The Thanksgiving Tree

A picture of our Thanksgiving tree on our Kitchen counter
A picture of our Thanksgiving tree on our Kitchen counter

This November, Jen initiated a new tradition in our house. We call it the thanksgiving
tree. It’s a pretty simple idea. A handful of long, slim branches placed in a vase with dozens of cutout paper leaves attached with ribbons. Every night at dinner, one of us would pull a paper leaf off the tree and read a Bible verse that was printed on it related to giving thanks. We would then go around the table and share something we were thankful for.

Since we agreed not to repeat thoughts from previous days, it was a great opportunity to
expand our hearts and think about blessings beyond the biggies like my home, my family
and the food on the table.

Last week, Jen and I attended our staff conference to say goodbye to the friends and colleagues we have worked with for the past 25 years. It was a bittersweet moment to share our vision with them concerning our new direction and also brought a moment of finality to our 25 years of ministering to college students. We were truly thankful.

In the midst of saying goodbye, we received an enormous amount of encouragement and words of thanks and gratitude for our years of service and the impact we’ve been blessed to make in the lives of students and staff in our region.

Below are a few notes that encouraged us, and hopefully will encourage you as well.
As we read through all the notes that were given to us, we were particularly encouraged to hear about the indirect impact we have made in the lives of people we have never met.

Like us, you may not directly know all of the people whose lives have been impacted
through your partnership, but your impact is real nonetheless.

As November ends and the Thanksgiving season is officially
behind us, we are incredibly thankful for you, our ministry partners.
Because of your prayers and generous giving, we are able to
influence many lives for the sake of Christ!

Chris Warren is a graduate of UC Davis where he was involved with Cru for 4 years. Chris now serves as the director of Cru at the University of Arizona.

“Dear Dave & Jen,

I want to thank you two so much as you’ve both significantly influenced me. Your faithfulness has led us to where we are today. So thank you!”

– Chris Warren is a graduate of UC Davis where he was involved with Cru for 4 years. Chris now serves as the director of Cru at the University of Arizona.

“Dear Dave & Jen – You guys rock! It’s a privilege to labor alongside such faithful people and to see you continue following Jesus wherever He takes you. As someone who found Jesus and grew up in faith at Davis when you were leading there, I can never repay you for the change in my life (Jesus can, though, so stay tuned for that). You make such a difference in our world!”

– Beth Sekishiro is a UC Davis graduate and now serves on staff with Cru at Cal Poly, Pomona.

Lucas Mathews“Dave & Jen – I’ve never met you but I am a UC Davis grad. I understand that you started the movement at Davis. I wanted to thank you because through that movement I came to know Jesus and now I am interning with Cru at UC Davis. None of that would have happened without your vision and passion to reach my campus. God Bless!”

– Lucas Mathews came to know Christ at UC Davis through Cru and is now serving as an intern with Cru.

Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown.


Communicating a “Boundless” gospel

David speaking at our San Diego Winter Conference

The spotlight blinded me as I stood before 1000 students and staff who were gathered together for our biggest event of the year – our San Diego Winter Conference. I had just been introduced by one of our former students, who was serving as the MC for the conference.

Read the latest “Lowedown” here.

An Epic Fall Semester!

Preparing for the Epic Ministry Day at Cal State Fullerton

One of the exciting parts of our jobs is helping our staff step out in faith to start new ministries in ethnic contexts. This fall, we’ve seen new Destino ministries started at San Jose State and the University of Arizona.

We’ve seen a new Impact ministry (African American students) started at UC Santa Barbara as well as a Bridges Ministry (International students) at Chico State. But two of the most exciting ministry launches both include Epic (our ministry to Asian American students).

Find out more in the latest Lowedown!

Experiencing the Power of Prayer

Joel Silva
Joel, a first year intern, is our ONLY Latino staff person in Los Angeles. Please pray for him and our entire Destino team.

Over the summer, I had the chance to coach Joel as he raised funds to join our Long Beach Destino team as an intern. It was fun to see Joel take steps of faith to see God provide in huge ways. Joel finished his fund-raising and reported in time to start the fall. It’s exciting to see the impact Joel is having as the ONLY Latino guy who is on the team.

