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.
Dr. Tim specializes in using temperature sensitive mutants to look at cell division in C. elegans. He’s particularly interested in the role of the chromosomal passenger complex. Wait, what did I just say? Let me start again…
I met Tim at a picnic in Central Park. He enjoys chatting over a spot of coffee, following sports, and exploring the city. He’s also a Postdoctoral Researcher from the United Kingdom. He completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and has been living in the U.S. for four years.
Tim was encouraged to hear that I became a Christian in college. According to his friends in the UK, one can only grow up a Christian, which he did. In their minds Christianity has a sort of half-life. It’s only something to be shed, not an identity anyone actually intends to cultivate.
And that is the challenge we’re accepting in New York City. Imagine a high-profile research professor who eloquently integrates his faith and his science. This is the conversation I began with Tim. To him, faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. But how do you manage that tension within the modern academy?
At the end of his undergraduate zoology studies his professor made a remark that Tim took as a proclamation of faith. But it was too little too late. It made Tim wonder what a winsome example could actually look like in his context. How could a science professor intentionally share his faith?
As we trust God to bring the gospel to the whole campus we must seek out professors who can affirm the intellectual and professional legitimacy of following Jesus. Though they’re experts in their respective fields, they will need courage, tact, and equipping in ministry to be ready to proclaim the gospel to a generation whose worldview has divorced science from faith. *Have an in depth look or a quick read on the subject.
PRAY WITH US
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.
“Give the talk of your life in 18 minutes or less.” That’s the goal for anyone speaking at a TED event. A person gets on stage to share an “idea worth spreading” about a topic they’re qualified to speak. My own “talk of a lifetime” will be today, yet on a different stage.
As you’re reading this, I am in Phoenix presenting our ministry at the Arizona State Capitol. Kirsten’s second cousin is their legislative chaplain and hosts a weekly prayer luncheon where she has graciously given me the floor to speak. It’s an incredible honor to have this opportunity!
At this event I will share the vision we think is worth spreading: how Jesus is transforming the lives of college students in the “capital of the world” and using their positive influence to shape our culture.
We believe the gospel is the best remedy for a world filled with both broken and proud people. Nevertheless, Kirsten’s and my ability to offer this message to NYC students hinges on securing the necessary funding to keep our family here.
Even though we’ve moved to New York City, we can’t report to campus full-time until our team of ministry partners is complete. We’re trusting God to provide more financial supporters to send us to bring the gospel to these spiritually lost students. Right now we’re 80% of the way!
I’m staying with my mom, Virginia, who lives in Sun City West. She’ll be hosting a gathering with her friends for me to speak with as well.
Would you please pray for my ten days in Phoenix as I seek to return home nearly fully-funded? And, let me know if you have a friend in the area who might like to hear from me!
HOW TO PRAY
I’m hoping to follow up with each attendee personally to hear what they think and invite them to partner with us. Pray that our ministry would connect with their hearts.
I’ll also attend this annual prayer event as a guest on the 21st. Pray that I connect with leaders who would like to help reach NYC college students.
HAVE FRIENDS IN PHOENIX?
Know someone that might be encouraged to hear about our work? Email me right away and we can discuss it.
PRAY FOR KIRSTEN
HOME WITH THE KIDS
Ten days without dad is hard. Keep Kirsten in your prayers too. Check in with her on Facebook or email. She would love to know you’re thinking of her.
We’ve made it to New York City! We got here last week just after a hefty twenty-six inches of snow had melted.
We rode our first Uber (a new taxi service with a phone app for reservations - click here for a free ride!) and our new Cru team welcomed us with dinner and food baskets. Four Cru staff families actually live in our building. Thankfully, we’re not alone in this metropolis!
So far we’ve been settling in and getting acquainted with our space. Our unit is incredible. It’s quiet, has lots of sunlight, and our neighbors are friendly. There are sixteen units on our floor and English is usually a second language.
The kids are doing well! Flights went smooth and, after catching up on sleep, both Simon and Eliza have been happy and energetic. They’ve loved getting outside and strolling around the neighborhood. We’ve been especially impressed with how well Simon is doing with the street noise.
We have laundry rooms on two floors that even have a website showing when they’re available. How great is that? In the basement is also a kids playroom with toys and space to stretch their little legs. We’ve met a handful of other families there and plenty of nannies too.
The next weeks will involve painting more rooms, visiting churches, and meeting up with Cru staff and other friends to learn about what to expect as we begin calling NYC our home.
We will continue to invite people to partner with us as we seek to meet our full budget this spring. So, please pray throughout this transition to our new assignment, both for our family’s wellbeing and for this new missionary endeavor on NYC’s 140 college campuses.
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!
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