Category Archives: Outreach

We have Big News!

img_8037Recently, I (John) accepted an offer to join the Operations Resource Team for the Campus Ministry of Cru (our ministry to middle, high school, and college students and faculty). It was the culmination of a good deal of prayer for Ellen and I including discussion with many individuals. Here’s the backstory…. You may remember from when we first joined the High School Ministry Operations team two years ago that Operations is how Cru describes the infrastructure upon which the day to day ministry operates: including things like Communications, Conferences, Graphic Design, Finances, Technology, and anything ministry-related on the internet. Do you remember the story about how the disciples fished all night and caught nothing? Jesus asked them to “cast the nets on the other side of the boat”. Jesus provided a miraculous catch. The nets weren’t strong enough and the boats weren’t large enough to hold the harvest of fish; they had to call for help! Operations teams provide “boats” and “nets” to our staff, volunteers, and student leaders to bring the gospel to the nations.  With a growing family with changing needs, we sensed the Lord was drawing us to a change in role.  We are excited about this change, especially as it increases our scope to reaching over 661 million middle school, high school, college students and faculty with the Gospel. We know that if we can effectively reach the students and faculty of the world’s campuses, we can reach the whole world through their influence as they are sent out to every nation.


We will still be in Orlando at Cru headquarters. In fact my desk will move only about 50 feet! Of course there’s no change in our passion for reaching out to young people with the good news of the gospel. There is also no change in our need for your partnership in our outreach. Please pray for our family as we take some extended time to increase the size of our team of prayer and financial partners until we are fully supported in our work.  After this I will be able to fully engage in the new role.

Your prayers and financial support are still critical means for God to provide for us… so we can reach out to young people with Jesus’ love and good news. We appreciate you greatly and look forward to telling you more about this transition as the details become more clear.

Our “lives are not [our] own”, so we follow with joy and step out in faith. We are grateful that you walk with us in this journey together!

He had come to Burger King to have his last meal…


Watch a video of the Shine Conference in Spain at

300 teenage students from all over Western Europe and America gathered for Cru’s SHINE conference this past summer in Malaga, Spain.  Each day, they spent time building joy and faith through worship, the Word, prayer, and in preparing for outreach events. The week culminated with a free concert by a German Christian band, “Good Weather Forecast”, where the gospel was shared with thousands. A family from the SHINE conference stopped into a Burger King for a bite to eat after a long day in the city. They struck up a conversation with a young man wearing a satanic t-shirt. After they shared Christ with him, he confessed that he had come to BK to have his last meal. He planned to end his life that night…until he heard about Jesus. He threw his old t-shirt into the trash, put on a SHINE t-shirt, and went home with a new life to live! Thank you for helping us reach him!


A girl in a burqa crossing a Walmart ditch?! and a snazzy Cru video makes headlines!

a woman wearing a burqa crossing a bridge

This week as we prepare to remember our Lord’s death and resurrection, as I was near Walmart I saw a muslim family carefully trying to cross a narrow ditch between the parking lot and the street. Of course the first thing that I noticed was a female in a burqa down in the ditch, as it is a rare sight just about anywhere around here, nevermind in a ditch!  I have since learned that she was actually wearing a niqab The burqa covers the entire face and body while a niqab d`oes the same but leaves the eyes visible to others. It was an odd sight, that made me ask “why are they crossing the ditch instead of walking a hundred feet or so to where they would no longer need to risk falling into a stream of water or mud at the bottom of the ditch?”

She could be a child of God and walking with Jesus, who knows!? but the likely fact is that she is probably not because her outfit suggests she belongs to a family/culture that follows another religion and, like I was before I met Jesus, headed for an eternal destiny separated from God.

The picture of her crossing the ditch slowly about 6 feet below the street level seemed to get me thinking: How much of a picture is she of a lost lamb who doesn’t know her way, headed for spiritual death, trying to cross a spiritual divide without the Only One who can bridge that gap for her: Jesus?

