Cru15

moby-outside-1800moby-insidejoshua-ryan-butler-1000We’re back! Our time in Colorado was great, but it’s wonderful to be home.

Thank you for your prayers for our summer. Cru15, our national staff conference, was challenging and inspiring.

There were 4 emphases:
• Our continuing commitment to be people who share the good news
• Our movement toward ethnic diversity
• Moving forward in building partnerships and a partner-friendly organization
• Taking the good news beyond our borders to the people of the world

We were challenged by guest speakers like Joshua Ryan Butler, a pastor from Portland, Oregon. He taught us that when we partner with another ministry (or just another believer), we need to be willing to act as a sidekick, not the hero. We need to acknowledge that they have better ideas than we do.

Pastor Butler told the story of a man who wanted to confront the human trafficking happening in Portland. He recruited a bunch of guys to partner with the police department. They published their phone numbers as if they were teenaged girls, took the phone calls and texts from would-be exploiters, and confronted them with truth, resources, and a letter from the police telling them that they’d better stop what they’re doing. Another group that was studying trafficking in the US discovered a 58% drop in Portland that corresponds with this group’s efforts!

You can listen to Joshua Ryan Butler’s presentation here. While you’re there, feel free to click on the Video Content link and explore all of the other sessions from our conference.

Thanks again for your gifts and prayers that kept us going this summer! We were able to help keep the conference running smoothly and fix a lot of Cru computers and smartphones while we were there.

“Waves” video and discussion tool

“What does it take to break out of patterns of destruction?”

Our friends Zak and Becky Alwin perform in their original hip-hop style as “Rhymz Suhreal”. I’m excited that I got to help with the launching of their new web site at www.thebandRS.com. But I’m even more excited about their new music video “Waves”.

The video speaks about how we can get caught up in circular patterns of destruction that pull us back in like riptides in the ocean. It ends with Zak still in a hopeless state, but the Alwins have created a discussion guide that can be used to introduce people to Jesus, the “circle breaker”, who can set us free.

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Becky says, “Our hope is that after viewing the videos, the Spirit would move on hearts for those wanting to go deeper and seek answers on how to break free from their own circles and destructive patterns of living. We hope that people will utilize the tool we created in their small groups to start a dialogue and collective effort to seek freedom found through Christ.”

“We’ve already used it in Marion County jail and the discussion tool sparked and fueled meaningful conversations and we witnessed personal breakthroughs in the men who gave their lives to Christ. Other groups that could use this tool could include: counseling & recovery programs, college campuses, bible study groups for people new to the faith or seeking, and more.”

Check out the “Waves” video, the “Behind the Music” video, and the discussion guide at www.thebandRS.com (click on the 3 lines at the top left to open the menu).

Downloading the Holy Spirit?

everystudentEarlier this year we heard this encouraging story of how God used technology to reach someone in Hungary. Here it is in his own words…

My name is Balazs, I’m from Hungary, and I’d like to share my story of how I became a Christian.

One day last summer, I was at work and surfing the Internet. I saw a banner, saying “Six straightforward reasons to conclude that God exists.” It looked interesting, so I clicked on everystudent.hu.

I read the article, and it was very clear and very logical. I was thinking like “If I really click this link, Jesus will really come into my life? Does that mean that I’m – technically – downloading the Holy Spirit?”

That thought was hilarious. I wanted to test it. So I clicked. Needless to say, nothing happened. But there was a box where I could ask questions.

I had tons of questions. I started to correspond with a volunteer on the site. After a few months we met in person, along with her family, and we became friends. After a while, I ran out of questions. I accepted Jesus, not by clicking on a link, but by heart.

What has happened every since? God has made his presence known in my life in many, many ways. First and most importantly, the painful feeling of missing something in my life is gone. Now, I’m a volunteer on everystudent.hu myself. I’m answering questions for others.

If it wasn’t for the digital means, I probably wouldn’t be a Christian. I never really trusted religious people, but a website seemed harmless enough. I know that many people around my age (26) feel the same. Thanks for reading, God bless.

