“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.”
What does an average day look like for the Buchers? Well, it varies! Here are me and Kirsten’s weekly Position Focuses:
Continue raising personal funds. We’re entirely funded by individuals and churches who want to give the gospel to college students. With NYC’s considerable cost of living, we still dedicate 20% of our time to growing and cultivating this support. We have 140 financial partners and over 500 praying!
Lead the NYC Summer Mission. Every summer Cru hosts over 200 mission trips around the world! Students will grow as much in a summer as they would in a whole school year. We train them to share their faith, deepen their walk with God and Christian community, and develop a personal ministry for when they return to their campuses. Preparations began in December.
Program Director for Cru’s city-wide fundraising dinner. We’ll fill over 20 tables at the Yale Club in Midtown Manhattan. We’re helping tell our ministry’s story by coordinating content from the main speakers, the videos produced, and the overall flow of the evening. It’s coming up May 2nd.
Minister at NYU. We share our faith, teach basic doctrine, lead Bible studies, host explorers groups, and do discipleship. Then we pass it on through training and coaching with the students who we challenge to lead.
Pioneer new Manhattan campuses. Cru is only ministering at nine campuses of over 100 in the five boroughs. Each is unique, so we “decode” them before starting. We speak with the administration and faculty and students, we talk with other ministries if they exist, and we ask God to show us how to proceed.
Add in meetings, commutes, and prayer gatherings and each week is brimming. Of course, making time to “be” rather than “do” is at the heart of the gospel, so we spend most evenings at home with our kids and friends!
We have worn the tread off our double stroller’s wheels in just 6 months! This vehicle has been a lifesaver for getting around the city with two kids. And that’s a little how I feel about being in New York City: not exactly worn, but going, going, and going!
I have not “arrived” as an urban mom, but am adjusting to the differences of raising young kids in the city. I want to share a snapshot of what life is like for us as we continue to figure it all out.
FIRST, THE UNEXPECTED
I didn’t realize that no car means carrying home groceries for the week in a backpack. It’s a lot of work, especially in 85 degree heat and 85% humidity with two toddlers! I also never expected to see the homeless showering at the splash pad where my kids play.
But these are opportunities to teach my children about what we take for granted and the reality of the need of many, which will hopefully foster generosity and a compassion for others.
WE'RE SETTLING IN
The kids have taken all the changes in stride and seem to have completely adapted to urban living. Simon loves that we can watch construction workers and vehicles everywhere. Eliza likes the horses and carriages that clip-clop to Central Park.
They have stopped asking why there is no grass. We no longer feel overwhelmed and overstimulated when we go outside. We can navigate the city confidently, even if that means occasionally stepping in yucky puddles and doggie doo!
OUR URBAN FAMILY
It feels surreal at times that they are “big city” kids, totally different from my suburban upbringing. I wonder how it will continue to shape them as they grow up, yet am confident that the Lord has called them to NYC too, and that He will provide everything they need.
We’re excited about what’s in store with our family life and ministry as summer wraps up and we head into the (hopefully much cooler) fall.
P.S. Know a student starting college this fall? Share this page with them!
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!
When do you plan to move?
Ideally by early spring 2016. Our goal is to complete our new support needs by October 1st, then begin the housing process and shuttling our family across the US. We plan to sell most of our furniture, including our cars.
Where will you live?
Either Manhattan or Brooklyn. If we could have our choice of neighborhoods, it might be the Upper West Side or Brooklyn Heights. The idea is to live in the same borough as the campuses we’ll frequent and to have at least one other Cru family nearby. If you’ve heard anything about NYC apartment hunting, you’ll know that this is no small task! If anything, we’ll simply try a location for a year to see if it will work for our family.
What campus will you work on?
Lots! Unlike a traditional campus like UM, the metro approach requires a strategy that builds pockets of students on multiple campuses. Currently, there are Cru staff at NYU, Columbia, City College, and a few others. We’ll be working on some of these campuses while finding ways to pioneer new ones.
What is Cru already doing in NYC?
There are just five regular campus staff in NYC today! There are also a handful of staff working with international exchange students and local ethnic students. Beyond Cru’s campus focus, we have staff working with business professionals, at the United Nations, with the inner city poor, and with church partnerships.
Who will you be working with?
So far sixteen others are joining us! Cru is recruiting even more at a second vision conference this October. Many of the recruits are families, which surprised us, seeing as it’s tough to get families to move there. Families can provide the longevity needed to sustain ministries year after year.
What are your roles going to be?
We’ve discussed Ivan spending half his time doing operations for the various teams alongside his focus of sharing the gospel and training students. Kirsten may help lead staff development and spend a few hours a week on campus with students until the kids are in school when she will become more available.
What are we doing right now?
Trusting God to connect us with new ministry partners! We will move as soon as we’re fully funded. Most days involve sharing about this new city ministry opportunity and inviting people to send us. We’ll be traveling this summer and will attend our biennial staff conference in Fort Collins, CO in mid July.
We deeply appreciate your continued interest in this work and our lives personally. Thank you for your prayers both for God to move in the hearts of college students and for our family to follow his call on our lives!
The three most diverse places in America are all within Anchorage, according to the 2010 census. Queens Borough, in New York City, comes in fourth! We’re three quarters of the way through our Alaska Summer Project and it’s been a flurry of activity. Our team of nine Cru staff, three staff kids, and thirteen students have been exploring the city, the UAA campus, and meeting an incredible variety of people along the way.
Hai, pronounced “Hi”, is a Vietnamese-American student who became a Christian last year through his friend Talo, a Pacific Islander who attends Cru at the University of Washington. Talo was on the Lake Tahoe Summer Project last year, having just converted from Mormonism. As Hai and I hiked up Flat Top Mountain it was apparent that I was the one who looked like a tourist. Most of the people on this popular trail were not white.
Living in Anchorage in the summer is like taking an extended layover at a bustling International Airport. There is no way to anticipate what you will see next, which has made this Summer Project really unique! Our team came to Alaska to discover a new culture, to posture ourselves as learners, and to envision what Cru could look like in Anchorage. Here are some of the things we’ve been doing…
God is definitely using our presence to strengthen relationships here and we trust that good things are in store for the future team!
ALSO PRAY FOR DAPHNE
She’s an exchange student from Taiwan studying nursing at UAA who’s been a Christian since childhood, but was unknowingly placed with a Mormon family, making it impossible to meet with any Christians. Ask God to provide a new home!
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