Category Archives: outreaches
You may recall every spring Cru does a conference called Big Break in Panama City, Florida. It’s Cru’s alternative Spring break, where students from all over the US traveled to Panama City Beach for a week of growing in their relationship with God and learning to share their faith. They spent time engaging with people on the beach, and also by using social media to send the Falling Plates video to friends and family and listening to their experiences of Jesus so far in their lives.
One Student named Allison* shared about her experience below:
“My best friend from home came from a christian family so I thought, I don’t know if I need to text her or not and so I texted her the link to the [Falling Plates evangelistic] video. She texted me back and said I literally just cried. I’ve been feeling really hopeless and horrible lately. And last night I prayed for a sign that I’m still worth it, that I’m still meant to live, and that God still cares for me and today you sent that to me. This is insane. I’m literally in tears.”
Students and staff initiated 11,170 spiritual conversations digitally. 3,024 of them turned into gospel conversations, with 104 deciding to follow Christ, plus 601 future appointments were set up with friends and family! On the beach, 3,338 conversations were initiated and 1,470 heard the gospel, with 222 deciding to follow Christ!
These stories and results are super encouraging to us and we hope to you too! Jesus is moving and sometimes not in the ways we expect! When we hear stories of students listening to and responding to Jesus, it’s why we do what we do!
Until Every Student has Heard,
- THANKS to so many of you who prayed for John’s recent surgery last month. He is healing up well.
- that we would be able to quickly grow a larger team of people to join our ministry in prayer and financial support so we can return to our office to accelerate the gospel through the operations of Cru. Pray for us traveling for this reason this summer. We have about $1900/month left to finish growing our team.
- That we would not let the distractions around us take us away from the Good Work the Lord has for us. (Nehemiah 6:3)
- That we would look for opportunities to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those around us in our kids’ social lives this summer.
- For the millions of teenagers and college students transitioning out of school into summer… for the Church to carry this gospel to them.
- For God’s provision of a newer family vehicle through a Cru family who sold us theirs.
- For our home appliances to stop breaking, lol! 🙂 (we had a fridge fan go bad, a pump motor, and our washer too! we have replaced each one but this comes at a cost and is very distracting 😦 )
Enjoy a few of our latest pics:
Our little guy is turning 1 this week!
Our girls were in a theater day camp for a week and made new friends while singing their favorite songs!
Free donut day at Krispy Kreme! (Noah had more fun than he looks) 🙂
Evie has a favorite treat! (same as Daddy’s)
Aunt Mary came to visit!
Evie drew a special drawing for our vets
Last month we dedicated our Noah to the Lord in front of our Church, shown above with one of our leaders
Recently, 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…
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!
“Obviously God sent you to come and talk to me yesterday. It was exactly what I needed… to get back on track.”
… were the words of Josh* via text in Fishers, Indiana. Here’s the rest of the story:
“A few weeks ago our student leaders gathered together for our leader’s weekly meeting, but we did not tell them what they were in for until that day. We shared our hearts in wanting to reach their whole campus, and about the joy of sharing Christ. After praying, the students were sent out in groups of two to share the gospel and have spiritual conversations with people, specifically high school students in nearby restaurants and stores. After they left, I began to close down our meeting room and then took off in my car to locate a group so I could watch and coach them. As I was driving, it dawned on me, “Why am I not doing this for myself?!” I quickly prayed and felt God leading me to McDonalds. I walked in and immediately saw two high school guys. They didn’t look like a typical students I’d have an easy time connecting with, so I walked in and got in line to get a drink to buy some time and pray…So I prayed, “Lord, give me an open door into this conversation.” I got my drink and went over and sat at the table facing them. I pretended to be on my phone so I could continue to pray for God to open a door in this conversation.
Then after about a minute, one of the guys asked the other, “Are you going to the hockey game tonight?” Hockey in Indiana! … I laughed in my head and knew that was an in from God. I jumped into their conversation and asked them if they played hockey and they both said they played for Hamilton Southeastern. Not only did God give me an open door with a conversation about hockey, but he gave me two guys that play hockey at our school. We talked for a bit about hockey and their lives, then transitioned into their spiritual beliefs. Unfortunately, we ran out of time because I had to get back for our debrief meeting with the leaders. I got their numbers and asked if they’d want to meet again, and they both said yes. When I got back with our leaders, it was so cool to hear what God did in each group, using their boldness and faith in Him to lead their conversations…..“The next day, Saturday, I got a text from one of the hockey boys named Josh. He told me how excited he was to meet and talk more. He said, “Obviously God sent you to come and talk to me yesterday. It was exactly what I needed because I’ve been starting to fall off lately, and I needed this to get back on track.”
