God Is Moving On The Football Team

Chapel for the U of M football team

Chapel for the U of M football team

Four weeks ago I sat in on my first chapel meeting with the Gopher football team (pictured above). Each player was given a survey card so they could indicate their spiritual interest coming into the season and it also listed a few ways we could be a resource for them this year. Later that day as we gathered to look through the cards, we were blown away by what we saw.

Of the nearly 100 cards we received from the players, 90 of them indicated that they are interested spiritually! Many of those players circled that they wanted to know how to have a relationship with God, receive a free Bible, talk with someone about their faith questions or join a team Bible study. Our new co-worker and current football team Chaplain Luke Kaiser told us that this is by far the most spiritual interest he has seen on the team in his six years on campus!

Our goal is to meet with every player who is interested and listen to where they are at in their faith journey. We will get the opportunity to explain the good news of Jesus Christ to these young men, many of whom have never heard it in a clear and compelling way. Imagine the impact that these men could have on campus and around the world if they began to live for Jesus! Our relationship with the football team is also opening doors to other teams, which we pray would get the gospel into every corner of the athletic department.

Pray for Ari in South Asia

One of our student athletes from SCSU, Ari, is serving in South Asia this summer on a Cru Summer Project. If you would like to pray for Ari and her team, here is a list she came up with to pray specifically!

Ari, pictured above right, will be a senior this year at SCSU.

Ari, pictured above right, will be a senior this year at SCSU.

7 Days of Prayer for South Asia

1.Pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who currently live in South Asia. Parts of South Asia can be dangerous for people to proclaim that they are a Christian. Pray that they would be given safety, strength, and a passion to continue to share the gospel despite the challenges!

“Therefore let us do good to all people, especially those who belong in the family of believers.” –Galatians 6:10

2. Pray for guidance and for God’s love to soften the hearts of those in leadership and governing positions in South Asia. Although the government claims to have “religious freedom,” “anti-conversion laws” have been implemented in some areas making it difficult for an individual to become a Christian. Also, religious persecution by extremists is not managed well by the government systems.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” –Ephesians 6:12

3. Pray for the sick, elderly, poor, and orphaned children living in South Asia. South Asia has the world’s largest concern for poor people. More than 500 million people live on less than $1.25 a day.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!” –Matthew 5:3

4. Pray for those who face the horrors of slavery and sex trafficking. The realities of slavery and trafficking in South Asia are beyond heart breaking and overwhelming. Millions of women and children are being taken advantage of daily and they need our prayers!

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” –Isaiah 1:17

5. Pray that God will prepare and open the hearts of those we will serve and minister to in South Asia. Only around 1% of the specific population we will be ministering to is considered Christian. Pray that God will use us to reach people in the other 99%!

“For we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” –Ephesians 2:10

6. Pray that our team will be guided by the Holy Spirit so that lives may be made new by His love and in His name! Please pray that we will be attentive to the Holy Spirit and follow Him in and through everything we do.

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” –Romans 8:27

7. Pray that God would bless our team’s health and safety and give us protection from the devil. Also, pray that He will give us patience and guidance in any and every situation!

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” –Colossians 1:17

Blending Faith and Sports

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With the school year over and final exams completed, many college students will begin a summer job or take time off for vacation with family. However, this is not the case for most collegiate athletes! Summer can be one of the most rigorous times for athletes to train for their upcoming season.

We desire the athletes we work with to not just grow stronger physically during their summers, but spiritually as well. The best venue Athletes in Action has to offer for this growth is called the Ultimate Training Camp: an intense one week camp in Fort Collins, CO to tackle the issue of how to blend faith and sport together.

There are currently 150 collegiate athletes from around the country participating in this camp, being pushed to the limits physically and spiritually! 13 athletes from the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State are at UTC this week. Check out this video to get a sneak peak into what UTC is all about!

UTC Extended Trailer from jon demeter on Vimeo.

What God Has Called Us To: Reaching Athletes

You’ll know from reading our letters over the past few years that part of God’s plan for us through our ministry with Cru has been the privilege of working with athletes at St. Cloud State. What started in 2010 as a 1-2 hour/week step of faith, has now turned into a fulfilling passion for both of us. Through that initial step of faith, God has blown us away with His work at SCSU as the Athletes in Action ministry has grown to nearly 70 athletes involved in our five weekly Bible studies.

