The adventure of life after college and doing full time ministry. I had been involved with Cru (the US name for Campus Crusade for Christ) throughout college in a variety of ways. I love seeing God work to bring people to himself, build them up in their faith, and sending them out to tell others about the redeeming love and abundant life He offers.
Now I'm new staff with Cru! I love what I get to do - invest in people and eternity. I also like technology, outdoor sports, movies and reading quality books.
(You know how sometimes you get pumped and write something, but never finish it because well, life happens? I started this post on April 28th, editing it to post it now. If you read some anachronisms…whoops. I have a degree in engineering. The only writing class I took in college had more to do with memos and showing up to interviews with good hygiene than producing quality literature.)
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There are so many things I am pumped to be a part of in this new campus assignment. I love my staff team. They are so fun, caring, and easy going. I’ve felt so included and a part of their team, even while for all intents and purposes I wasn’t with them this past year. I got to spend some time at the beach with them and a few students a couple fridays before I ended up reporting to campus. They celebrate and empathize so well. Every time my phone would ring they would be just as excited as I was, “It could be the rest of your support!” “Was that your summer assignment?” Even when we were stressed out, stuck in traffic on the way home, they keep their cool. I’m stoked to learn from them, grow with them, and take steps of faith to see lost college students be transformed by a relationship with Jesus alongside them.
One of those calls on the beach was about my summer assignment. It was Scott who called, a regional staff guy and the one who a little over a year ago called to tell me that Cru was sending me to my top preference of teams - the North OC/Long Beach team. So here I was again, nervously anticipating a call from Scott. (I wonder if he always braces himself for tears when calling staff to share with them their New Staff placements and summer assignments?)
My First Taste of Operations - East Asia 2011
To give some background, the summer of 2011 I co-led a large team (24 students, 4 staff, and two teenage staff kids) to East Asia for six weeks. Although we had a student volunteer handling our “in the field” operations, before the summer project started I handled our budget and worked with Cru Global Missions leadership to figure out our finances and logistics.
It can be easy to feel like working on Excel spreadsheets, emailing with the travel agent, and nagging - I mean coaching :) - students through the support raising process is the unspiritual side of leading a team. But God was so faithful to show me what a unique position to see the Spirit move to shape circumstances to give room for the Lord to work in the lives of our students, to then impact the lives of lost students in another country.
I got to pray with my co-leader about our values for how we would allocate the funds God would raise to provide for our needs to get to East Asia. I got to see the idol of money get killed in our hearts (“Do we really need to visit that big city and the other one?” “How much money is too much or too little for our weekly food budget?”), in our students’ hearts as they saw the joyful generosity of Christians giving towards their mission trip, and through the steps of faith our staff took to be able to bring their two youngest sons on a summer project with them.
Then I got to see God raise our set budget - $140,000! - bringing in the last $16,000 during the four day briefing conference before we got on the plane! (I cried when I gave our team the good news that everyone was getting on the plane. I’m not a cryer.)
Seeing God bring in that kind of cash in about three months changes you. Then seeing Him raise your entire yearly goal (because I was part time staff) in three days. Well, you can’t go back to denying His provision.
I saw how He guided decisions about different line items on our budget to be how He would provide on the worst day. The day the team missed it’s in country flight because I forgot that the travel agent changed the time from 10am to 8am. (Sorry team, I never admitted until recently that missing our flight was COMPLETELY my fault. It was a rough summer and I couldn’t bear more public failure. I was very sleep deprived that entire six weeks.)
That day I saw that the conviction I had to set aside enough money for our team to get sweatshirts to remember our summer by, instead of t-shirts, just in case something happened and we needed extra cash, we spent on buying new plane tickets for those 31 people.
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That summer I got to see that operations is a spiritual service, a way that God uses the minds He’s given us to create opportunities to trust Him to provide and also to carefully steward the resources He’s given to further the Great Commission. It can be one way to live differently than the culture around us, instead of figuring out how to hoard the money in our budgets, we figure out ways to bless others with it.
If I had to choose between being on campus, facing rejection and having spiritual conversations with college students all day, and working on a budget all day - this extrovert would choose the spiritual conversations and rejections any day. I do love this assignment gives me space to transition more to life in Orange County. (Life here has been a difficult culture shock when compared to what my life was like in small town San Luis Obispo.) It’s fun for me to be able to bless others in this role by living in the details so they can focus on the big picture. I get front row seats to seeing God’s character of faithfulness in the details.
And I still get to do what I love most as a side-gig in this role, equipping college students to connect lost people to Jesus in a relevant and effective way.