“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” – Hebrews 11:13-16 & 39, 40
This verse in Hebrews is something I have been praying over daily as the new college year approaches. The last year or year and a half was frustrating and the truth is, it felt meaningless and empty in regards to ministry. We didn’t get anywhere with it. In fact, we moved backwards. Those who went before Caden & me on staff worked hard for years to get Cru to a size of about 30 students each week and now we aren’t entirely sure how many we have but we know its less than 10. I would feel defeated if it weren’t for these verses in Hebrews. My hope goes back into a God who has something better planned, regardless of the fruit I want to see in ministry. Though we slave for the Gospel, we may never reap the harvest (someone else may reap it after us) but it is not within the harvest where we find our treasure — the treasure is found within Christ alone. So as we prepare for another year of ministry, I look not to the promises but to the One who keeps the promise.
We have been quiet through the summer but I can tell you one thing: we have not been very still! It’s been a busy few months between life and ministry and I’m excited to share a few of the highlights as well as a glimpse forward to what the Fall 2021 semester will look like for us.
As most of you know, Caden and I have been working in ministry part time split between staff at our church (Grace Church Kutztown) and staff with Cru at Kutztown University. Although, sometimes we forget how new this transition is! I quit my full-time job in October 2020 and Caden quit his in February 2021. We are still aiming to move our way up to full time ministry positions and I’m sure you know the big hang up was trying to get our student loan debt out of the way. We have a big update for all you friends, since you have been praying over our debt with us. We are elated to announce that on August 12th at 11:30am, we officially became DEBT FREE. After four and a half years, we paid off 93 grand, through the abounding grace of God. We are still getting used to saying that and although we need to recover a little bit financially, we are planning so many next goals and steps we hope to take with this financial freedom we worked so hard towards! That is one (of many) answered prayers we’ve seen through this amazing partnership we have with each of you!
Looking towards the next semester, Freshmen move-in day is on August 28th and this year the campus is allowing clubs to help again. I cannot emphasize what a blessing and praise this is! If you don’t know much about Freshmen move-in day, Cru staff and students volunteer to help with moving in all the freshmen’s stuff to their dorms. This event creates the best setting to build the very first connections freshmen will have on campus which can have a lasting impression all semester. We will have “Discount Cards” to hand out by the thousands — these are cards we use that have Cru’s large group meeting information on one side and discounts to local, small businesses on Main Street that agreed to partner with us on the other side. It pulls together the campus and community and keeps Cru’s name circling. We are VERY excited to relaunch Cru by being able to help the campus on move-in day.
We are also hosting a student planning dinner at our house on Aug 29th. Six of our committed and maturing students will be helping us plan out 12 events (one event every day for the first 2 weeks of the semester). It will be a combination of outreach events (like standing at a table with free Cru merch and spiritual surveys) and community events (like lawn games, ice cream, or bon fire night).
Then, the first day of classes will start Aug 30th and we will be ready to meet so many students with the gospel we desperately need. We got the rest we needed after a really hard year and now more than ever we feel the pressing need to deliver Truth to lost and wandered image-bearers. The last update to leave you with, before adding all the fun photos of our summer, is to share from Lauren Ardle, incoming junior. She was our student who went on Summer Mission with Cru and has been rejuvenated in her excitement and passion to see the campus as her mission field.
My summer mission with Cru to Puerto Rico was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The main thing God taught me was that his plan is DEFINITELY ultimate. We had our plans change 2-3 times most days, but it always ended up better than we could have hoped for. For example, one day we were supposed to go work in a field in the morning, but our Ubers didn’t get us there on time (which ended up fine, because the guy we were working with was late too) and because of that we mentioned to the man we were working with that transportation was hard for us. Then, this man just gave us a van! We saved so much time and money with that van. I know it was God who used this man to bless us with a means of transportation in an even better way than we ever imagined. We were very blessed as a team and although everyone had very different personalities, I thought was impossible for nine people to get along so well, but we did (and our senses of humor played off each other to produce many moments of laughter). I personally was able to recognize some of my insecurities and start working on those, which will be a battle I continue to fight. I highly recommend Puerto Rico to anyone! The people are very hospitable there, and eating Puerto Rican food with people there filled not only our stomachs, but our hearts and souls too.
– Lauren Ardle, Junior
As soon as Lauren returned to the US from her trip, she sent this message:
“Hey guys! I just got back from my summer mission to Puerto Rico and I wanted to give you all a little encouragement! I saw God moving in a lot of ways in the island, in me, and within my team as we worked together and it was a huge encouragement to me after this past year with Covid deterring our Cru ministry, showing me a general view (because no Cru team is the same) of what Cru could look like on our campus. I’m super excited to get back in the fall and come alongside all of our to re-launch our ministry!”
- WE’RE DEBT-FREE FROM STUDENT LOANS
- We are able to help with Freshmen Move-in Day
- All the students are returning to campus giving us plenty of outreach opportunities again
- We have such an amazing staff team within Lehigh Valley Cru and at our Church. The difference a connected and God-honoring team makes in ministry is powerful.
- We lost a decent chunk of monthly support over the summer. Please pray that the Lord sends us new ministry partners! Please also prayerfully considering increasing your support or, if you are currently receiving this letter as a prayer partner, we are inviting you in to the opportunity to commit to a monthly giving amount by clicking on the link below.
- Pray for Freshmen Move-in Day — that we are able to make impactful and lasting connections with new students.
- Pray God sends us 8 new committed Freshmen students this semester.
- Pray frequently for us during the first 2 weeks of the semester as we hit the ground hard to relaunch at KU
Let us Know how we can pray for you!