While we have enjoyed many parts of our job with Cru at SCSU, launching and leading this Athletes in Action ministry has far and above been the work we have loved the most. Most recently, it has been so much fun to see God use Kristina in some incredible ways to reach women’s athletes with the gospel and to disciple women to lead their teammates to the Lord. We are excited to announce that we’ve recently been asked to consider making a transition to work full-time with AIA. The new role will be to become a co-campus director with AIA at the University of Minnesota and work alongside another couple who started AIA there in 2007: Luke and Alisha Kaiser (pictured below). Check out the U of M AIA ministry here.

Luke, Alisha, Weston and Avery Kaiser AIA Staff at the U of M

Luke, Alisha, Weston and Avery Kaiser
AIA Staff at the U of M

With only a handful of staff members, they have been unable to reach the hundreds of U of M athletes on their own. One thing we are particularly excited about is that we will continue to lead the St. Cloud State AIA ministry and because of the close proximity we will even be able to make campus visits a couple times a month. As a ministry of Cru, the mission of AIA is one we can get excited about: Building spiritual movements everywhere through the platform of sport so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus. After much prayer, discernment, and wise counsel, this December we made the decision to accept this role and begin our work with AIA at the U of M in the fall! Our time with Cru at SCSU has now ended and we will soon move to the Twin Cities to begin raising the new financial support we need for this role and our baby girl! Please be praying for us, the SCSU AIA ministry and what God has planned for us in this new role serving full-time with Athletes in Action! If you have any questions, please email me at lucas.middendorf@cru.org.

Want to hear more about AIA? Check out this video:

8 Things Your Support of Cru has Accomplished this Fall

For those of you who support the ministry of Cru, God has done some pretty amazing things this fall. Thanks to your help, students and faculty all over the world are hearing the gospel and are experiencing life-change. Here are some of my favorite highlights of what God has done:

1. At the University of North Dakota, a school of only 10,000, 421 students come to Christ at a recent outreach called “The Maze.”

2. A student at Texas Tech has led ten of his friends to Christ in the first two months of the school year.

3. A communications professor at a large state school recently sent one of our Cru staff the following email: “Tomorrow 325 students will hear my testimony as part of my lecture in 3 sections of Comm 105, and you are a large part of the reason why.”

4. At the University of Florida, our staff member Scott was greeted by the smell of stale beer as he entered the KA fraternity to share with the 26 pledges. The comment card he received from a student named Evan was priceless: “I need some help. I’ve got a lot of questions. I have been trying to find God for the past couple months.” Evan is now a believer in Christ.

5. At the University of Illinois, the team is following up over 3,400 “One Minute Questionnaires.” Six students have already said “yes” to Jesus. Three of the six are from China.

6. Dartmouth collected over 800 contacts from students interested in either knowing more about Christ or getting involved in a Bible Study. This is exciting as the Northeast is known to have a difficult spiritual climate.

7. Cru at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo invited fraternities and sororities to be a part of packing meals for the organization “Feed My Starving Children”. In two days, they packed 200,232 meals that will help feed 550 children.

8. The team in Paris gave away 500 Bibles in two hours to students who came up and requested them. One professor even gave money for the team to go buy more Bibles.

God is doing something unique in this generation of students. Our desire is to take advantage of the time the Lord has given us and get the gospel message in as many hands as possible. Thank you for your generous support of the ministry which enables our us to give our full attention to this spiritual harvest.

10 Things Your Support Of Cru Has Accomplished This Year!

As you well know, our mission is that we would build spiritual movements everywhere so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus. For a real life example of how this happens, check out this awesome video!

For those of you who support the ministry of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ), God has done some pretty amazing things this year. It is really quite staggering. Thanks to your help, students and faculty all over the world are hearing the gospel and are experiencing life-change. Here are some of my favorite highlights of what God has done:

Your financial support has given 10 million people a chance to know God personally this past year. That works out to someone every three seconds hearing the gospel. (And this is just through the US Campus Ministry arm of Cru.)

Thanks to your help 119,000 people began a relationship with Christ – enough to fill two Astrodomes to max capacity.

At the University of Iowa, over 1,500 students crammed into a 1,000-seat venue to attend an outreach with an Illusionist called the “Maze.” Another 1,000 students were turned away due to maximum capacity.

The Portland Winter Conference changed the life of one young man, a former member of “The Century” club in his fraternity. His goal used to be to sleep with 100 women in a year. Changed by the power of the Gospel, he is now a student leader on his campus.