Marilyn Adamson, a fellow Cru missionary, started www.everystudent.com in the fall of 2000. Now it’s available in 40 languages, and God is using its various versions to draw people to Himself from every area of the world. It’s a privilege to have helped Marilyn in little ways over the years and to be serving with a ministry like Cru that is using digital technologies in life-changing ways.

Worship Team

April Update

Well, it took its time, but in Indiana, Spring has finally sprung! We just missed having daffodils on Easter, but it’s been beautiful. The mood of change suits how our lives have been shifting around, too.

Karl’s been kept busy working in lots of directions. The office rebuild is now done and the Campus Regional Team moved into our building March 26th, so he no longer has to pull cables through the floor and the walls on a daily basis anymore ☺.

While all that was happening, we were also working on developing new financial support before the official transfer to working for our new team, the Global Technology Office. I’m happy to say that we are almost there! Thank you to all of you, both faithful long time supporters and those who are brand new to our team! You all are the ones who make our service with Cru possible!

And now Karl is shifting gears to focusing on our time in Colorado. As the Tech Team leader for our Staff Conference Team, he’s busy spending time making sure all the tech supplies are purchased and shipped properly so that the moment the tech team arrives, they’ll be able to get the space set up and functional for the summer. We leave in exactly 1 month. I will be helping out with some childcare on the front end and assisting VIPs toward the end of the summer, and Anja, now 13, will be working some childcare gigs and playing even more with the teen track.

As for me, my old job with the Ops team ended when the two offices merged. One piece of my work literally left the office since it was a copy machine we wouldn’t be using anymore. Since we are merging two systems into one, there are lots of us having to relearn how to get the day-to-day stuff done. In light of that (and of us being gone all summer), I am temporarily assignment free. I’m waiting for the “dust to settle” and come August will see what gaps either team has and figure out where I’m needed.

In the meantime, having the two offices merged means I hear about twice as many volunteer needs for special events. For example, in the last month, Keynote hosted a Worship Arts Conference weekend. My job was to let 6 college guys into our house after midnight, and then to wash six sets of sheets the next day. Glamorous, I know, but it’s a great way to serve. We kept their costs way down, which made it possible for more to attend.

April 17 was the kickoff weekend for the Great Lakes Region Interns and STINTers (Short Term INTernational missionaries). They needed to get tons of materials from the office to the hotel, so this is where having a minivan comes in handy. We got everything loaded and unloaded and prepped to register 145 of them that afternoon. These students will be working for the next year on campuses all over the region and 9 separate global teams from Europe to Asia.

Most recently (and my personal favorite), we had Cru’s semiannual Day of Prayer on Tuesday, and I got to help lead worship! So fun working with this team!  (see picture at the top of this post)

Cru Worship Arts Conference

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On March 21 and 22, our office hosted Cru’s first ever Worship Arts Conference. These 22 students from Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan learned that successful worship leading depends on their character, skill, and dependence on God’s Spirit. Everyone had a blast, and Liesl and I got to help by giving 6 guys a place to sleep on Saturday night.

Faith, Prayers, and Motorbikes

To put a four-person staff team on each of the 50,000 college campuses around the world, we would need 200,000 campus staff. We must depend on the Lord for the wisdom and creative thinking needed to accomplish the mission He has given us.

One local team in Asia began doing a lot of creative thinking in the area of broadening their scope. Ben’s campus team discovered there were 67 universities in their city. Their hearts broke for all the unengaged students outside their current reach. So by faith, they broadened their scope.

The team went out and bought several motorbikes, and divided up the city: each team member took responsibility for around 10 campuses. They began zooming around town, exploring campuses, sharing the gospel, and praying the Lord would raise up key volunteers and movements on every campus.

By the end of their first year, they’d personally visited 55 campuses. They surfaced 24 key volunteers who began to share their faith and follow up others until nearly 180 students across the city were involved….and none of those 180 had ever met Ben or his team! The movements were truly student-led.

These are the people and projects that Liesl and I get to support with effective systems, and you are making it happen by standing with us!