Category: Prayer Letters

How to Slow Down

How to Slow Down

“Thank you for helping me slow down and connect with Jesus,” Andrew said to me. “This is the first time in weeks that we’ve paused long enough to have space to connect with Jesus.” This summer I got to coach Andrew a Cru staff guy and a group of other new Cru team leaders from across the country.

One thing that’s important for all of us is to cultivate our walk with God.

Similar things are true of the students we work with today in Boston.  They are hyper-scheduled, overworked, and don’t have or make the time and space to connect with Jesus. Instead, they’re running from activity to class to other thing and usually doing it with their earbuds in.

And of course, it’s not just students. It’s also the men and women that we coach. And it’s us too – Malisa and me.

So, the question is: “How do we slow down to cultivate our walk with God?”

Our kids help us slow down (even as they grow so fast… Sydney is 8, Eliza is almost 6, and Genevieve is 2)
Throughout church history, Christians around the world have created spiritual practices to slow down, listen and attend to what God is doing in their lives. Practices like Bible reading daily, Prayer, Contemplation, Examen, Journaling, Rest, Sabbath, Silence, Slowing, Solitude… each of these can help us downshift and connect with God.

You want something practical? The next time you get together with a group of friends, ask them to bring an object to describe the state of their soul. Then when you meet, each person takes 2-3 minutes to describe the state of their soul using the object as a physical reminder – it might be a container for tea that’s crammed a little too full of tea bags to show how crammed your life is. It might be an interesting stick that reminds you of the journey Jesus has you on. It might be a tape measure to show that you keep measuring yourself against others and wish you wouldn’t. Anyway… each person shares for 2-3 minutes and everyone else just listens. Then you repeat back a significant phrase you heard (not sharing “when you said this, it made me think of…” but just sharing verbatim what they said). And then you pray for each other.

This isn’t complicated, right?  You’ve just shared for a couple minutes and then listened to your friends.

But we have found that simple, slow activities like this are quite profound, because we don’t often slow down to really listen to each other.

Here’s the group of new team Leaders Malisa coached this summer and some of the “state of soul” objects they brought with them.

Malisa and I have been working to cultivate our relationship with God. It includes normal things – bible study, prayer, church, small groups. It has also included a series of amazing retreats (Emmaus) and continues with meeting a prayer partner and a spiritual director on a regular basis.

And we want to continue to expose our students to these practices.

Here’s a couple books you might want to add to your amazon list:

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun – it makes things really short.
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. Helpful spiritual practices and family background stuff
Would you pray for us and with us?

Loving our adventurous Lord,

Pray for us:

  • That we would continue to connect into the deep well of Jesus’ Spirit.
  • Pray for the next two weeks as we slow down for some great rest and reflection as a family after a full summer before we head into preparing for students to arrive in Boston.

Pray for our students:

  • That those who know Jesus would slow down over the next few weeks before the fullness of Fall begins.
  • Pray for those who don’t know Jesus, that they may pause to “ponder” who God is.

I think I’ll go to Boston

I think I’ll go to Boston…

Look how excited these students are to be coming to Boston for college:

This is a sampling of Instagram posts from incoming freshmen.

The pictures you see here are their ‘Rinsta’ pictures (that’s their ‘Real Instagram’ where they post the beautiful pictures). Their ‘Finsta’ pictures (that’s their ‘Fake Instagram’ where they post imperfect pictures just for their closest friends) are hidden.

We’ve been doing this long enough to know that freshmen coming to Boston do not have it all together. Particularly, they struggle with social anxiety. And so that’s why, every year, we get e-mails like this from parents:

“My daughter is a freshman this year. I was wondering if you or a colleague or another student you may know there would be willing to reach out to her and invite her either to a large group meeting, small group meeting or to church? I’ve been meaning to reach out to you earlier, but I wasn’t sure how she felt about getting involved with a Christian group. She grew up going to church, attending youth groups, mission trips, Christian summer camps and loved them all. The past year she grew a little distant, and I think she’s in a journey of self-discovery. She texted me today and we got on the topic of whether she felt connected and said “no” “not yet.” I asked if she would be open to someone from Cru contacting her and she said “sure.” So I was hoping you or someone you may know would be willing to reach out to her? She has a bit of social anxiety (which you can’t tell at all), so would probably not initiate going to a Cru gathering by herself. Here is her info in case you are available to reach out to her:”
In this case, Malisa e-mailed, texted back and forth 5-10 times, and set up a few failed appointments. There is a hesitancy for students to meet new people in person. Even though Instagram may portray a perfect life, we know it’s not really that way.

