Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New staff and interns with Campus Crusade must go through a 2-year training process in order to become full staff. Therefore, one morning a week, I can be found in Remedy coffee for several hours reading articles and books, journaling, listening to podcasts, etc. as part of my training. About half of the training is study, and half is experience (discussing a certain topic with a student, taking a student through training materials, making contacts on a new area of campus, etc.) Its actually really practical and useful, as much as we sometimes get frustrated with it :)

So as part of my training, I was supposed to write my testimony in a way that can be communicated in about 3 minutes. That's really hard to do, by the way, but now that its done, I'm beginning to see how very useful it is! The simple truths of the gospel (we use the basic 4 spiritual laws, if you know what that is) are included in the testimony, and therefore, you can actually share the gospel of Christ in situations where you might not have a lot of time - like chatting with someone while standing in line at the grocery store! It is also the most natural way to share with people, because you're just telling them your own experience and something that is important to you.

One of my checkpoints in training is to post my testimony online somewhere, and receive feedback from people. So, here it is below, and I really would love your feedback!

My Story

God is good. What do you think when you hear that phrase? Does your heart readily agree? Do you cringe? Do you laugh? Does anger well up inside?

I think a lot of people struggle with the idea that God is good. Some spend their whole lives wrapped up in a lie - speaking words of faith and conviction, while they harbor anger at, and fear of, God on the inside. Others go into open rebellion, cursing His name and doing all that they can to rebel against His character and Law. Still others decide to simply deny His existence, rather than deal with their disappointment with Him and hurt over what He has ordained for their lives.

I have definitely struggled with whether I really believed that God was good, cared about me, and was trustworthy. My senior year of college, especially, was a really hard time when I was dealing with a lot of doubts about God and my faith. I have believed in God since I was very young. My parents are Christians, so I grew up going to church and being taught about God, the Bible, Jesus, etc. I knew that God created me, loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me. I also knew that I had done wrong things that were against God’s good laws and standards for living, and because God is holy and perfect, those wrong things made me dirty and separated me from Him for eternity. But I was taught that God Himself, in the form of a man named Jesus, came to Earth, lived the perfect life that I couldn’t live, and then died – taking my punishment on Himself, so that the way would be clear for me to have a relationship with God. When I was nine years old, I decided that I wanted that personal relationship with God. I told Him that I needed to be clean because of my sin, that I believed that Jesus had paid my penalty and that I was trusting Him to cleanse me and rescue me from my own sin and death. I asked Him to come into my life and take control of it, deciding that I would follow and trust Him.

The thing about trusting God is that you have to do it when things are dark and scary and painful, as well as when they’re great. My senior year of college was a very dark time for me. I experienced the loss of a significant relationship in my life, and for the first time, really had to walk through the valley of grief. I was hurt and angry and afraid, and began to doubt many things about God and my faith. Was God really good? Did He even care about me? Was I expendable to Him? Was I somehow messing up my entire life? Was I going to walk away from God? I was afraid of God, and even more afraid of walking away from my faith – I had made it the foundation of my life, and now I was questioning the validity and trustworthiness of that foundation. I entered into months of depression driven by grief and fear.

I wanted so badly to believe with confidence that God is good, that He loves me intimately and cares about all of the details of my life, that He is patient and will never give up on me, but those were the very things that I was doubting, and I didn’t know how to escape those doubts. Then one day a ray of light burst through the very dark clouds in my life. I was laying in bed one morning, literally trying to work up the will to get up and do something – anything – to engage with life. All of a sudden God spoke these words into my mind: “Remember the little girl?” It really took me off guard, and for a second I had no idea what He was talking about, but then a memory rushed to my mind of someone telling me the story of a little girl who was adopted. For months her parents would find rotting and moldy food hidden all over her room, because she was so afraid that she would not be fed. Her father described how painful and frustrating it was to watch his daughter continue to live in fear, regardless of how many times he told her that she was safe now, would always have enough food and would always be loved and taken care of. It was a year before that little girl stopped hiding food and trusted the love of her father.

All of that story flashed into my mind in an instant, and then the Lord spoke again into my heart and mind, saying: “You are that little girl. You’re so scared right now, and you don’t trust Me to take care of you and do what’s best for you, but that’s okay, because I am that father too. He was hurt and frustrated that his little girl took so long to trust Him, but that had no effect on His love for her. He never stopped loving her and taking care of her, and he would wait as long as it took for her to trust His love. It’s okay that you need time and aren’t perfect in this, I’m your father. I love you, and I’ll wait for you.”

Did I instantly trust Him? No. But I had hope. I knew that He loved me. I saw that He is personal and intimate and patient. And looking back, this was an essential turning point in my relationship with the Lord. I needed to see, practically, in my life that He is faithful. I needed to know Him as the God who is incredibly personal, who cares for me with unwavering attention and concern. And it was because of walking through such a dark time in my life that I was able to see and believe His goodness and love. That is the definition of a faithful God – who takes brokenness, pain, and despair, and from that brings newness, wholeness, hope and joy. He is my foundation – one that is solid and trustworthy, and I can say with confidence, “God is so very good.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

CCC Chilean Mine Involvement

Every month I receive a special staff newsletter from Campus Crusade for Christ (pretty official huh?!), and the last one had an article by Christian Maureira, Campus Crusade National Director of Chile, that I found interesting/inspiring/exciting/etc., and so I shall now share a section of it with all of you.

