Our ministry calling and recent move to NYC
Ivan grew up in Alaska and Kirsten grew up in North Dakota.
We met as freshmen in the residence halls at the University of Montana in 2003. Each of us encountered Jesus personally while alone in our dorm rooms during our sophomore (Ivan) and junior (Kirsten) years.
Cru played a key role in both of our stories.
We became a part of their community through mutual friends and the Cru staff we had met. This led to our spiritual growth as young Christians and we became ministry leaders among our peers. By graduation we both had fully surrendered our lives and relationships to God.
Little did we know...
God would send Ivan to Venezuela for a year with Cru and send Kirsten to Africa on a short term medical mission. Our dating relationship continued toward marriage despite the distance thanks in part to our weekly Skype video dates : )
Kirsten took a job in Las Vegas!
She began teaching high school biology just as Ivan returned from his experience overseas. Eight weeks later we had a beautiful, intimate ceremony with our families in Summerlin, the western suburb of Las Vegas.
We both felt passionate about ministering to college students.
Yet, God hadn't made it clear how that might look. One day after class Kirsten had the opportunity to share the Gospel with some girls and realized that God wanted her to teach people about him. By the end of Kirsten's teaching year we sensed that God was calling us to join with Cru full-time.
Cru received us as full-time staff members in 2009.
Today we work together alongside a team of campus missionaries. Our first four years of ministry have been at the University of Montana, Missoula.
Our family grew!
It began March 2013 with the arrival of our boy Simon and more recently with our girl Eliza in January 2015!
Reaching the world's future leaders is a major part of what attracted us to work with Cru.
We get excited about the strategic nature of winning, building, and sending influential young people with the Gospel. Historically, God has used this demographic to take the Gospel all over the world, trusting him for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in each generation.
Today, we are responding in faith to a unique opportunity to shift our focus toward the city.
How did New York City come about?
With our first three years on campus behind us, we began discussing how our legacy with Cru might look.
Would we move overseas? Would we move to another region of the country, or would we stay in Montana? Neither of us felt like a new location was on the radar, so it made sense to stay in Montana. We began surveying the housing market and envisioning our future in the Big Sky Country.
A month went by and life carried on.
Then Kirsten mentions she had seen a house she really liked. It was the first time something had caught her eye. The reality of this moment carried a new weight, as if a decision could be made. Would we move forward on our plans of planting our lives in Missoula? The lure of a bigger space and place to truly call home was palpable.
Meanwhile, our church had been preaching through Hebrews.
A sermon in chapter eleven hit home regarding our life of faith. The idea of buying a house and settling down appealed to our desire for comfort and security. It seemed like our plan to remain in Montana was mostly motivated by this act of self-preservation. The very next day this process changed as God spoke through a phone call with our regional leadership director.
“We're not trying to get rid of you. You have the freedom to say no to the NY trip entirely,” He said.
But that wasn’t the feeling we were experiencing. What we mostly felt was fear. Who actually dreams of raising a family in the city? Regardless, the idea of new ministry possibilities excited us and the timing of the call was of no small coincidence. Is this what God sounds like?
Looking back at our lives, God has made big changes in our direction through local preaching and through the voices of our leadership.
From our stays in Venezuela and The Gambia, to Kirsten moving to Las Vegas for teaching, to us both joining staff with Cru, God has used influential people to speak his will into our lives. In many ways this is the voice I was waiting to hear regarding our future.
So the question became, would we stay or would we go?
We did’t think staying would be wrong, or that buying a house in Missoula would be selfish. We feel God used this process to purify our motives and solidify our long term direction as a family. He used the vision trip to change it up and we trust God will give us wisdom and discernment about how to navigate this new direction.
Other staff from around the country are joining us too!
So far, sixteen other staff have said yes to moving to NYC in response to similar invitations. We really feel that God is in this and is putting together teams that will help to launch new ministries. There are more students within the five boroughs of NYC than the entire Northwest. The need is great, the laborers are few (but more than just us), and the Lord of the harvest has asked us to pray for more laborers (Mt. 9:37-38).
Please join us in that prayer and ask if he would have you become a ministry partner.
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©2009-2019 Ivan and Kirsten Bucher.
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