This is normal.

It usually takes 5-10 text message exchanges before we get to meet up in person with a new student.  Would you pray for open doors?

50,000 freshmen are about to arrive in the city of Boston. We want them to find their identity in Jesus.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Prayer Requests

  • For students to be open to sharing their “finsta” with us in real life… God changes what we open up about.
  • For every freshman coming to Boston – that they would find a safe community where they can explore what it means to follow Jesus. (you can search for some to pray for, just type a Hashtag like #BU2023 or #MIT2023 to find incoming freshmen)
  • For our digital outreach to incoming students – that many would find their real identity in Jesus.
  • For our student leaders on mission trips around the world this summer including Evangeline from Simmons, Patrick from Northeastern, Hannah from BU, and many others.
  • For Malisa and me as we coach new Cru team leaders from across the country this summer. Malisa is coaching Asian American team leaders; Brian is coaching operations team leaders.

Welcome to the Ellis Family

Welcome to the Ellis Family

Two things have surprised me about motherhood:

  1. How much my three little girls LOVE getting to know college students
  2. Just how much college students are ministered to by simply being part of our family
Lucy loves our girls (here with Genevieve) and our girls love Lucy.

You may have seen a video of Lucy that we shared last month. In it, she shares about being the only Christian in her family. Lucy comes from such a great family of two amazing parents who don’t yet know Jesus. So her exposure to a Christian family was limited until she met my three little girls last year.

My girls are smitten with Lucy. They jump up and down when I say that Lucy is coming over. They take her by the hand and show her around their latest art project or fairy garden and then they beg her to snuggle them on our swing.

A huge smile spreads across Lucy’s face when she talks about being able to hang out with our family — at the beach, over a casual dinner, or at an Easter dinner outreach.

The love is mutual and I am in awe of how Jesus uses our daily life as a family to minister to and develop college students.

Sarah (above with Sydney and Eliza) just finished a record smashing career on the track team (you can read about her breaking a 31 year school record here).

But I remember talking to her and having a conversation I’ve had with many athletes: “can you pray…I just don’t know if I can keep pushing as an athlete this final season.” And we did pray. And Sarah kept breaking personal and school records. But what we were praying for was that she would experience Joy again on the track team. And she did.

And that takes me to this picture above. Sarah is an incredibly strong woman, but kids “just kinda make me nervous” she said to Lucy this fall.

When we brought our kids to a BU soccer game last fall, Sarah didn’t really know what to do when my three little girls were so chatty with her.  Even Genevieve wanted to be held by her and Sarah was freaked out.

But by the end of the year, after a number of meals at our house, Sarah had totally warmed up to our girls. I took Sydney and Eliza to a final celebratory brunch with the athlete women I work with. It was a brunch full of laughing and giggles.

Sydney and Eliza love that they have a friend name Sarah. “She can pick us both up at the same time, Mommy!”

Our Easter Dinner… You can see me with Sydney and Eliza in the back (Genevieve was already asleep and Brian took the picture)

OK… One more story. I’ve shared about Lucy and Sarah above. They both came over to our house for Easter Dinner. What an amazing group of women joined me. It was so fun. After dinner I snuck upstairs to get the girls down.

As I tucked my little ones into bed on Easter night, they were all so ready to fall asleep. We celebrated well that day — with our church family in the morning, with our extended family for lunch, and then welcoming to our home to a bunch of female student athletes that night for dinner from Boston University, Northeastern University, and Emerson.

I think that Sydney, Eliza, and Genevieve thought that all these students where just coming over to play with them.

I think the students would say a highlight was the three little girls wanting to hang out with them in the backyard, playing soccer.

After I said goodnight to my little girls, I went downstairs to join this group of students who were sitting in the sunporch, eating dessert, sipping on decaf coffee and chatting away.

Albany, a student athlete at Emerson College, invited a couple of her friends (with me in the picture above) to dinner and I got to spend the dessert hour hearing from them.

One was raised in China as an atheist. The other was raised in southern California. She talked about astrology but proudly wore a cross. While neither are yet following Jesus, I’m confident that God is stirring in the lives of these two women.

God works in many ways to draw people into relationship with him. Perhaps he’s even using their friend Albany’s invitation. Perhaps he’s using Easter dinner in our house. Perhaps he’s using this little messy family and my girls to show what celebrating the risen Christ can look like.

It is because of each of you that women like Lucy, Sarah, Albany and others are able to experience Christ through our family.