"At Campus Crusade, God guided us to think about how we could help these men and this was how we took initiative to contact some churches in the north, leaders and authorities about sending the JESUS audio (from the JESUS film) into the mine...God in His sovereignty provided that we were able to gain contact with the daughter and the brother of one of the three Christians who were trapped there.
During several weeks, I was in contact with them, and I explored the possibility of sending them audio material. Finally, I travelled to the mine with 33 MP3's containing the JESUS audio version and an ample portion of the Bible. I was there for two days, and we sent the MP3's throught each family member who was there.
Jose Samuel, my contact in the mine is an extraordinary man who has really surprised me. The psychologists, who are giving help from the surface, have recognized that he has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support for the rest of his co-workers.
He sent me a letter that grabbed my attention for his incredible clarity of thought. For example, some parts of the letter are:

- 'I want to express my appreciation for this great blessing for me and my co-workers, it will be very good for our edification.' (He is talking about the MP3's)

- 'I am well because Christ lives in me.'

- 'We have prayer services at 12 (noon) and 6 p.m.'

- 'I ask all of you for prayer not only for us here, but for all the lost people in the world.'

At the end of his letter he signed off with Psalm 95:4: 'In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.'

Let's continue to pray for the salvation of these souls. Thanks for being a part of this."

What amazing evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer! This man could have been depressed, fearful, doubting God, etc. But instead, He showed great confidence in his Lord, who, even while they were in that mine, was holding the depth of the earth in His hand. He knows that He belongs to God and is held by Him no matter what, and because of that security, his primary concern is that his coworkers and all of the people of the earth will have that same security!

I'm pretty thankful to be working for an organization that is seeking and open to the Lord's will in how He wants to use us in any and all situations - even in the collapse of a Chilean mine. So there you go, my cool story for the day. Enjoy your Monday evening!

Monday, November 1, 2010


It's hard to believe that we only have a few weeks to wrap up the semester, but its true! I had forgotten a bit what college life is like - short but intense semesters. It leave us as a staff team trying to cram all sorts of events, meetings, one-on-one time with students into a very short amount of time, in which students are super busy with school, social lives, weekends home with family, etc. Its definitely a challenge, but also lots of fun!

The next few weeks will be pretty busy, but I'm excited about what we have coming up. On Wednesday we are holding an outreach on campus called iCare. We will have couches out in a prominent location on campus, with free hot chocolate and apple cider, and people ready to sit down on the couches and simply talk about life. It seems like people wouldn't want to sit down and talk with perfect strangers about their lives, but you would be surprised how many people are willing to open up, and this is the sort of event that actually appeals to many college students - just random and weird enough to make them want to participate (plus free food always draws a crowd!) We are hoping to engage people in spiritual conversations, and it should be really cool to be able to just sit down with people on campus and talk about issues, thoughts, experiences that are important to them.

We just had a fantastic Halloween party this past weekend. Our students are always looking for an opportunity to dance, so we called it Rave-o-Ween, gave out glow sticks, got some colored lights and strobe lights, and they danced the night away! We had some great costumes, great food, and great times with great people! Top costumes of the night: a guy dressed up as Madea from the Tyler Perry movies, a group of students dressed up as Toy Story characters, a girl dressed as Sarah Palin, and a guy student who went as our campus director of Crusade, Britton.

In two weeks we will be holding a Fall Carnival on campus in place of our regular weekly meeting. Its a great way to meet new people who aren't involved in Crusade because in order to get tickets to participate in the different carnival booths, students fill out an information card. Then we have their contact information and can do follow-up phone calls and meetings with them individually. Also, it'll be lots of fun - complete with a Cake Walk, balloon-dart game, football toss, and Pie the Staff in the Face booth! Fun times will be had by all.

I've got a pretty regular group of freshman girls who are coming to my Bible Study now, which is exciting because I am beginning to meet one-on-one with them regularly, and figure out how to best disciple each of them. They just held an outreach event for the girls in their dorm where they handed out candy to all 400 of the girls in Morrill. We had encouraging notes in the baggies, but had to remove them because the Resident Hall Director saw it as soliciting. Our prayer is that the girls will hear that the Morrill Crusade girls were the ones who gave out the candy by word-of-mouth, and hopefully that will begin good relationships with the girls in the dorm. I was really proud of how my girls took ownership of the outreach, and I think it helped to bind them closer together as a group as well.

So that's whats going on in the next couple of weeks...

And now, lovely autumn thoughts to leave you with...

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." ~George Eliot

"October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter." ~Nova Bair