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.
“This past year has been a whirlwind. I’ve lived in London, Nashville, Mumbai, and New York. I’ve had moments of pure happiness and desperate heartbreak. Through the highs and lows I’m learning to trust God and grow in my faith.
If you had asked me a year ago what I wanted to do with my life I would’ve confidently told you that I planned to work in the NYC music industry. But honestly, I have been running away from God.
I grew up in the heart of the Bible belt. At home, at church, and at school I was taught the Christian faith. I never questioned it because nothing contradicted. I didn’t understand the significance of the gospel because I had no reason to doubt it. Then my summer capped off a year of challenges.
While sharing my faith on NYC campuses I was quickly frustrated. I met Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, and more! After one week I was spent. I didn’t know how to back up what I believed. I couldn’t answer when people asked, ‘Why do you believe Jesus is God?’ I didn’t know why I believed beyond the truth that Jesus loved me.
I immediately began questioning my beliefs. I felt like the father in Mark 9. He asks Jesus to heal his son and Jesus says, ‘All things are possible for one who believes.’ The father responds, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ THAT WAS ME! I wanted so desperately to fully believe. But had to say to God, ‘I need your help!’
God acted quickly clearing up my serious doubts within a few days! My questions drove me back to Him. Because of my time with Cru, I’m no longer someone who isn’t capable of explaining what they believe or why they believe it. I still don’t know all the answers to all the questions. Yet, today, I am purposefully joining in life with Him. God is the only thing I desire to chase.”
"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!
Noah wakes, laces up his sneakers, and runs to school. The trip from his Brooklyn apartment to his classroom in Manhattan’s Garment District is six miles. He carries his lunch, sketchbooks, and change of clothes in a cinch sack and won’t rest for almost sixteen hours after a six mile return run across the Williamsburg Bridge.
Embracing it for the personal challenge, Noah is training for a 53 mile ultramarathon. He knows this regimen is tame, but there isn’t enough time in his day for more. He’s one of eighteen students in his Menswear program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. His intensive workshops and inborn competitive drive have him burning the candle at both ends.
I met Noah because his best friend Jake was in a Bible study I led at UM. They grew up in Great Falls, Montana and attended church together. Last fall Noah arrived on FIT’s campus of 10,000 students and couldn't find any ministries. Jake knew I had moved to the city and so he quickly introduced us.
With an acceptance rate of 4%, Noah’s program, the only one of its kind in the country, produces the talents who craft clothing lines for Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Ironically, he had no idea it was this competitive. He read the wrong statistic when he applied thinking it was a 40% rate. Fortunately, the six months he spent preparing his portfolio earned him a top spot.
With 5,000 stitches Noah will learn to craft a full suit by hand. He’ll also learn to produce and bring to market his own clothing lines. At the same time, he’s eager to express his Christian faith within the fashion industry. This could start by inviting his classmates to simply read the Bible with him over lunch breaks.
Noah is the student God has called us to train and equip. He’ll soon return to Montana to test himself on wooded trails, yet his heart for the city and passion to share Jesus with an industry will be a lifelong endeavor.
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.
While I am on a chiropractic mission to heal the physical, my true purpose is to touch the spiritual...
Cap and gown season has passed once again and I’m excited to update you on a student I wrote about in January 2012. Chris Boman graduated from UM with a Health and Human Performance degree and went on to train at chiropractic school in Southern California where he grew up. He recently opened his own practice and will even be getting married this week!
Cru is about helping students like Chris come to know Jesus, grow in their faith, then go to their families, their communities and all over the world to tell others about God's love. To become effective, Christ-centered laborers in this Great Commission, we show them the importance of having a clear picture of where they're headed after graduation. We call this a Kingdom Vision.
Chris saw how God could use his passion for chiropractic to bless people both physically and spiritually, and this is what motivates his work. In fact, a prominent Christian website, TheGospelCoalition.org, just published a short interview with Chris about his job, which I think you'll enjoy.
Really though, the 2014 online readership of TGC was 12.5 million unique visitors! What a special way to highlight an answered prayer for God to send Chris into the workplace!
A commonly held belief on campus is that one should “live it up” in college before entering the real world. The promise of good times and freedom from stress are just a dorm room away. A resident drug dealer beckons his neighbors to “take a break” from their burdensome studies. Jacob was an easy client until God broke through.
Growing up in rural Montana Jacob’s graduating class was thirty-two. He put his energy into prep football and acquired the size and talent to play collegiate. He dreamed of becoming a Montana Grizzly, but the last week of his senior year proved fateful. A broken ankle erased his plans. He missed tryouts and his singular hope in life was snuffed out.
Studies were still a priority and he attended UM. However, by Christmas break he was in a dark place. Making good friends was difficult. He was angry about his life and his future seemed bleak. He was smoking marijuana every day and escaping reality through video games. For him, these had become the only reliable things in life, never to let him down.
One night, while sitting on his bed packing a pipe, he reflected on how it always felt like God was going to be the answer he needed. Then, out of nowhere, he heard what he described as a loud voice saying, “Jacob! Put it down!” This was all he needed. He threw away his bag of weed and was soon introduced to a Christian community through Cru.
Church had been a part of his background growing up, yet now he wanted to hear for himself what God had in mind for his life. It’s been a year since Jacob’s heart turned towards Jesus, and he is learning that God is more faithful than he ever imagined.
Send him to East Asia this summer!
Jacob has just been accepted to our East Asia Summer Mission partnership! He is thin on Christian community back home and is trusting the Lord to provide new ministry partners that would send him.
Would you prayerfully consider giving a special gift for his five week Summer Mission with Cru?
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