Betty (NYU) — “When the speaker talked about multiplying discipleship it reminded me of my friend who’s not a believer. I want to take what I heard this weekend back to her. I haven’t known how to talk to her, but I took good notes and I’ll ask God for wisdom on how to share with her.
I’ve also been struggling academically. I’m still getting As, but I’ve been trying to impress my professor and totally failing. It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s made me bitter too. Coming here this weekend has reminded me that God is saying, ‘Don’t try to impress people or strive to be hard working. Just come to Me.’
Looking at my priorities this semester, it seems like I’ve only given God barely five minutes! Now I want God to be my main priority. I’ll still work hard, but do it for Him and trust Him for success.”
Jack (NYU) — “I recently became a Christian. The transition from China to America has been overwhelming, but it’s honestly so nice to be here today. I can wholeheartedly live devoted to God. I can sink myself into worship and the messages.
It’s been so nice to open myself up. At school, you want to avoid opening up about your values because you don’t want to sound judgmental, but here I can be known.”
Sarah (NYU) — “I’m from Singapore. I’m a sophomore. I’ve felt alone. I haven’t known a lot of people. I wasn’t going to come. But being here I’ve found so many people who are ready to talk to me!
I just recovered from having cancer. I feel like cancer was my fault, that I must’ve done something really bad to make God angry enough to give me it. But, listening to the talk during our women’s time healed some of my wounds. I’m so glad that I came!”
As you can see, we had a great weekend away! Pray for these students as they jump back into the fast-paced city life they know and love.
Ask God to help them walk closely with Him each day and to show them how they can share their faith with others.
And... let us know how we can be praying for you! We'd love to hear what's going on in your life lately.
David was running out of time. He needed to gain access to a Manhattan campus within the hour. His spring break visitors from the South would arrive any minute. David was trusting God to literally open doors for them to share their faith at a college we hadn’t seen success at in years.
No one in David’s network had responded. The outlook was bleak. Then, while en route on the subway, he received a text from a friend of a friend who had the credentials to pass security. This person would be available to meet his group and ensure they wouldn’t be turned away.
Most Manhattan buildings don’t allow people to walk in off the street. You need a special ID, a host, or an appointment. Once on campus, you must be ready to explain to anyone why you’re there. We tell them Cru is a Christian ministry serving the campus as a spiritual resource for students and faculty.
This brings up an important question. What is a good way to tell people you’ve just met about Jesus? Answer: embrace the awkwardness. Moving through it is the main friction holding us back from meaningful conversations. So we challenge our students, “Are you willing to feel awkward for Jesus?”
Next, they need to know what to talk about. We’ve created all kinds of tools ranging from conversation pieces, to questionnaires, to interviews, and gospel tracts. People love being asked what they think. They also respond well when we listen well.
David’s group spent their day striking up conversations in a cafeteria. Many had never heard the gospel and two students prayed to receive Christ on the spot. Over three weeks with 180 spring break visitors we witnessed 32 NYC students put their trust in Jesus at 17 different campuses!
"I feel like my whole life has been building up to this one moment!" Exclaimed NYU freshman, Isa. My teammate David was shocked by the conversation he was having. They were meeting to discuss a spiritual interest survey Isa had completed earlier in the week. The result was a divine appointment.
David opened with normal get-to-know-you questions, then Isa redirected, "What do you believe about Jesus?" Caught a bit off guard, David answered succinctly and returned the question. Despite coming from a nonreligious household Isa attended a Christian high school in the Middle East. He’d learned that God had become a man and died on a cross. "I just don’t know what to do with this information… I figured you might be able to answer my questions."
David affirmed what Isa had learned; it was all true. But, inviting people to an ideology wasn’t God’s endgame. We’re invited to know a person. David shared John 1:12, “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Isa had always trusted in his own goodness, ability, and knowledge to be right with God, but it never felt like enough. No one had explained that placing our trust in the person God had sent, the one who was perfectly good, right, and true, was the only way to satisfy God’s holy standard. Isa’s trust was in his own best efforts, rather than God’s work on Isa’s behalf through Jesus Christ.
While he had known about Jesus for a long time, Isa was now finally bowing his head, turning to Jesus as the object of his faith, and receiving forgiveness. David had never seen someone so excited to become a Christian!
When our team heard this we were all in awe. The nations have come to us to hear this Good News. Pray for Isa to grow deeply in his relationship with God and the church and that we will send him home as an ambassador for Christ!
Here we are, all packed up and ready to head East! We're traveling pretty light, as you can see!
We sold one car and plan to sell this one soon, so most of what we're carrying involves Simon's books and toys and Eliza's diapers and cute clothes. Craigslist served us well to clear things out!
Our first stop is Kirsten's hometown of Fargo, ND. Then we'll continue to La Crosse, WI for Thanksgiving where her parents live now. We hope to move into our Manhattan apartment around the second week of December!
Please, keep us in your prayers as we travel 2,424 miles this holiday season!
YOU CAN HELP SEND US!
One of our ministry partners is generously matching up to $5,000 in special gifts to help us with our move across the country!
Would you prayerfully consider a gift of $25, $50, or some other amount to help us report to our new ministry assignment? Because of this match your gift will be automatically doubled!
