Multiplying Disciples on Campus

Dr. Bright would often say, “Win the campus today; win the world tomorrow”.

Here is an encouraging story of the fruit of our work and your gifts and prayers…

Troy-and-RyanRyan and Troy were best friends in high school, and naturally became roommates when they arrived at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

A believer coming from a solid youth group, Ryan was eager to get involved with Cru. He enjoyed having the Cru community and Christ-centered direction in his life.

Troy had a different experience. Finding friends was hard. College-level academics were hard. The final straw was when Troy’s long-time girlfriend broke up with him. One night in October, each lying in his dorm room bed and talking across the darkened room, Troy finally told Ryan, “Sure, I’ll go to one of those Cru meetings with you.”

After a few weeks, Ryan came up to staff member Dennis Leskowski. “Hey, Dennis! Troy has been joining us at Cru and he loves it. He’s learning a lot about Jesus. He wants to know how to accept Christ in his life. Would you meet with him and share the gospel?”

As a Cru staff missionary, Dennis was excited. Immediately, he looked Ryan in the eyes and said, “No, I won’t.” Ryan looked stunned. “How about you and I get together?” Dennis asked. “I’ll teach you how to share the gospel, and you can introduce Troy to Jesus yourself.”

A few days afterwards, Ryan stood next to Dennis after a Cru Thursday night meeting. They faced a crowd of people where Troy, talking lively, was in the middle. Both men smiled as Ryan commented, “I’ve seen Troy happy over the years. But I’ve never seen him have joy like this. He is a completely different person, because of Jesus.”

Ryan and Troy grew and developed over their years as students. Ryan became an instrumental leader as Grand Valley State University’s Cru movement grew from 35 students during his freshman year, to 650 students during his senior year. He led people to Christ, taught others about sharing their faith, led small groups and led in other ways.

As a track athlete, Troy helped to form and lead the Grand Valley Athletes in Action movement that eventually saw more than 40 student athletes involved on a regular basis. He too learned how to share his faith and led others to Christ.

“Today,” Dennis said, “They have graduated, love Jesus, and are making an impact in their companies, communities, and churches.”

Celebrating 25 years of ministry with Cru!

Friends at New Staff Training with Dr. and Mrs. Bright, 1991

Friends at New Staff Training with Dr. and Mrs. Bright, 1991

caught mid-sentence while shutting down the mainframe, 1999

caught mid-sentence while shutting down the mainframe, 1999

On July 25, I will celebrate 25 years with Cru! In July of 1991, I was in Colorado for Campus Crusade for Christ’s New Staff Training. In August I started to find my team of ministry partners, and by December I was in Orlando. It’s hard to believe that so many years have passed since I packed my things into a U-Haul truck and embarked on this wonderful adventure.

Some of my favorite memories include:

  • working with an amazing group of talented and committed missionaries
  • a guys’ Bible study group that encouraged each other and had amazing adventures backpacking together
  • many other wonderful friends in Florida and later in Indiana
  • experiencing grace from my coworkers when I messed up or things didn’t go according to plan
  • helping to install the first Internet connection at CCC’s headquarters (the first Orlando headquarters, “Sunport”)
  • retiring the mainframe
  • building the infrastructure and moving into our current headquarters, Lake Hart
  • meeting Liesl, marrying, and having Anja!
  • moving to Indiana to work with Keynote
  • tech-missionary trips to Hungary, Turkey, Thailand (and Xenia, Ohio)

All of this was made possible by you, our faithful team of ministry partners! Thank you so much for standing with us financially and with your prayers – some of you for 25 years. We have each been blessed so that we can be a blessing to others, and God is using us together to extend His kingdom throughout the earth!

Celebrating & Supporting Marriage

wedding-200Karl and I just celebrated 18 years of marriage! As someone joked, we’re finally legal now ☺. We’ve had heartbreaking times and wonderful times as well, but thanks to good counsel and a foundation in Christ we’ve been able to weather it all together and come out more connected and in love than we started. Some of that good counsel came from Cru’s FamilyLife ministry. One couple we work with here in Indy speaks at many FamilyLife events, so we wanted to share a taste of what God does through them.

