Good Times in San Diego

Since 1995, we’ve spent the week after Christmas in San Diego for our annual Winter Conference. This year, we spent an additional weekend in San Diego for our Epic conference.

Combined, over 1000 students were exposed to intimate worship, challenging messages and an opportunity to surrender their hearts more fully to God’s purposes in their lives.

SDWC-Say

At the Epic Conference over MLK weekend, we had an opportunity to meet several student leaders from the University of Arizona. It was exciting to hear their story of how the Lord had been working in their own lives to prompt them to start Epic. It was encouraging to hear them share how 40 students had shown up at their first weekly meeting just a week or so before.

Praise God for how he works in students’ lives at these conferences.

To read these stories through our newsletter, the Lowedown, click here.UA-Epic

IMPACT at Long Beach State University

Our Impact Launch Table at Long Beach State
Our Impact Launch Table at Long Beach State

At this time last year, we had no Impact ministries in our region. By the end of last year, we had one new Impact ministry at UC Santa Barbara.

For the last couple of years, we have desired to start an IMPACT ministry at Long Beach State. This past October, we went to Long Beach State with the hopes of finding at least one student who would want to be a part of an IMPACT movement.

Read the latest Lowedown to find out how God moved on campus and what is happening now.

Making an Impact on Campus

Today, about 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.

DSC_1014
Jen (middle) with staff friends Julie and Faye

As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.

Amazingly, 23 students showed up to our information meeting to find out about Impact. Many others expressed interest in coming to the meeting but were unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.

What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!

Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.

From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian
From Left to Right: Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian

Please pray for these 4 students (Spencer, Liz, Amethyst and Brian). Pray that they would be able to coordinate another meeting with other interested students to move forward in getting Impact chartered at Long Beach State.

Pray for the other students who have expressed an interest to get involved.

Pray that we would see several of these students attend our Impact conference in New Orleans this December. Pray that finances would not be an issue.

Thanks for praying for us and please continue to pray!

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.

Dear Friends,
I want to thank you for praying for us today. We’re very grateful for you and your prayers. They certainly made a difference today.
As we stepped on campus today, we had no idea what was in store and we simply hoped that by the end of the day, we would have surfaced 1 or 2 students who would be interested in starting Impact at Long Beach State.
About 15 of us spread out all over campus initiating with hundreds of students, sharing with them the vision of Impact and inviting them to come to an informational meeting later in the day.
Amazingly, 23 students showed up to find out about Impact, with many others expressing interest but unable to attend the meeting because of a conflict in their schedule.
What was most incredible to me about this day compared to other events we’ve done, is that after we finished with the “official” program, about 8 students stuck around and continued to ask questions (“tell us more about Impact”, “what is it about?”, “how can we get it going?”, “what do we do?”). I’ve never seen as many students with a genuine interest. After a while, 4 of the students left and there were still 4 remaining students who continued to engage with us. I finally said, “you’ve all been here for a while asking questions about Impact. It seems like you’re really interested. Would you 4 be willing to help get this group started on this campus?” They all said yes!
Those of us who were there until the end were amazed at the turnout and the response. Several students commented on the need for Impact. One student remarked on how he had gone been going to a general Christian ministry and it was awkward at first because he’s a black student and the group is not culturally black. He went to their Fall retreat and that helped it to be less awkward but he said that his friends would not go to that group with him. He sees the need for a group that would be attractive to those who are culturally black.
Please pray for these 4 st

Launching Full Swing into the Fall

Fall is the busiest time of year for our ministry. Our campuses spend an incredible amount of energy reaching out to new students and getting our message out. Most campuses attempt to engage with thousands of students during the first week, inviting them to fill out spiritual interest questionnaires. They then spend the next 6-8 weeks following up on new people and getting small groups up and running. It’s almost like a Greek Rush event that lasts for half of the first term, culminating with their Fall retreat.

UCI Welcome Week
Me and Epic Volunteer Aaron before heading out to engage new students with spiritual interest questionnaires

The Lord is doing some exciting things throughout the Pacific Southwest Region. Read the latest Lowedown to hear some updates of what the Lord is doing in many of our ministries this fall.

Reflecting on 20 Years of Ministry

It’s hard for me to believe, but this summer marks 20 years that I (Jen) have been on staff with Cru. Wow! Am I really that old? As I reflect back, there are so many memories but for me, my job is all about people.

My first campus assignment was The University of Arizona. It was a challenging time at first. I was a new staff person trying to learn my job. I was also far away from home. Things weren’t familiar. But then I started a bible study and I had the chance to influence so many women to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Erin now lives in Vermont with her husband Charlie and their 2 daughters
Erin was a student leader in Jen’s Bible Study at the University of Arizona. Erin now lives in Vermont with her husband Charlie and 2 daughters

Erin was one of those women in my study. I saw her take new steps of faith to go on summer missions projects. I loved watching her grow in her faith, and her maturity. Erin is now married to a great guy named Charlie whom Dave discipled. Together, they have two beautiful girls and pastor a church in Vermont. Erin is one of the reasons I keep pressing on, doing my job. It’s all about people, and their lives being transformed.

A few years later, when Dave and I moved to Davis, I was pretty fearful about starting a new ministry. Dave has always been the pioneer while I’m more of a shepherd who loves spending personal time with others and helping them grow in their faith.

My first day on campus we were doing some spiritual interest questionnaires, and the first student I approached was a freshman named Tricia. She filled out the questionnaire, we connected, and she got involved with Cru.