We work with college students, showing them the way to Jesus who is the only one who can bring them back into healthy relationship with God.  We are grateful for you who have prayed and given financially and in other ways so we can be a part of this work!

Snazzy Gospel centered Video Clip published by Cru makes it into the local Times Union newpaper here in Albany!

Read the news article here. Watch the clip by clicking below.


Below in our latest 2-page newsletter are some highlights from The Epicenter Experience (annual winter conference) collected from all over the northeast, with student testimonies of how they met God and how he changed their lives here in Albany on Wolf Rd at the Holiday Inn. We added a little snippet of a story from a local campus where our students are sharing their faith more boldly and obediently this semester.  We trust you will be encouraged by it when you click on the image below to read the newsletter. We hope it will encourage you to show the lost people around you the way to the Bridge to Life!


Our Latest Newsletter



“Its so sad that it seems like everyone in my country just lives for money and is selfish. They don’t have any hope or God to believe in”

These are the words of Leon*, a transfer student to UAlbany from China that I met at one of our outreach events on campus this fall. He stopped by with an american girl who spoke english well and seemed to be his host on campus. She even left her cell phone number on the survey he filled out because he didn’t have his own number yet! But her name is Jaime* and she is actually his girlfriend since she went to China last year as an exchange student for a year! Well when students indicate on their survey some kind of spiritual interest and that they would like to talk more with someone from our ministry, we try to follow up with them. I called Leon and set up an appointment and when we got together I realized I would have some explaining to do, as he is an international student who has never heard most of the background stories in the Bible. So we talked for over an hour and I shared alot of background about my spiritual journey and then God’s greater story through history culiminating with Jesus’ fulfillment, death and resurrection and eventually coming back for us who have entrusted our lives to him. I asked him about his spiritual background and he said he never grew up with any spiritual background, and this is when he shared that he felt sad that in his country it seems like everyone just lives for money and is selfish because they have no hope and no God to believe in. I asked him if he thought it was possible to know God personally. He said he believes in God but isn’t sure about knowing him personally. I asked if I could share with him in less than 10 minutes how to know God personally. He said sure. So I pulled out a Knowing God Personally Booklet, otherwise known as the Four Spiritual Laws booklet that has been printed in the millions by Campus Crusade and used around the world in tens of languages for approximately 50 years by thousands of people and many different ministries. We went through it explaining alot of the terms, etc and at the end I asked him if the sinners prayer in the booklet expressed the desires of his heart. He said yes but wasn’t ready to pray it. He said wants to be a Christian but wants to learn more first. We met again a couple Fridays ago  and had a great conversation and I ended up giving him the Chinese/English bible I had been given years ago by Ginny and Gerry Winn, an elderly couple in my church, over 10 years ago when I was a recent college grad but it never found a home. He was grateful and I asked him if he wanted to go through some studies to discover more about God. He said yes and so we’re beginning to journey together spiritually. Pray for Leon. Ironically, Jaime, his american girlfriend, is also VERY open to spiritual things, and Ellen has been meeting with her and some other girls in a small group for ladies who want to know more about Jesus and Christianity. It’s not often we find a couple like this! Please Pray for Jaime too.

*Names have been changed for anonymity.

Below you will find our newsletter for September and October. We hope you enjoy more stories we have to share inside!

Sharing the Gospel? There’s an App for that!

Seriously, there is! Let me explain:

“You know it was only in the last couple months that I’ve become more serious about my faith…”

…said a freshmen athlete at UAlbany named Roger* who I met yesterday after he had filled out a survey at one of our Cru table outreaches in the freshmen dorms. I had followed up with a phone call to get coffee in the Campus center, and the first time I called I simply invited him to one of our first meetings on campus and he said he would probably come by, but honestly, I’m glad he didn’t because that first meeting had only one student show up! Such is life in college student ministry, even after inviting and talking with students who had shown an interest: sometimes very few show up. On the other hand, when they do show up, and we get to know them and have a cup of coffee to follow up, they often come back, like Katelyn* and Nancy*, two girls Ellen followed up with after they filled out surveys, and who came to our last meeting at UAlbany. This is the power of relationships demonstrated: when you have an opportunity to share your life with someone new–even once–it is sometimes enough to pique their interest into further depth of authentic community.

