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“I’ve been brought here for a reason… I can see exactly why God brought me here!” (winter ’15 update)

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Some of the students that attended our Winter Conference on the west coast with John

… 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!

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Students at the same Cru winter conference

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,

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P.S. you can download a pdf version of this update that is easily printable here.temp-fampic

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“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!

Our Capital Region students lead out in Outreach efforts this week at Epicenter conference!

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,

A thank you from Cheeia to CRU

If you’ve ever wondered what Campus Crusade for Christ (soon to be called Cru) is all about, then Cheeia’s video of thanks expresses well what we are all about when it comes to college students:

Cheeia Lo Tells her story

How do we get to Heaven? “By doing the best [you] can to lead a good life”????

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!

Page 2 of NYC Summer Project 2010 Newsletter

Our Continuing Adventure: Home Ownership and Fall Semester Planning!

It's Good to be home in the Neighborhood!

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)

Our New Home

Ellen and a Friend painting

John Scraping old floor up in Kitchen after cabinets removed

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).

God Speed,
John and Ellen

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