This winter around 3,000 students showed up for our Korean American Winter Conferences. Most people don’t even know that we have a ministry targeting Korean American students; much less that it is one of our largest ethnic student ministries. We also have ministries targeting African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, Native American, as well as international students.

- Thanks to your support nearly 1,000 international students from 57 nations attended our Vision 2011 Conference. Half of those students were not yet Christians.

The students who attended our Winter Conferences pledged over a quarter million dollars to missions for this coming year. Over $150,000 of that was given in cash during those conferences.

Your support has given 42,000 high school and middle school students an opportunity to know Christ, and 4,500 began a relationship with him. Did you know that over 70% of our high school and middle school ministries are run by volunteers?

More than 3,200 faculty and students went on summer mission trips this summer, investing their lives in others. Midshipmen at the Naval Academy went on mission projects to Haiti, Venezuela, and Kenya – even though they had less than one month off for the summer.

– This past year you have helped send and sustain 750 foreign missionaries to 35 nations around the world – many of whom are serving in the least evangelized parts of the world, such as the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

As I reflect on all that God has done through your support I am reminded of the passage in Ephesians that says it is purely by God’s grace that any of us know him. Paul goes on to say, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10). Thank you for the GOOD WORK you have been part of in reaching students and faculty for Christ around the world!

Grateful for this semester at SCSU

First of all, thank you for your partnership with us so that everyone would know someone who truly follows Jesus! Your gifts and prayers help us to be used by God at St. Cloud State University and around the world to reach students with the gospel. We hope you will be encouraged by watching this video from Cru on how your gifts are being used to change the world!

Campus Crusade for Christ — Christmas Thank You from Masterworks on Vimeo.

God has been doing some amazing things in our midst at SCSU this fall semester. As far as we know, over 800 spiritual conversations were initiated by our student leaders and staff on campus this fall! These initiations led to 300 actual spiritual conversations, 151 gospel presentations and 26 students who asked Christ into their life! Your partnership is sending the gospel go forth to help turn lost students into Christ-centered laborers.

We are also so grateful to the Lord for the growth of Athletes in Action this fall at SCSU. Starting with 5-10 students involved last spring semester, we now see over 50 athletes attending our six small group Bible studies each week on campus! I have especially enjoyed seeing the young men from the football team Bible study I lead begin to bond together and grow in their faith. I knew none of them just a few months ago, and now I am dreaming of these 5-6 guys being used to one day reach their whole team for Christ!

Ledell, Jordan, Jameson, Grant, me and Corey from the SCSU football team Bible study

A Different Way of Affirming

God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God

A friend of mine from our small group at church mentioned last spring that her Dad had recently come out with a new book. Being a lover of books and intrigued by the title, I (Kristina) decided to pick up a copy of Practicing Affirmation for myself. Like I said I love to read, so when my copy arrived from Amazon I was already engrossed in two or three other books…thus it was added to the growing stack of books I hoped to read soon.

A few weeks ago I finally picked it up and from the first few paragraphs I could tell this guy was on to something. Something that has really been making me think hard and growing within me a desire to change the ways that I affirm people in my life. The byline of the book is, “God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God.” This simple sentence really encapsulates Sam Crabtree’s entire message, a message that I believe is not only incredibly God honoring, but also very necessary.

We all know that affirmation of people is good, right? As humans we love to receive it, we know we should give it, and we know that it honors God. But what Sam challenges in this book is how we affirm people and to whom we point to when we do it. Are we giving credit to the individual or to God?

“Good affirmations are God-centered, pointing to the image of God in a person. The only commendable attributes in people were given to them. Everything is from God, through God, and to God so that in all things – including the commendable qualities in people – he might get the glory.” (pg.18)

Whether or not an individual knows Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior…He knows us. He created us. He knit us together long ago. Every aspect of our character that is commendable is not of ourselves, it’s a gift from God and it should point to God at work in us. By commending God and not the person, not only does God get the glory that He deserves but we are testifying to those around us who don’t know Christ of His great work. And not only that, but it trains our minds to see God at work all around us…and let’s be honest, I think we could all use a little more of that!

So next time I’m tempted to affirm a friend by saying something like, “Wow, I am always so impressed by your creativity!”…I might instead try, “I love the way that you let God’s creativity be displayed in your life as you use the gifts He’s given you. ” It’s not as natural of a response for me yet but I’m praying that with practice and the Lord’s help that I can become a person who honors God in my affirmations of others.

Practicing Affirmation is such a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone! It is incredibly thought provoking and yet highly practical in it’s application of how the ideas can actually play out in your life.

