Category Archives: UAlbany
Daniel with Tommy and a friend
After years of praying and working at UAlbany when we served there, Cru Intern Daniel Hall sent us this recent story about just 1 of 3 students who came to Christ this fall on that campus:
“Tommy and I have been friends since I first came to UAlbany back in 2015. We met in my first computer science class …and immediately became friends. We progressed through the two years quickly taking class after class together every semester. Keep in mind, this was the same time Cru was being [re]established at UAlbany and as such I began inviting him to different events.
As the second year rolled around, Tommy became more interested in hanging out with us and eventually got to know some of our now close friends.
All of that brings us to the beginning of this semester… where again Tommy was invited to various events. What I didn’t know however, is God was already working in his heart to bring him towards himself. Tommy had been experiencing some troubles and really was searching for answers to questions he has had about the Bible. He then began to attend our small groups, asking so many questions, then… he wanted to know how to have a relationship with God. Later on during the second week of classes, another student and I met with Tommy personally to follow up. We shared with him [the gospel message]. We invited him… to receive Jesus, and with some tears shed, he joyfully prayed to receive Christ!
A 1 min video about experiencing God through hobbies JohnAndEllenFleming.com/hobbies
We boarded up the house and evacuated from Hurricane Irma unscathed and took a trip to see some ministry partners up the east coast. We enjoyed some early fall activities along the way, like apple cider and cider donuts, one of our traditions! Evie turned 4 and Maddie Mae had a (scheduled) hospital visit for some throat/stomach pain; God is good and she is is on meds and doing better. The girls are adjusting well to school and thriving. Noah is “getting into more things” and keeping up well with his sisters; dancing in the livingroom to music or walking fast around the house! He’s a charmer! Thank you for your support and prayers as we reach students and faculty for Christ ! 🙂
Our youngest enjoying some much needed time at Chucky Cheese!
Birthday Girl on a date with Daddy!
Our family stopped at the Capitol while heading north after evacuating from Hurricane Irma
“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!
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
Just a quick exciting story to share and a prayer request from yesterday at the University at Albany: I went out yesterday on campus with Dan*, one of the students in our movement there. Last week at Big Break I had the opportunity to use the Soularium spiritual conversation tool with some great conversations resulting from it…
…So I thought it would be a good time to go on campus and bring Dan along to see what spiritual conversations God might arrange for us to have with students there. We met Anthony who was simply sitting on a concrete step outside on the patio area. We asked him if he had 10 minutes or so to help give us feedback on the photos included in the Soularium and answer a few questions related to the photos and he said yes. That began a discovery process of finding out that Anthony was feeling broken in his life and lacking direction and purpose and that he wanted to know more about how to find his purpose in a personal relationship with Jesus. We told him how that could be possible through the Knowing God Personally booklet, a concise description and invitation to knowing Jesus personally through the gospel message. He prayed to receive Christ into his heart! We were really excited and asked him to join Dan at a small group on campus at 3 pm today! He said he knew God sent us to meet him yesterday and even earlier that day he spoke with his mother about getting a Bible! God was working in his life already and we were honored to be there to point him to our Savior and Lord!
Please take a moment to pray that our spiritual enemy and his minions would not have any sway in Anthony’s new life in Christ and that he would plug in to our ministry and a local church, as that seemed to also be missing in his life since he left home for college.
Praise God for all he is doing on local campuses like UAlbany!
*some names are changed from time to time in our updates