Giving Thanks for You!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thess 5:16-18

I (Karl) have read 1 Thessalonians several times lately. It’s amazing how much God and Paul packed into a letter that fits on 2.5 pages of my Bible and can be read in 15 minutes!

Paul starts by telling the Thessalonian Christians how he thanks God for them constantly, and ends with the exhortation to “give thanks in all circumstances”. We have so much to be thankful for, and you are at the top of the list! We are so thankful for your prayers and giving. We’re thankful that we have this job of equipping missionaries to share the gospel effectively, and you make it possible.

Thanks to your generosity and God’s grace, August 2014 through July 2014 has been the most fruitful year of evangelism in the history of the US campus ministry. 16.2 million people heard the gospel, resulting in 234,662 new believers!

ministry fruit

One of those new believers was Kristopher, a student and former atheist who found Cru’s site www.everystudent.com last year.  He said, “I was an atheist until about last night when I chose to take a shot at connecting with Jesus. The life of an atheist is devoid of any real hope and that just wasn’t the life for me. I am ready to have a relationship with him. I look forward to more emails.”

Let’s thank God together for his grace and love!

Boxes of Love

Box of LoveHey, Y’all! We just heard from some of our staff friends in Milwaukee about a great way to reach those in need and to get believers involved in the process. Check it out…

Empowered to Share

Last November, Kara, one of our Cru staff members, met with a woman named Lonnette, a member of Resurrection Church.  Lonnette saw a need in her community but lacked the tools to do what the Lord was calling her and her church to do to meet that need.

Lonnette heard from Kara about the opportunity to partner with Cru in the Boxes of Love outreach, which would help their church connect with the people in their community through a full Thanksgiving meal.

Additionally, Lonnette learned of the evangelism training provided by Cru.  Her eyes widened with excitement as she explained what a timely answer to prayer this opportunity would be.

The morning of the outreach came and Lonnette joined about 40 other people to learn how to share their faith.  Afterward, Lonnette shared, “I’m so excited!  I love to spread the gospel of God, but I’ve always had a fear and the training has taught me some things I didn’t know.  I can’t wait to share this training with others!”

Please join us in praying for this year’s training to help equip and launch many to share their faith!

What Goes Into a Box of Love?

Continue reading

Summer Project Update

In July we told you about the students that came to Keynote to participate in our Summer Project. We had just spent some late nights being extras in the music video that they were shooting. Here’s the final product:

Some words from the song in the video became a theme of what the students learned and experienced during project: “Take these open hands. I know that I can reach another with what I have. Make purpose live through me.”

The hope for Summer Project was to create tools to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. In five weeks they created five! In addition to the video, other tools the students worked on were:

  • a survival handbook for college freshmen called Ramen with a Side of College
  • a video with live-action drawing to accompany a spoken word poem
  • a poster series with web-based interaction called Faded Words
  • a social media campaign that can be used by Cru movements across the country!

Each week project students and staff participated in at least two outreaches on social media, through social justice, or by initiating conversations on a local college campus using an art and belief survey.

On campus, Karen and Stephen talked with Nick. He was very open to taking the survey. As they talked, Nick said he is bothered by street preachers who yell at people through megaphones. Karen and Stephen established common ground when they said they didn’t prefer that method either! Nick was open to going through four points about knowing God.

Karen said about their conversation, “…we went through the four points slowly with plenty of dialogue and questions. His main hang up about God is that He doesn’t show Himself to everyone in an obvious way and make them believe in Him. We explained that a relationship with God requires faith because it reflects a desire to know Him and not being forced to know Him. Nick was fascinated by that idea and we could see it click with him. We gave him the opportunity to place his faith in Christ, but he wasn’t ready in that moment; he needed to take the time to count the cost. However, he told us that we helped change his perspective on faith and helped him think differently than he has before.”

In the process of learning more about sharing their faith and developing creative resources, the students also learned to work together, defer to one another and hold things loosely. Tessa reflected, “It’s easy for us to take pride in our ideas because personally, it feels like this is what I have to offer and sharing an idea is like putting forward a part of myself. I’m not a competitive person by nature, but I’ve realized that this is one area in my life where I feel that competitive drive come out. In this project, you knew once you put something out there, you had to hold it loosely and know that everyone is working to make that idea better. It can be hard to let your original idea go, but the end result is way better than what you could have done on your own.”

When we return the time, talents and resources God has given us to Him, He “takes our open hands” and uses them for His glory.

Thank you for your prayers and gifts that keep ministry like this going!

Sending missionaries to the nations!

STINTers2014

From August 13 to 18, 385 young missionaries from America gathered in Chicago for one week of training before heading out all over the world. We call their adventure a “STINT”, for “Short Term INTernational”. 133 of these STINTers are going to East Asia.

With this opportunity comes a huge responsibility as well, to train and equip these young missionaries to serve well, so their time in East Asia is fruitful. In addition to the regular conference that all Stinters going to any location attend, the week was also divided into five “Area Times” where each area of the world trained Stinters on specifically working in that area. They attended sessions including:

  • “Why Asia, Why Now”
  • “A Balanced Perspective on Security”
  • “Movement Building Principles and Practices”
  • “Learning a New Language”
  • “How does the Gospel speak into your Stint year.”
STINT-tech-room

preparing laptops

We were also able to make sure that every Stinter was equipped to securely operate in a closed country. This is where I got to participate. I joined Keith and Scott (to the left and right of me in the group photo above) in Chicago to prepare each Stinter’s computer for ministry. Each computer was fully encrypted, a secure internet connection was set up, and they were trained how to access their secure email account. We worked crazy hours to get this done – some days we worked from 8am to past midnight. Keynote also sent a team to lead worship in the main sessions, but I barely saw them because of long hours in the tech room.

It was a privilege to serve these missionaries! Please pray that they have a safe and fruitful year of ministry.

Summer Project; Watertown visit

On June 23, six eager and talented college students arrived in Indiana for the 2014 Keynote Summer Project. Over the last 20 years Keynote Summer Projects have equipped students to effectively communicate the gospel, taught them to use creative platforms to start spiritual conversations and challenged them to grow in relationship with the Lord. The same will be true this summer. However, these students won’t be in a band and they won’t tour around the country or overseas.

SP2014students

Reed-far left, is a Cru staff kid whose parents and grandparents are coworkers and friends of ours. He came to the U.S. to start college after growing up in Hungary. We’re so glad to have him here this year. Please pray for his adjustment to college and the U.S.

These students with a variety of skills and abilities (music, dance, film, spoken word and more) will work together to create resource tools – from scratch – to help start spiritual conversations about Jesus. Their projects could be anything from a short film or online video to a new and engaging outreach strategy. In fact, Karl, Anja and I worked past midnight yesterday being a part of a video shoot for one of the projects.

Over the next few weeks they will continue brainstorming sessions, Bible study, individual discipleship, communication training, fellowship, outreach opportunities and lots of time to work together on their projects. Please pray for the students and the Keynote staff who are shepherding their hearts and giving leadership to the creative process.

International Communication Training

A few days ago, coworkers Denise DiSarro and Dana Russo will headed to Bulgaria to assist with an English camp hosted by Campus Crusade for Christ. During the camp the students attending (likely unbelievers) will go through our communication training taught by Bulgarian staff members with coaching from Dana and Denise. Dana will teach our story curriculum which has been adapted for a secular audience. We look forward to what God will do in the hearts of the attendees.

We’ll Be in Watertown!

Thanks to a family gathering, all three generations of Bucks will be in the Watertown-Clayton area for a couple days. We will be at Parkside Bible Church Sunday morning August 3 and my parents and we would love to see you there.