Would you continue to for pray for us a we seek to share not only the gospel but our lives with students in Boston.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Would you Pray:
  • For Sydney
  • For Eliza
  • For Genevieve
That each of our girls would walk with Jesus and point others to Him
  • For Lucy, Sarah, and Albany to continue to grow in their walk with Jesus
  • For our friends who don’t yet know Jesus.

Prayer and Praise

Praise: Athletes

I love this picture of Albany, Jordan, me, Lucy, and Megan at our Christmas brunch, but it doesn’t come close to capturing the 20+ athletes that the Lord has been continuing to surface across the city for me to work with this year. Would you join me in praising the Lord for the faith steps Albany, Lauren and Margaret are taking to share with teammates and friends? Would you praise Jesus for Lucy who has been trusting the Lord for reconciliation in Friendships? And would you praise the Lord for Mireille who has been sharing the gospel with her equestrian teammates?

Prayer: Jacksonville

Over the next two weeks we’re taking 40 students from schools across Boston to Florida to work with my friend Debbie who works with Cru Inner City in Jacksonville. In the morning we’ll be doing manual labor and in the afternoons we’ll be playing with kids and running carnival/picnics at some housing projects to invite kids to a summer camp. Half of the students coming with us on the trip do not yet know Jesus, so we think it’s an incredible opportunity to share Christ in the context of community. Would you pray for our non-Christian friends, for the people we’ll be serving, and for the trip overall? Brian and I are taking our kids too, so pray for great opportunities to reach out and serve as a family – and for travelling mercies!

Prayer: Musicians at Berklee/BoCo, and NEC

Brian has had so much fun meeting with a small group of musicians at some of the incredible music schools and conservatories in Boston. It has been amazing to watch them start to share their faith with their friends and consider how art and performance and the gospel intersect. Over the next few Saturdays, one of our students, Madeline, is hosting dinners for non-Christian friends. Would you pray the Gospel is clear to these students?

Praise: Emmanuel Freshmen

We’ve been praying for years that a movement would launch and grow at Emmanuel College. We’ve been celebrating this new group all year, but we’re especially excited that there’s a whole group of freshmen joining us in Jacksonville. Would you pray a powerful week for them?

We are so thankful for each of you. If you ever wonder if you’re making a difference for the Lord… wonder no longer! Your prayers and support mean that students in Boston and beyond get to hear about Jesus. Thank you so much for praying for and with us.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Bonus Videos – Students and Alumni on Social Media

These videos may find their way into a prayer letter soon, but I wanted to share them with you first. A couple weeks ago, we had a panel of students share about social media. I also asked a couple of our alumni to make a little selfie video to share with our students.

Talking about how we engage with social media and do online identity is certainly a hot topic today on campus. But I think there’s something in here for all of us as we continue to engage and bring our full selves to both physical and online interactions with our friends.

I’m the first to say I haven’t “arrived” on this stuff. I’m still trying to figure out how I best engage with non-christian friends in a winsome way online.

Anyway, here’s 3 un-edited vertical videos. I’d love to know what you think. (apparently, vertical videos are a thing now. So weird to me)

The Significance of Two Pennies

Saturday night it was snowing hard outside. But inside our meeting room, the sound was a little like rain on a tin roof. I could hear pennies dropping into a bowl in the front of the room. Students were walking up to the bowl, dropping in a couple pennies and sitting down.

Over 100 Asian American students from the east coast gathered together last weekend and at the end of their leadership retreat, we challenged them to take two pennies and offer them back to God. These pennies, like those given by the widow in Mark 12, represented two things:

It’s a small amount of money. They cost more to mint than they are worth. This represents what we have to give to Jesus. It’s a piddly, insignificant amount.
It may be insignificant, but it’s also representative of all we have. What we have is mostly failures and brokenness and that’s what we’re giving back to Jesus.
The idea — that we want to take everything we have and give it to Jesus — is at the heart of what we’re trying to do with Cru.

Ariel, one of our students from Brandeis, said, “One thing I take away from the Epic Conference: God doesn’t love us more or less depending on how we work to earn his love. And there’s nothing I can offer beyond submitting to His will. I loved the penny analogy. That we don’t really have anything to offer to God. He takes our brokenness and gives us a calling.”

A BU grad shared, “In my family, worth and love is based on performance. But I was challenged at Epic that in God’s family, I don’t have to ‘do’ anything.”

