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!

Digital Missionaries!

Jesus_Film_Media_App_250In the past few months, we’ve had the privilege of giving missions updates at Pine Grove Church in Bowmansville, PA, and at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, FL. And this weekend is our annual Missions Conference at Christ Community Church in Carmel, IN. Liesl will be reading some scripture in German and helping the kids understand what it means to be a missionary wherever you are.

We’re excited about the tools that Cru has been developing to help Christians everywhere share the gospel. One that keeps getting better is the Jesus Film Media app. It contains:

  1. The Jesus Film (script completely from the book of Luke) in 1356 languages – and increasing all the time!
  2. Magdalena, the life of Jesus as seen through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, in 130 languages
  3. The Story of Jesus for Children in 158 languages
  4. Many other training and conversation-starting films

Here’s a story that was reported to us about God using this app to bring glory to Himself:

“On weekends, I drive to Washington, D.C., to see my mom, who is 93 and lives in a senior care facility,” says a private school teacher near the Capital. “[My mom] has an aide to help her whose name is Matilda—a woman from Sierra Leone who was raised a Muslim.”

“Recently, I shared my new JESUS Film Media app on my mobile phone with Matilda. She was excited to see her language as a choice to see the evangelistic film, so I sent the link to her.
Matilda insisted that Hannah, another facility aide, would want to see the film, too.

“I found Hannah, and she was thrilled to see her own language from Eritrea available. She is a Christian and couldn’t wait to send it to her daughter who doesn’t know the Lord. She felt that watching the movie in their native tongue might answer some of her daughter’s questions.

“Then I received a call that Hannah and Matilda were sharing the app with all the other aides from various countries; because of them, it has become the talk of the care center! This is how easy it is to be a digital missionary.”

Wherever we are, we’re representing Christ. Now you can share the gospel with those around you who don’t have English as their heart language – you can be a digital missionary! You’ll find this app and GodTools in the Apple and Google app stores.