Sam Crabtree, I am grateful for your God-given insights and the humility in which you wrote this book!

The new name is…..Cru!

As many of you may have already heard, Campus Crusade for Christ has recently unveiled some upcoming changes.

Starting in early 2012, the U.S. chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ will be known simply as “Cru.” We are excited about this decision, and we stand by our leaders and believe it will help us do a better job of connecting people to God’s love and forgiveness. It’s all about helping people experience the good news that Jesus offers.

Bill Bright, the late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, recognized many years ago that our name would likely need to change someday. Campus Crusade strives to be an organization that reaches people where they are at and so when it became apparent to our leadership that our name was hindering us from our primary calling they began to take steps forward. The word “campus” does not adequately represent all our ministries in the United States and confuses our constituency as well as potential partners. The word “crusade” — while common and acceptable in 1951 when we were founded — now carries negative associations.

Over the years, many of our campus chapters used a different name locally in order to increase effectiveness on campus. For example, our movement in St. Cloud has gone by the name “Cru” now for many years.

We wanted to be upfront and let you know about this change because you are a significant part of this organization and the ministry it allows us to have. Be assured, we and Campus Crusade have not lost our commitment to Christ or to the Gospel. We desire to live lives that effectively and passionately lift high the name of Jesus to a world that desperately needs the gospel, just as we do.

Recently, the vice president of Campus Crusade, Steve Sellers, spoke on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” about why our international leadership team has decided this is the time to change the name from Campus Crusade for Christ to Cru. “Our mission remains the same. To help fulfill the Great Commission and to give every person a chance to say YES to Jesus. It’s the same mission that God gave to Bill and Vonette Bright in 1951,” Steve Sellers said on Fox News. Click the link above to watch part of this segment.

We all know that words matter greatly. We have not changed who we are and are still passionate about bringing the gospel where it has not yet been heard. However, sometimes we have to change our language to continue to be who we’ve always been. To help illustrate this point, please check out this video.

We understand that for some of our ministry partners, Campus Crusade for Christ is a name that brings fond memories of how they first experienced a relationship with Christ or stories they have heard about the experiences of staff and students around the world, from 1951 to today. We want you to know that just because the name is changing, it doesn’t mean anything about our methods or purposes are. We are still the same ministry with the same values and passion for bringing the gospel to every area of the world.

This website will help you better understand this process that we believe the Lord has led us to as an organization.

Thank you for your partnership and for being committed to giving everyone a chance to hear and grow in the gospel. We SO appreciate you and invite you to converse with us about this new change.

What God did through the 2011 Australia Summer Project

G’day, mates! How ya goin?

We have returned to the states from our six week trip down under directing the 2011 Summer Project to Brisbane, Australia!

Our team of 27 spent Monday-Friday afternoons at Griffith University in Brisbane having conversations with students with the hopes of building relationships and sharing the gospel through our words and our love. In the mornings and evenings we would lead Bible studies and trainings to develop our students for ministry back home. We also had a lot of fun too!

Australia Summer Project team on the way to campus

One of the most unique aspects of Universities in Australia is the diversity of cultures you find. Walking onto campus for the first time, it seemed like we were in China or Korea instead of Australia! By the end of our summer our team met students from 55 different countries and were able to share the gospel with students from 23 of those countries! We serve a great God whose heart is for the nations!

Kristina with her friend Ashley from Taiwan. Ashley now knows the gospel but is afraid to become a Christian because of her Buddhist family and what they will think when she returns home.

Ministry with Aussie students can be difficult at times because of the apathy to spiritual things that dominates the culture. Almost every Aussie student we met had never heard the gospel or knew an authentic Christian. But God is moving at Griffith Uni! Through our time spent on campus from late May to late June, the Lord allowed our team to initiate spiritual conversations with with more than 1,300 students! From those conversations, 273 different students heard the gospel this summer with an opportunity to respond to Jesus! And praise God, our team saw 16 of those students prayed to receive Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior!

Luke and his Aussie friend Joel. Joel has now heard the gospel and is processing when to fully surrender his life to Christ!

All in all, we had an amazing time in Australia! Our team did a fantastic job and we grew heaps and heaps in leadership. Greater things are still to be done in Brisbane! I hope to post some videos soon to give you a greater vision for what our time was like in Australia. If you would like to see more photos, check out Kristina’s facebook page for her three albums of Australia photos. Thank you for your prayers and support!

Petting and feeding kangaroos at the Australia Zoo!