Category Archives: Winter Conference
“I’ve been brought here for a reason… I can see exactly why God brought me here!” (winter ’15 update)
… were the words of John* at one of our conferences in December. Jason, a Cru staffmember, had been working with John and his fellow wrestlers for over a year and trying for months to get his guys to sign up for the regional Cru winter conference on the west coast near John’s high school.
Since Jason had wrestled in college, he had been helping out with the team at the high school and going to their practices, with about 15-20 wrestlers going to a Bible study each week. It was the day before the conference started. Before that day’s practice, he had scheduled a meeting with a local pastor about partnering with his church in some way to reach students for Christ. During the meeting, the pastor said, “whatever you need, I want to help. If you guys need money…cars…resources…transportation–just tell me what you need and let’s work together.” This was really encouraging to Jason, and he went to the practice right after that, but he wasn’t informed that it was actually a wrestling match. So Jason had nothing to do during that time because the students weren’t available. He was pretty frustrated because he thought he wouldn’t have the one last chance to get some of them to sign up for the conference. So he started praying, “God, why am I here?… I have put so much effort into these guys, none of them are going to end up coming [to the conference].” He walked into the gym just then and saw all of them just sitting around waiting for their match to start. He also noticed the computer/printer room near there happened to be unlocked so he could print conference registration forms. So Jason just started calling over the guys, saying things like “someone gave a bunch of money so you could have a discount to go” and “fill out this release form!” They were excited to hear this news! (even though Jason hadn’t yet asked for the money!) and so four hours before they left for the conference, eight guys had signed up! Jason texted the pastor he had met earlier and asked if they could help send these guys to the conference, and he gave $1,000 toward that effort! Praise God!
At the conference during one of the boys’ sharing times, Jason told them the story of all circumstances that made it possible for these guys to come to the conference and how God wanted them to be there because he has a plan for their lives. By the last day of the conference, two of the wrestlers had prayed to receive Christ, including John*. The conference speaker had asked all of them earlier that day to think about one of the darkest times in his life, and how Jesus was there even in that dark time. In front of all his wrestling buddies, John shared that his “darkest time” was the last time that he was raped as a gradeschooler. He said that he had been raped often at that time in his life. He shared that he remembered that time because he felt like Jesus was there when his perpetrator was about to rape him again as usual but all of a sudden he just stopped! And it never happened again after that. He believes Jesus stopped the perpetrator from doing it. He said to Jason: “Hey Coach… you’ve been saying this whole time that I’ve been brought here for a reason… I totally believe that now… I can see exactly why God brought me here!” Thank you for helping us create safe places for students to meet Jesus!
Because of His Grace Always,
P.S. you can download a pdf version of this update that is easily printable here.
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
We hope you had a great start to the New Year! We enjoy new starts and reboots, because it seems like it’s part of God’s way of redemption in our lives as we turn a new chapter and trust him in new ways. This is what our Conferences are for so many students each year and at each conference. Our coworker with Cru in the Northeast Regional Operations Team (which directs the conference), Jonathan Thorn, writes it best on his blog this way:
“…I love that often, in these moments away, God shows up powerfully. Epicenter was a key time last year for many of the 450 students and staff – and for me. Over 20 students decided to become Christ followers, and many, many others took significant steps of faith, both at Epicenter and on campus afterwards.
This week, over 600 students and staff will gather at the Holiday Inn Wolf Road in Albany, NY. I’ve been planning the details of this conference with the Ops Team for the last year, and especially the last couple of months – with the hope that Epicenter 2013 will be a significant time of spiritual faith steps as students hear from the Lord. “
Please pray with us that God would come down in power and that students would yield their hearts to him in every way possible, and that out of this conference students would take action right away, even before they leave, to make him known to those around them, both literally, and digitally, as we plan on doing some outreach through connections on facebook and using video testimonies.
We would love for you to experience Epicenter with your own eyes if you are available to see one session this coming weekend on Friday or Saturday! Contact us and let us know if you can come, especially on Friday night as there will be a special session at 7pm open to the public that night! Otherwise, you can watch the sessions yourself online where we will be broadcasting them during the whole conference. However, there are some things you just have to see in person to get the full effect! =) Thank you for your prayers and support that make it possible for us to see God’s Kingdom expand in the hearts of students at conferences like Epicenter!