A brand new building with a doorman… three bedrooms (come visit us!)… at 50% off the market rate with stabilized rent. Now for the cherry on top… a 15th floor view of the Empire State Building! We couldn’t have asked for more! Ok, maybe a free parking spot, but we won’t even need cars in this incredible Hell’s Kitchen location. Times Square is just three avenues east!
We had planned to request your prayers for the next step in our NYC venture: finding a place to live. This is the notorious challenge people face when moving to NYC because affordability doesn’t exist and everything comes with significant trade-offs. Many hire brokers or else spend months chasing public listings. And rightly so; Manhattan is the epitome of supply and demand economics.
We suspended our work with students in April to focus on moving as soon as possible. Our responsibility has been to mobilize more people to take part in sending us to pioneer new ministries on NYC’s campuses. God has been growing our team and this incredible apartment blessing confirms that he wants us to get moving. We secured Gotham West’s last income-subsidized three bedroom unit by out-qualifying nearly 40,000 others!
We’re still in shock. God has handled this formidable step for us (albeit over six weeks and 155 emails!). Here’s what this means. With our housing contract now in place, we must receive our ministry partners’ commitments so we can move in. Cru has allowed us to take this apartment in faith because we are in reach of our financial goal.
If you’ve received our NYC vision booklet with an invitation to help send us, we ask that you PLEASE take action today! We’re thrilled to share this apartment windfall with you and to begin connecting lost NYC college students to Jesus Christ!
ASK GOD TO...
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s easy to mistake Eric for a woman. With his hair down, his long, light-brown curls look much like his sister’s. Most days he wears it in a bun, which is a trending style these days. Yet, what isn’t popular is to trade the freedom of living off campus for 100 square feet of shared living space in the dorms. This fall Eric will do just that to effectively minister to college freshmen.
The two of us have had a good run together. He showed up as a freshman two years ago asking how he could best serve the ministry. His parents are on staff with Cru in Bozeman, MT and are the national directors of Nations, Cru’s Native American ministry. Eric has joined me for both “Would Jesus Eat Frybread?” conferences and has already been exploring his own ministry calling. He spent most of his summer in Nicaragua helping a missionary family with their plantation, where he was mistaken for a woman numerous times.
Eric’s desire to serve on campus has helped us develop a new role for student leaders. We have hired him as a Part-Time Field Staff serving as an Insider, a role I’ve mentioned in previous letters where we challenge students to return to the dorms to minister to their peers. It’s a tall order, and the financial and social benefits of living off campus usually win students away from such a sacrificial commitment. Plus, if a student like Eric is not taking out loans for school, they simply cannot afford to stay on campus.
And then came my pitch, “Eric, would you consider asking God to raise up a team of ministry partners who would pray for your work in the dorms and finance you to move back in?”
“I’ll think about it,” is all he said. A month went by and I figured my challenge was a lost cause. Then, Eric calls me up and says, “I feel like God wants me to move back into the dorms and reach freshmen.” I was shocked. It turned out that the prospect of having forty floor-mates to share life with and potentially lead to Christ was a vision he couldn’t pass up. Eric wanted his time in college to count for more than his own pursuits. He wants many others to know about the purpose and hope he’s found in Jesus.
Mobilizing Eric as a student laborer is a huge answer to prayer. His role will give him the training, preparation, and permission to do ministry in a way we have yet to see. If he can use these next two years to mobilize others, we will witness a successful season of ministry multiplication. This means there would be no telling just how many others would be touched by the Gospel at UM!
Eric is sure to turn heads with his flowing locks, but then again, an upperclassman living among freshmen might seem just as extraordinary. I pray that his presence would bless his floor-mates and stir up curiosity to know Jesus personally.
Did you know? Campus Crusade for Christ International has 26,000 missionaries worldwide! Known as Cru in the United States, our biennial U.S. Staff Conference gathers 5,000 full-time missionaries from Cru's 20 distinct ministries.
The theme of Cru15 was "Together" and over the course of seven days we looked at these four major topics:
These focuses were timely and the array of speakers from within Cru as well as those they invited to weigh in were all exceptional. We came away feeling like Cru is submitted to the Lord in its commitment to sharing Jesus with people everywhere, no matter the context.
Indeed, we feel like the organization is doing a lot to help its staff move into the future as advocates for partnership with others in the body of Christ in order to help fulfill The Great Commission.
Now, with all the great online content you could watch or listen to about Cru's goals and aspirations, we realize you don't have seven days to soak it all in!
So, if we could recommend just one of the sessions for you to watch it would be this:
>> Tim KcKenzie - On Every Word // A 22-minute, live, spoken word scripture experience. This will minister to you as you reflect on the truth of the Bible and God's promises to us, his children. It takes you on a spiritual journey unlike anything else.
Of the Main Sessions, we also think the Francis Chan talks would resonate the most outside of the conference context. He spoke memorably about Being Known for Loving Jesus Deeply (look for the Legos illustration) and about Being Personally Rooted in God's Love.
The quality of the all the recordings is incredible. The Conference Team did an amazing job. We highly recommend checking some of it out!
Gathering with our New York City campus ministry team. Not all the kids could make it, but you can see we have a good number of people to start with in NYC. It was great to put faces to all the names we have been learning!
Simon (almost 2 1/2) enjoyed our afternoon trips to the park in Fort Collins, CO after we picked him up from Cru15 Kid's Care. It was his first time doing any sort of extended childcare and he did great for all seven days!
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