Across the country, we have winter conferences for students that are spread geographically and we also have some conferences, like this Epic Conference I helped out at this weekend that are designed to serve ethnic minority students (Asian Americans in this case).

Reaching every student on every campus means that we need to cross cultures and create environments where students can take their next steps with Jesus.

For this group of students, the next step was to give everything to Jesus – their work, their studies, their success, their failures, all of who they were…even if it was just a couple pennies.

Pastor Enoch, from Boston Chinese Evangelical Church, the speaker at the Epic Conference,  shared a great image from John 21 that I had never noticed before: When Jesus invites the disciples to have breakfast with him, he asks them to bring some of the fish they just caught (something not based on their skill as fishermen, but based on Jesus causing the catch). But John tells us that the charcoal fire Already had fish laid out on it (vs. 9). In other words – when Jesus asks us to give us everything, it’s not only that he is the one who gives us everything in the first place, He already has all that he needs. He already has the fish.

What about you? What gifts has God given to you that he is asking you to give back? What pennies do you have to give back? Will you do it?

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

If you’d like to hear more of Pastor Enoch’s talks from the Epic Conference, here’s a link.

You shared… How do I grow in my love for God’s Word

Last month, we asked you, our ministry partners, what you do to grow in your love of God’s word. Here’s some of what you said:

Thanks for your prayers!
We will also, continue to pray for you two, your children and your students.
I do love the Word! I teach ‘Redemptive History’ twice a week so most days I am studying the Word.
I also have time, in the morning for a devotional.
Our son has pointed me to the Bible Project (which he is so excited about!!)
This is what I do – Hopefully this is encouragement and not my trying to impress!!! You asked so I wanted to respond.

I read with great interest your November newsletter.  I am a strong proponent of studying God’s word and have been reading commentaries since I became  “born again” almost 40 years ago.  I was very fortunate in attending churches that believed in strong Bible teaching.  I started out with Mastering the Old Testament series with Lloyd J. Ogilvie as the General editor.  Each book of the Bible was exposited by someone that Ogilvie picked as being an excellent communicator.  Many of the authors did not have extensive degrees, although some did, but they were picked because they could communicate clearly.  In the words of Ogilvie in his Editor’s preface “the authors are scholar-preachers and teachers outstanding in their ability to make scriptures come alive for individuals and groups.”  And in fact most did an admirable job.  The series morphed into a series called The Communicator’s Commentary series that I acquired and studied for several decades.   For the last 10 years I have been studying James Montgomery Boice’s commentaries.  And have found them to be outstanding.  Along with that I go to a Precept classes with my wife.  I don’t do the course work, but I do attend all the classes I can because the instructor is a college level teacher who is fascinating,  She has been with Kay Arthur on foreign teaching missions and has worked with precept ministries in the past helping prepare for release of new studies.

I started out as a new believer to understand what all the hype was about.  Shelley had a thunder bolt experience that left me in the dust wondering what was happening after ten years of marriage.  But Father Petersen at St Johns  opened my eyes and the early morning study of God’s Word has been an almost constant for the last 40 years.  I urge you to encourage your “disciples”  to not only read the bible but to study it with good Bible believing commentators.  I used the One Year Bible as an exercise in reading the Bible once a year for about 4 consecutive years but I found that in the end I was just reading words without knowing the meaning.  I needed to know what it meant, hence the commentaries.

Right now I’m just finishing my first ever time reading the entire bible in less than one year. It feels like I’m rounding the corner on the last mile, and I’m so stoked. I’ve been using a bible plan that puts me in a different section of the Bible each day of the week and it’s been so neat to see new connections all through scriptures.

Please pray that I will take my bible study more seriously. I never prepare at all, and I know I’m missing out on so much. It’s just I don’t know where that space in my schedule is to work on it each week. Pray I find it. Thanks! I’m praying for you too.

Reading the Bible every day and daily praying his been a part of my routine for years.  It has been good to imagine being alone and listening to God.

Just a quick note to let you know that I love the Bible App.  I think it is available on almost any platform.  The thing that really got me is the Reading Plans.  I took part in a 21 day challenge back in 2012 (they usually hold them in February) , and I have been consistently reading the Bible daily since then.  While I know that completing daily reading, checking boxes, getting badges, completion streaks, etc. might be performance oriented, I think it is okay to acknowledge what drives and motivates us.  When it results in helping to form a daily Bible reading habit, I think the ends justify the means, to some degree.  Of course, there have been times where I have just been going through the motions, but even in those times, I can’t help but think that there is some degree of benefit.  Not what I am striving for, of course, but at least my baseline has moved up from inconsistency and guilt!

