“Lasting friendships. That’s your measure of success.”
When we first started doing ministry in the Middle East, that was what our long-term teammates told us.

“For the average person from this country who becomes a follower of Jesus, it’s about 2 and a half years from when they first meet a Christian to when they start following Jesus themselves. So really, it doesn’t matter to us how many people you share the gospel with. But what we do care about is whether you make friends with spiritually interested people here. We measure success like this: At the end of the summer, you’ll leave a note and a gift for your friends. The team that follows you will contact your friend and set up a time to give them your gift. That’ll be the way we can continue building those friendships. And those relationships will be handed off from summer team to long term team and back to summer team. So that each of us can journey together with these friends toward Christ.


Here I am with Mike, one of the students who joined us this summer. I loved getting to meet with him every week. Pray for him as he figures out whether God would have him come back long-term to this city.

“Lasting friendships. That’s your measure of success.”

Malisa and I love that ministry philosophy. We think it transfers really well back to our ministry in Boston and what we’re trusting God for here. And we think this style of ministry will work well for our students for the rest of their lives. Because if they can learn to share the gospel in the context of building spiritual friendships with others around them – classmates, neighbors, co-workers, they can be prepared for a lifetime of fruitful ministry.

And so that’s the ministry you were involved with this summer (by praying and giving). It is a delight for us to get back together with former students that we met years earlier (like this friend “Denise” with Malisa and Kelsey). We built a relationship with her four years ago and another team picked up the relationship after we left.


Now, “Denise” is married, has a baby, and is a professor and so has the potential to influence the next generation. Would you pray for her?


Malisa and some of our students got to have a series of significant conversations with “Görme” this summer. They talked about fasting during Ramadan, why we fast as Christians, who Jesus is, and more. Would you pray for next year’s team? That like the other team did with “Denise,” they would continue befriending “Görme”?

By the numbers:

  • We initiated 276 conversations.
  • We journeyed with 53 new friends.
  • We left gifts for 40 friends to follow up.
  • Each has a story. Would you thank the Lord for each of these friends?

Because you’ve been sending us back to the same location now every couple summers for eight years, we get lots of chances to see how our friends in the Middle East are journeying toward Jesus.

But the same thing happens in Boston – we get to join students on their spiritual journeys for a little window (their time in college) and then send them off to be lifelong laborers for God’s kingdom. Thank you for enabling that work.

Have you ever thought about journeying spiritually with friends at work or neighbors? We’d love to be praying for you. Shoot us an e-mail: brian.ellis@cru.org or malisa.ellis@cru.org

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

 

Prayer Requests:

  • For “Denise” – that she would influence the next generation in her country for Christ
  • For “Gorme” – that next year’s team would become friends with her and point her to Jesus
  • For Mike and others who might return for another year or more to this city
  • For all of our soon to be friends – the thousands of students about to arrive in Boston – that many would walk with Jesus.