How do you encourage them if they say, I want to do what you guys are doing? What can I do? I would imagine you'd start with, well, be a millionaire first, multimillionaire second, get the house, you know, But it goes beyond that. You could do that wherever you're at. Your daughters did this in the dorm room. How did you and you encourage them through your model. So people are out there doing their dreams and thinking about it. What advice, what, what what was good for you guys? Dream big. I heard.
Ken [00:46:36] For sure.
Chris [00:46:36] Dream big God, that knows. And that's.
Ken [00:46:40] Right. And we do need to take kind of God saturated risks. I don't know if that's the right way to put it, but like not just risk. There's a lot of people who are into bungee cord jumping and, you know, free climbing up half dome and things like that. Not not those types of risks, but risks to them that are going to honor God, that are going to make a difference in the world. And it may not be like what we're doing right now. It could be something totally different, but we do need to take some more risks. Life is short. Eternity is forever. We are going to look back on this life. And wish that we had actually rapped a little more and leaned into those dreams and.
Trudi [00:47:21] Prayed about them.
Ken [00:47:23] You know.
Trudi [00:47:23] And stepped out in faith on them.
Chris [00:47:25] Well, we're just so grateful that you guys, first of all, whoever did the sermon, but mostly it was God moving in your hearts and had been over many years since you were designed in the wombs. You know, you were created this way and made this way and then found yourselves together, ministering and serving in such a powerful way. I hear about it all of the time, how students are impacted.
Alisa [00:47:49] And so what was the question again? That the pastor said.
Trudi [00:47:52] Is, what are you dreaming that God can do? It's almost like something that you can't do yourself, but you're praying and asking God to do.
Alisa [00:48:00] So that's a great question that we all should be asking.
Chris [00:48:03] Reminds you of Psalm 37, you know, two, three and four, right. Where that idea of some 37 says, Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Right. That notion that we're a delight in wanting to do this and you've put this desire in, if it's from you, you got it there. So let's go do this together. Right. Commit yourself to the Lord. Right is the beginning. Well, you guys have been. It's just so cool to hear about the way you can take something right where you're at. Use what you have. Put that dream into practice and have such an impact on so many lives, let alone on your children, your neighbors, the kingdom, the church.
Ken [00:48:52] Pray for us as we continue to do this. We would love for you to pray for us and and pray that there be long term. That's what we're praying for.
Chris [00:49:00] That's awesome. Sending some of these kids out. I would imagine kids, college students out eventually into the world knowing this is a model. This is what I can do. Marriage works. Ministry works. And I'm going to go take this to the Middle East. I'm going to take this to Africa. I'm going to take this to New York City. I'm going to go take this to Las Vegas, wherever. Right. That's so cool.
Alisa [00:49:25] Wow. Yeah. Ken, Trudi, thank you so much for coming and sharing your story with us. And, you know, I hope some of our listeners maybe there's a dream that the Lord has put in your heart and you just need to be bold and dream big. Ask him for big things. He makes big promises and we can take him up on those promises. And so just think what what is God asking you to do? What might you be hesitating and be willing to step out? Take that God saturated risk and see what the Lord will do? No, it's great. Read it. Thank you for being with us today. Thanks for having us.
Chris [00:50:05] Yeah, I can actually. Thank you guys. Again, it's Ken and Trudi Berding at the Berdhouse in Southern California. So if you ever want to go to my old university, you come and apply and you get this.
Alisa [00:50:18] You two can have taco night. Your house.
Chris [00:50:20] Yeah. And now you know Ken's secret. You will find him in the library, in the basement. If you just need to talk to somebody because he is ready to talk. Thank you guys for joining us on this podcast. And Alisa, for a little bit more. You know, check out, of course, there are similar by Odudu for other great podcasts and things that are available out there.
Alisa [00:50:42] That's right. So for my wonderful husband, Chris Grace and Lisa Grace and thank you for listening to the hard relationships. We'll see you next time.
Mandy [00:50:54] We're very glad you joined us for today's podcast. For more resources on marriage and healthy relationships, please visit our website at seema.biola.edu. We'll see you next time on The Art of Relationships.
Ken and Trudi Berding have been married for 37 years. Together they lead a residential Christian discipleship ministry--fondly dubbed "The Berdhouse." Ken and Trudi both serve at Redemption Hill Church, Ken as an elder, and Trudi as a women's Bible study teacher. Ken is a professor at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. In their younger years they lived and ministered in the Middle East. Together they raised four daughters.
The Art of Relationships podcast, hosted by Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace, is centered on helping you build healthy relationships and marriages. In this podcast, Dr. Chris Grace and Alisa Grace weigh in on how to navigate the complexities of relationships in our culture with biblical wisdom and scholarly research. Listen to get practical insights on relationships, dating, and marriage.