We met a few days later and went through the gospel. Now Josh and I are meeting every week to go through follow-up. What an incredible God we have, that in our weaknesses, He uses us to do a good work in others. It was very clear that God is pursuing Josh, and it’s a blessing to be a part of it. How amazing life can be when we stop, listen to His call, and take leaps of faith to follow Him. I can’t help but see and feel the need to pray for these students who get the Word in them. So quickly it can be stolen away, fizzle out, or be sidestepped by a busy schedule. Please join me in prayer for Josh and all the other students we’ve been meeting with, that God does a great work in their hearts. Pray that God reveals His glory and draws students to Him with an unquenchable fire. This generation is constantly under attack and has an incredible need for Jesus.” – Mark, one of our Cru Staff in Indiana.
Ellen and I are grateful that, together with you, we can resource staff like Mark to reach and grow students like Josh to change his world for Jesus!
Amazed by His Pursuing Love,
Note: if you’d like to download a printer-friendly version of this update, you can download it as a pdf file by clicking the thumbnail below.
Our Capital Region students lead out in Outreach at the Epicenter 2012 conference
Kailee and Becca are two of our students involved in our movements at local campuses in the Capital Region who attended our Epicenter Experience conference in Albany this week. They both experienced some great opportunities to reach out to students and other people right here in the Capital Region with 288 other students at the conference on Wednesday afternoon of this week. Some students served at the Homeless Shelters and some looked for ways to start spiritual conversations on campuses and in downtown areas. Kailee and Becca share their stories below from the stage of the conference! We praise God for their steps of faith and especially for the young man who works at Dunkin Donuts who received Christ!
Thank you for praying for and financially supporting this ministry so that we, together with you, can be a part of investing in the lives of students for the King’s eternal purposes!
By His Grace each day,
How do we get to Heaven? “By doing the best [you] can to lead a good life”????
Not quite. As you will read this month in our New York City Summer Project Newsletter’s page 2 highlighting our Campus Track, our friend Max didn’t quite understand God’s grace for us. Max thought he simply had to do his best to earn a place in Heaven. The truth is that Jesus has already earned it all by going to the Cross for Max.
We’re Back Home in Albany!
Our summer has been quite an adventure. We were leading 21 students in the Campus Track out of 60 or so total on the entire project for the 5 weeks that they were in NYC. We teamed up with the other segments of our project including the Arts Track, Bridges Track (International Student ministry), Epic Track (Ministry to Asian-Americans), and Inner City Track (ministry to homeless and children in NYC). Of course this diversity of ministry is to be expected in a city so diversely populated! The truth is that there are so many more areas of ministry in the city that I wouldn’t have time to mention them all here if I tried. Please enjoy our project’s newsletter attached. Our Campus Track is featured on page 2. Ellen and I are hiding behind the word “Campus” at the top of the page!
Our Continuing Adventure: Home Ownership and Fall Semester Planning!
Our adventure picked back up again only 2 days after we returned from our 6 weeks in New York City when we bought a 2-family home in Albany! We have been working on it quite a bit and reconnecting with supporters and planning for the fall outreaches coming up ever since! We have enjoyed the Albany weather since coming home. It was much hotter in New York City! We will update you on some more personal stories from our work in the city with our next newsletter coming soon!
With the help of many friends and family, we have finished both phase 1 and 2, as we call them, of patching up cracked walls and moving out the kitchen cabinets and repainting all the walls and cabinet doors! Phase 2 has been sanding and refinishing the floors. We will be moving in within a couple days (though the work in the kitchen and bathroom is not complete yet). Attached are some pictures of our new place (where we rented the downstairs apartment for 1 year until last month, ironically)
A Big Thank YOU!
You may remember our prayer request in our last online post from July 1:
“You may have read about our project in NYC this summer and meant to pray or meant to give but haven’t taken the opportunity. You can partner with us today by praying and giving financially. We are trusting God to bring in the remaining 30% (or $1500) in the next couple weeks that we need to serve to our fullest in New York City.”
Well GOD PROVIDED! Only a couple days short of 2 weeks after our last post, a generous donor filled the gap we had between where we stood and the need we had in NYC. We are so grateful and thankful to have people and churches like you who pray and people and churches like you who give to make sure that the work continues in this ministry. We know first hand how so many people heard the good news and others began their walk with Jesus for the first time because of what you did so far away. We are honored to be partnered with people like you.
Fall Outreaches require God’s people to (Please) PRAY
Please pray as we plan out the details of these critical Fall outreaches and launches on the campuses of the greater Capital Region. Specifically, all the major schools in the area start on 8/30 except for Siena and a couple others. We will start most outreach events within the first few days of classes. One early Freshmen outreach is already planned on 8/27 and our Kickoff gathering event for our upperclass Real Life students is the same day and 8/28 as well. Our first large group event called City Wide is on 9/2. Please pray that God works in our student leaders to come to the kickoff event in force and to galvanize around the cause of Christ in reaching the lost, especially focusing on Freshmen, who are very very open to the possibility of connecting with Real Life students and with God (last year 50% of UAlbany students and 40% of RPI students surveyed indicated they were open to talking with other students about how their life purpose and knowing God go together).
John and Ellen