Anyway, I thought I would share, as I have been able to engage a number of other people in this, with what I believe are fruitful results.  My daughter now engages in daily Bible reading on her own, my 11 year old nephew has gotten involved, and we have a large portion of our church that are friends in the app and comment and share thoughts on their plans and other passages they are reading.  I could see this as a great vehicle to connect people in your college community that would be encouraged to see others making a similar effort.  To the extent that you bought in and were posting comments, it would provide an example of how to read and study different passages.  Our pastor does that, and I find it encouraging.

I do love the Word! I teach ‘Redemptive History’ twice a week so most days I am studying the Word.

I also have time, in the morning for a devotional.
Our son has pointed me to the Bible Project (which he is so excited about!!)
I’m working through key passages in the local dialect in Arabic. It’s not just a language learning task–I often find that God speaks to me really clearly when I have to go really slowly and concentrate hard and pay close attention to his Word. But it is hard work, and I am really good at finding other “more urgent” (or less taxing) tasks to do.
Actually I pray daily that I would hunger and thirst for God and have been actively involved in Precepts Bible Study.
Usually when I am on break from bible study I take a complete break but this summer I decided to stay in the Word so I read through the book of Acts.  On Christmas break I will do another study on Romans.  We are studying Acts in precepts right now and as I get to see the Holy Spirit actively working through the apostles and new believers I realize I have that same Holy Spirit and I need to be spreading the gospel as well.  It is so important to know His Word.  I am going to continue to pray that God continues to draw many to Himself through your ministry AND that they will hunger and thirst for HIM by totally immersing themselves in His Word!!
I’m usually good about reading the Bible when I wake up early to go to work. The house is quiet because I’m the only one awake, so there are many fewer distractions. I am not as good at this on days off because there are five other people in the house with their own needs and agendas. I need to be more faithful to incorporate them into the reading of the Bible so we can do it more consistently as a family  when I am home on the weekends. They do it together during the week, but the altered schedule of the weekend has been challenging for us.

 

Reading God’s Word: The Problem

Reading God’s Word: The Problem

Yesterday in our discipleship group with some student guys, I asked a question: “What have you guys been reading lately in the God’s Word?”

  • “Not much, I should be reading more.”
  • “To tell you the truth, I haven’t been reading much of the Bible lately.”
  • “I guess I’ve been looking at a little of John’s gospel, and maybe a psalm.”
  • “I’ve got to get that back into my schedule.”

This makes me sad because I want our students to LOVE God’s word.That’s something I think about often: how do I cultivate a love for God’s word in the students I work with?

Here’s our family and a group of students Malisa and I work with at our Fall Retreat.

Lucy’s Story

Lucy from Northeastern started coming to Malisa’s athlete bible study last year. She was a new believer, but eager to grow and learn about Jesus.

Every Summer, Malisa loves to give the girls she works with a book to read that would encourage them or spur them on. This summer, she gave them Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. The book teaches the basics of how to study the Bible (and despite the title is something men can learn from too!).

So over the summer Lucy taught herself to read the bible. And now she’s flourishing. She can’t get enough of studying His Word.

We love that Lucy loves to play with our girls.

Your Story

How about you? How did you first come to understand God’s word? How has your reading of the bible changed?

Growing a Love for God’s Word

Over the years, Malisa and I have grown a huge love for God’s word. This looks different at different times in our lives. On a summer mission trip to Berlin as a student, I had tons of time and so I wrote my own (very poor) commentary on Hebrews. When Malisa and I were dating, she had the space to have long quiet times with her bible and her journal in the living room of her home in Seattle. Now as parents of 3 little kids, it looks different.

Solutions for me

Now, I grab bits of the Bible wherever I can. I love reading it to my children (often with the Jesus Storybook Bible). I get to study Ephesians during our summers in the Middle East. But much of my connection with God’s word comes in bits – in Podcast form, in apps on my phone, by reading devotional books on my Kindle, by listening to sermons, by reading to prepare for time with students. I’ve recently been enjoying both the podcast and videos of The Bible Project. Jacqui, one of our students, turned me onto the videos and my friend Dan turned me on to the podcast.

Solutions for our students

My friend and co-worker Todd was in my discipleship group yesterday. He was very tender: “I don’t want you to hear this as performance, but since you all just said you wanted to grow in reading God’s word, what would be a good next step for you?”