As I look back, I am so grateful for those handful of students who got involved in our little group that started meeting initially in our apartment! Those students must have thought we were a little sketchy…but they stuck around and we saw God do amazing things at Davis. Now, Tricia is married and on staff with Cru, leading our Epic ministry in the South Los Angeles Basin. She is a new mom, and I have loved to see her grow.

Tricia was one of the first students to get involved in Cru when we started it at UC Davis
Tricia was one of the first students to get involved in Cru when we started at UC Davis

Lately I’ve been thinking about what a privilege it’s been to raise Jacob and Joshua while working with Cru. They’ve been surrounded by Godly young men and women who’ve modeled walking with God to them.

And I love getting the opportunity to work with Dave. It is fun and rewarding to work through new challenges in ministry with Dave. Together we are tackling some pretty significant challenges in the campus ministry. With our different skill-sets it has been exciting to work together to complement each other and to see progress in our mission of reaching every student with the message of the gospel.

I’m now a part of a leadership program that has been challenging and stretching for me. I get the chance to be around global leaders of Cru who are building into me to help me be a better leader and follower of Christ.

The research project I’m working on is helping to launch a brand new ministry to 18-29 year olds in the cities. This is been very eye-opening, and has helped me to see the need to be relevant and approachable to this generation. They are the most technologically connected, but also the most lonely. What an incredible opportunity we have to share God’s love to this generation that is looking for deep and meaningful connection.

Thank you to all of you who have partnered with us over the past 20 years. It is truly a privilege to be able to serve God and partner with people who want to see students reached with God’s love. After 20 years with Cru, there still is no other job that I’d rather be doing.

I love getting the chance to help people look at life from at eternal perspective, to help them meet God, begin a relationship with Him, and grow in that relationship. The work is challenging, but incredibly rewarding, all at the same time.

Praise the Lord for what He has done! I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me in the next 20 years!

To read the pdf version of the letter, click here!

2012 Celebration Video

Each year, at our National Leadership Conference, we pause to acknowledge God’s faithfulness in bringing more students and faculty into his kingdom! Check out this video, which celebrates the good things He has done in 2011 through the campus ministry of Cru.

19 Years and Counting!

Dave-Jen-Iris
On Mother’s Day, we celebrated by visiting Hollywood. On our anniversary, we celebrated by attending the Cirque du Soleil Iris show at the Kodak theater in downtown Los Angeles.
Dave-Dodgers-Hollywood
Dave finds the Hollywood Star on the Walk of Fame for the greatest baseball team of all-time, the Los Angeles Dodgers!

Last week was a week of celebration. On consecutive days, we celebrated Mother’s Day, Jacob and Joshua’s 11th birthday, and our 19th anniversary together.

While Jen and I were driving to downtown L.A. for dinner and an engagement with Cirque du Soleil, we spent time reminiscing and reflecting on our 19 years of marriage. Here are a few of our most vivid memories:

 

1993 – getting married in Fresno and honeymooning at DisneyWorld.

1994 – moving to Tucson. Our Ryder truck breaking down in the Mojave desert on Hwy 395.

1995 – driving from Fresno to Ocean City, New Jersey for our summer mission project. Staying in St. Louis to celebrate our anniversary.

1996 – Moving back to Fresno to be staff members at Fresno State.

1997 – spending the summer in Colorado taking Bible classes.

1998 – moving to Davis to become new campus leaders. Summer training in Myrtle Beach followed by vacation in New York and D.C.

1999 – beginning to explore the adoption process. Davis ministry continues to grow.

2000 – buying our first home in Davis – a real fixer upper! A summer in Ocean City, New Jersey.

2001 – Jacob and Joshua arrive. Crazy summer leading Lake Tahoe summer project

2002 – Jacob & Joshua’s one year birthday. Impact and Bridges start at Davis. First students begin to graduate and go to the world as missionaries

2003 – Epic launched at Davis

2004 – Destino starts at UC Davis

2005 – PreSchool for Jacob and Joshua. Summer leading the Newport Beach Summer Project

2006 – Driving to Seattle and British Columbia for a wedding and vacation. Re-starting the ministry at Sac State

2007 – Summer in Colorado. Family trips to Kansas and Hawaii. Remodeling and Renovating our house in Davis.

2008 – God’s call to Southern California. Selling our house and moving to Mission Viejo. Spending the summer overseas.

2009 – Season passes to Disneyland. Summer trips to Davis, Colorado and Zion National Park.

2010 – Summer trip to San Jose, Destino team started in Long Beach.

2011 – Summer in Colorado. Bathroom leak and bathroom remodel.

2012 – New ministries established in San Jose (Destino), Chico (Bridges), Santa Barbara (Impact), Fullerton (Epic) and San Luis Obispo (Destino).

 

Thanks for your prayers and partnership which has helped us experience 19 amazing years of life and ministry together!

For a pdf version of The Lowedown, click here!

How Sure are You?

Aaron, Chris, Dave, JJ and Sam

“…how sure are you that you would make it into heaven and live with God for eternity?” His answer surprised me.

“To be honest, I don’t think I would make it”, he said. “I have done some really bad things and I’ll have to do a lot of good things to make up for all the bad things I’ve done.”

Last month, I had the opportunity to help coach and train some of our new staff in evangelism. Read the latest Lowedown to hear about a gospel conversation we had with Jose, a student at UC San Diego.