After hearing more about his church background and his spiritual journey, I shared a little of mine, but not being sure of whether he really understood the gospel or not, I shared with him about Knowing God Personally (or “KGP” for short). I briefly searched around in my bag and realized I didn’t have any of the booklets with me and mentally kicked myself for forgetting to bring one to this appointment on campus until I remembered that “there is an ‘App’ for that”.

Both on Iphone and Android! So I pulled out my phone and clicked on the “Godtools” app and began to go through the same content, only this time with an interactive format on the screen, which simplifys the process of explaining it to students.  It is more of a conversation piece for dialogue than a monologue. That is the design of this tool we have in our ministry. It was great to be able to find out he had prayed the sinner’s prayer (can be read right in the app) before, but at the end, he shared that he felt his life wasn’t really like the diagram of which showed a life centered on Christ, with self in submission to Christ.

He didn’t think his life looked exactly like the life of a lost person spiritually dead either, with Christ outside the life of someone who is Self-directed and “in control” of their own life.

Roger felt somewhere in between right now. So I opened a second part of the Godtools App called “Satisfied?” which explains how it is possible, after beginning to follow Christ and surrender control of your life to him, to then take control back, while Christ is still in your life, but letting us direct ourselves selfishly. There’s a little diagram in the “Satisfied?” portion of the App that is a picture of this kind of life, which some might call a “carnal christian” or maybe eventually a “back-slidden christian”.

Yes, there is Grace, and we are still justified, but as I explained to Roger, it is so important that on a daily, even momentary basis, that when he realizes he’s sinned in any area, to submit that sin to the Lord, ask forgiveness in prayer, and by faith, ask the Holy Spirit to lead him once again. This is by no means a new idea. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. But then he was filled again in Acts 4:8 and once more in Acts 4:31. Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 9:17 and again Acts 13:9. We all need to be re-empowered by the Spirit on a regular basis, since we all sin regularly.  So when I asked Roger if he wanted to pray to God to forgive him and re-empower him, he said yes, and we prayed right there together at the table, discretely. After Roger was done, I prayed the same thing, because I was needing to make that step too! I’m looking forward to getting Roger plugged into our “Athletes in Action” ministry at UAlbany where he is an athlete.

 Its a great ministry for helping athletes live out their faith on and off the court or field. We have a small group meeting once per week for this purpose, filled with athletes from various teams on that campus. Thank you for praying for us and going with us by extension of your partnership in financial and prayer support to reach the campuses of the Capital Region of New York! It was a good day yesterday!

*Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.

“I have always wanted to know about Christianity!” and other Summer spiritual conversations

“I have always wanted to know about Christianity!”

… were the words from one of many friends made by Jessica, one of our students on our summer project team, who is featured in our latest newsletter.  It has been an amazing summer with so many adventures, it is impossible to tell you about all of them in a newsletter. We have been blessed to be discipling project students on a huge project team of 80 people while engaging Wildwood, New Jersey with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Read in our latest newsletter, by clicking on the image of the letter below, about our adventures this past summer in Wildwood.  Of course you can always find the latest updates and newsletters at our website as well,

Summer 2012 Newsletter

Prayer for tomorrow’s Block Party and
Fall Launches

PLEASE PRAY This week and especially tomorrow as we will be holding one of our biggest events at University at Albany  (or “UAlbany”) where basically all the clubs are lined up and ready to meet the ~3,000 freshmen coming to the annual Freshmen Block Party.   Pray for spiritual openness amongst students who stop by our table, fill out our survey, or leave their contact information.

Handing Surveys to Freshmen at
Tables we set up in Dining Halls at UAlbany

Thank you so much for your partnership that enables us together to reach lost students for Christ!

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