  • Nick wants to switch up his bedtime routine and remove youtube and add some bible reading. When’s bedtime? The earliest is at 12:30.
  • Sam wants to read a chapter of the bible every night and take some notes (“without notes, it’s like I didn’t read it”) between 9:30 and 10 pm
  • Christian wants to take out the willpower required and maybe read in the afternoon or evening – rather than the morning when he can’t concentrate. When I shared the idea of listening to the bible as a podcast or something while walking to class or going to the gym, he loved the idea – “I like double tasking.”

What about you?

What about you? What would be a good next step at getting into God’s word?

  • Reading at a particular time
  • Listening to the bible
  • Listening to the bible being taught (sermon series or podcast)
  • Writing it out
  • Contemplative bible reading

Would you take a moment and reply to this e-mail with your next step?

Tell me your next step

Would you pray

  • Would you pray that all the students Malisa and I work with would grow a lifelong love of God’s word?
  • Would you pray that for us?
  • Can we pray that for you?

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

#GoodStartBoston (or how not to be #SocialMediaStupid)

#GoodStartBoston

We’re trying new things to reach college students with the gospel. Part of being a missionary is to become a student of the culture of those we’re trying to reach. For me, that means not being #SocialMediaStupid anymore.

I used to think, “College students in Boston think and act like me.” After all, I was a college student in Boston not that long ago. But my freshman year was 21 years ago, and so it’s increasingly clear that there’s a new generation of students on campus.

Let me give you an example:

As the guys stood around eating their big roast beef sandwiches last week, Joel was on his phone snapping the scene.

“Are you snapping our meal?”

“yep”

“OK. Here’s my snap code so you can add me as a friend,” I said.
He looked at my profile for a moment. “51?”

“What’s 51?” I asked.

“That’s the total number of messages you’ve ever sent or received.”

“How many do you have?”

“29,114.”

Clearly, I’ve got some catching up to do!

I’m working to not be #SocialMediaStupid anymore.

Paul talks about becoming all things to all people: “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Cor 9:22-23). I think the 2018 version of that for me is that I need to become a digital native to win more college men to the cause of Christ.

Part of my job now includes coaching team leaders across the country and one of the delights is finding leaders who are innovative and creative and then replicating what they’re doing in Boston with students here. No sense reinventing the wheel. My friend Josh and his team in San Diego built a social media campaign to give students a good start to their year.

I took the best of what Josh was doing and invented #GoodStartBoston.

In addition to tagging posts online with #GoodstartBoston, we set up tables to give out Iced Coffee and Lemonade in front of freshmen dorms.

What we said to students: “Here at Cru, we’re all about giving students in Boston a Good Start to their year. That includes recommendations of restaurants near campus [thanks to all of you who made suggestions on facebook, by the way]. It includes giving out free iced coffee and lemonade on campus on hot afternoons. And it also includes the ultimate good start – connecting with a group of followers of Jesus who can help new students on their spiritual journeys.

“In addition to giving you a good start to your school year, we’d like to help give a good start to someone else. So if you fill out our quiz, at the end you’ll get a choice of charities to give a dollar to.”

The response (even from non-Christians) has been rewarding. “I’m so glad you guys are giving to charity instead of giving me some junk that I would throw away anyway. That’s so great.”

You can see what we’ve been working on by following me or Malisa on Instagram @BrianEllis or @MalisaEllis. You can search for #GoodStartBoston and you can go to www.cruboston.com/goodstart to see our “Buzzfeed Quiz.” (though the dollar for charity is only for current students).

Anyway… that’s what I’ve been doing to try to go where the students are, learn a new culture, and try to find ways to give students the Ultimate Good Start (a relationship with Jesus Christ).

Next week, we’ll be pouring hot apple cider and passing out cider donuts to start up some more #GoodStartBoston conversations. We’ll also be inviting students to pile into a bus on Columbus day to go apple picking, eat chili, and make pies.

Want to come with us? If you live in the Boston area, we’d love to have you and your families join us  on October 8 for apple picking or for chili and baking. Let me know if you’re interested.

What about you? What have you done to learn a new culture? Got any tips for me to be more effective in the social media space?

Loving our adventurous Lord,

How to Pray

  • For Joel, Andrew, Andrew, Pieter, Max and all the freshmen guys that we have been connecting with the last few weeks – that they would stick with us
  • For our Fall Retreat this weekend – Over 200 Students from across Boston, many not-yet Christians. That they would have an incredible weekend
  • For our Apple Picking trip on Columbus Day – that many non-Christians would have great gospel conversations with our staff and students.