Bruce says: “Julie and I have been speaking at these FamilyLife ‘Weekend to Remember’ events now for nearly 20 years. Every Friday night as conferences begin, we look out at the crowd and realize there are so many untold stories in the faces we see. As the weekend unfolds, prayer requests start getting turned in, couples begin approaching us with questions, and it’s then you begin to crack the surface. You begin to realize the magnitude of human drama represented in the room. There are definitely stories of those who experience pain, brokenness and even hopelessness – but there are also the stories of joy, gratitude, and restoration. What’s amazing to us? God knows every one. And He divinely draws each couple there to accomplish His eternal purposes in their marriages and families.”

Comments from attendees:

Before this weekend, I was positive my marriage was over. This conference has breathed God’s life into it. Our relationship has been renewed. Looking forward to see what God has in store for us. We both have decided to surrender our lives and family to God.” – Married 9 years

This was a great reminder to not take my commission as a husband and father for granted. Anyone can be my replacement at work and even do a better job, but I am the only one that God has put on this earth to be a Father to my children and husband to my wife.” – Married 18 years

I had no idea what it meant to be a wife and did not know that I should put my husband before my children. I learned so much and am excited to go home and try out my new tools.” – Married 9 years

Rescued us from drifting too far into “isolation” and bringing us back to the oneness we both so desire and pray for.” – Married 13 years

As a second time attendee, I had my hesitancies that it would be just a replay of learned concepts, but much like the Word of God which is fresh and new each time we study it, there have been new revelations and commitments that I have made to stand in the gap for my marriage and family.” – Married 12 years

We hold marriage in such high regard for the sake of our walk with God, our children, and our witness to the world. It’s worth investing in. As you can see from the comments, it’s not just for marriages that are on the rocks, but for everyone who wants to grow closer to each other and to the Lord. We highly recommend it. If you are interested in learning more, check out www.familylife.com and click on “Events”.

Worship and Prayer

worship-arts-weekend

Imagine hosting 11 college students! We had the privilege of hosting the Ball State University students who attended the Spring 2016 Worship Arts Weekend.

Some comments from the students:
“It is so helpful and transformed what worship looked like on our campus. It also helped to reorient my heart towards God in a powerful way this year and I am so thankful for that.”

“Just thank you. You guys challenged me this weekend, helped me grow and connect with God. You guys taught me so much this weekend and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Boehlke-Kranich

Tuesday was Cru’s semiannual Worldwide Day of prayer, and we were joined by Jeff and Jo Boehlke, our friends from southern Indiana.

Jeff and I both work remotely for the same team in Orlando, and spend a lot of time working together on Cru’s Google system.

Our team is also working on projects to improve Cru’s financial system, web hosting, and other systems. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and the ability to make quick progress!

Operation Transit

Operation Transit-web

How would you react if you saw hundreds of cars backed up trying to get to a ferry port? I would probably just get stressed, but the founders of Operation Transit saw an opportunity for the gospel.

Each year, thousands of North Africans travel from their workplaces in Europe back home to visit family in places where the gospel is not easily shared. But as they wait in European ports, ministry teams with Operation Transit (a partnership that Cru is involved in) pass out gospel materials. Our friends Allen and Deedee Iobst help lead this ministry and report that teams distributed almost 220,000 items in 2015.

They’ve also been experimenting with different types of technology, which always gets me excited. They’re working on USB thumb drives that will contain gospel materials, and even portable wifi routers that create mini web sites from which passersby can download films and books.

They’re always looking for families and church teams to join them for 12-day sessions throughout the summer. If you’re interested, contact us and we’ll connect you with Allen and Deedee.

God produces a constant stream of encouraging stories from Operation Transit. In their latest newsletter, Allen and Deedee report:

“Recently, five ladies from a couple of churches in Madrid came down to help us with our outreach. One day they faced a day-long downpour. But something extraordinary happened: exactly when the cars drove off the ferry boat, the rain stopped just long enough for effective Bible distribution. Then the rain would start up again, until the next boat arrived! On another day, the same team met increasing opposition from the port police. Then one of the ladies explained: ‘What we are doing is helping you. We are sharing the love of Jesus, and if they accept it, it will change everything for the better.’ The official agreed, saying ‘I didn’t realize that.’ He went on to explain our outreach to his colleague. After that, the same port police who had been discouraging the work began actively encouraging travelers to accept the gospel packets!”

Because of the location of this work, they have also been wrestling with how to respond to the refugee crisis. “We can respond to the newcomers with fear, or we can respond with love. We can realize that the Lord may be sending people into Europe not just to find safety or jobs, but also to find God’s grace. We can choose to take the opportunity to share God’s love in truly helpful ways.” Please pray for these opportunities!