A few weeks ago, before heading to campus for the day, Joel prayed, “Lord, save someone today. Let me see and guide someone from death to life.”

Later that morning, Joel found himself talking to Jamie, a student he had met and talked with briefly just a few days before. Moments into the conversation, Joel decided to bring up God. In what turned out to be a 2 hour conversation, Joel was able to engage Jamie regarding his past and his current beliefs in God. Joel was able to share the gospel and though Jamie thought he knew God, it turns out that he never really heard and understood the message of Christ before.

Jamie opened up about his desire to know God and trust in something greater than himself to satisfy his emptiness. As Joel shared about the great love God has for him, tears welled up in Jamie’s eyes and he could not speak. Obviously God was working in Jamie’s heart.

In that moment, as he saw Jamie move from death to life, Joel remembered the prayer he had prayed that morning.

Thank you for your prayers for us. Because of your prayers and partnership, many lives, like Joel’s and Jamie’s are being changed for Christ’s sake!

Click here to download a pdf version of our newsletter!

Destino Trek Transformation

Last summer, a student named Elda attended our “Destino Trek” project in San Antonio. Through that experience, Elda received vision and training to start Destino on her own campus at Chico State.

Elda is our Destino student leader at Chico State.
Elda is our Destino student leader at Chico State.

A few weeks ago, I received an email about Samira, another Chico State student whose life has been impacted by being involved in Destino. Here is Samira’s story, as told by one of the Destino Trek staff:

It was midnight. I got the short straw at our staff meeting and so my job was to drive to the Austin airport and pick up a student arriving a day early for “Destino Trek,” an intensive leadership training week we do each year in central Texas.

Samira (Sahmeer-ah) from Chico State was waiting for her luggage when I met her at the carousel in baggage claim. As we made the one hour ride back to where we were hosting the training, I found out Samira was like most of our students—her parents are immigrants, she is the first in her family to go to college, Spanish is spoken at home but her English is really good, and she was a new Christian who wanted to grow and become more of a leader for Christ.

I hit the pillow hard that night and got up the next day to help Samira and sixteen other students (pictured below) from around the U.S. to pursue their goal of growing as spiritual leaders.

Samira is a Chico State student who attended the Destino Trek!
Samira is a Chico State student who attended the Destino Trek!

Each day we did some sort of physical challenge, a high ropes course or kayaking down the Brazos River. But we’d also train them in how to spend time with God, how to share their faith, how to grow in character, how to launch and build a Destino movement, etc.

After one morning of training on how to share your faith, we had an afternoon of outreach in the community. We all paired up to talk with people, and Samira shared her faith for the first time.

That night we came back to the ranch and had a time of telling each other what God did. Samira spoke up. She began to say that she was able to share with somebody. But then she stopped midway through the story and said, “Can I tell you in Spanish?” And the whole group spontaneously said things like, “Of course!” “This is Destino!” “We’re your familia!”

Samira then really lit up and, in Spanish, passionately told us how she led somebody to pray and receive Christ that afternoon. It was the 1000th moment I’ve had in the last two years with Destino, that I saw how much we need a ministry like this to win, build and send students like Samira.

Through your partnership, Destino movements are starting on campuses like Chico State through students like Elda. As a result, students like Samira are being reached and trained to influence others for Christ. Thank you for your partnership in reaching students and faculty from every culture on every campus for Christ! We are extremely grateful for you!

Click here to read the pdf version of The Lowedown!

Campus Crusade for Conferences?

Over 700 students worship at our annual Winter Conference in San Diego

Every time you turn around it seems like there’s another conference we’re attending. Our staff sometimes jokingly refer to our organization as Campus Crusade for Conferences.

So why are conferences so integral to what we do? Read the rest of the Lowedown to find out more.

Fall Highlights

Cross09 Pic
Staff reaching out to Latino students at Cal State Fullerton

The Fall was a busy season of ministry, filled with lots of unique opportunities. Read about two different ministry endeavors in the latest version of the Lowedown.