Category: Prayer Letters

Magic Moments

My friend Sam is in Navy ROTC. He’s now a Junior and for the past couple years I’ve been encouraging him to reach out to other midshipmen in his ROTC Squad.

Now, two seniors: Alex and Fiona are starting Valor (a Cru military movement) and it was just the push Sam needed to invite his friends to talk about Jesus.

Sam invited four of his classmates to come with him to Valor. And we’ve been praying for them each week.
A couple weeks ago, Sam and I exchanged this little text message chain. And I thought you would like to see it.

These are the magic moments when students take the risk: to invite, to ask, but then to share about Jesus.

Malisa and I are praying for Julia and others on Sam’s ROTC squad. Will you pray?

What about you? Who are 2 people we should pray for? Think about:

  • Co-workers
  • Neighbors
  • Friends from college
  • Parents of your kids’ friends

Would you reply to this e-mail with the names of 2 people to pray for? We would love to pray for opportunities for you like Sam.

E-mail now

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Prayer Requests

  • Malisa continues to recover from ACL surgery. She’s down to just one crutch, but still has a month or 2 of PT ahead.
  • We’re planning to head back to the Middle East this summer. Pray for the team to come together

Luo Pad Prayer


Here’s a short video of our students at work at the LuoPad event

Would you help us next Tuesday?

Next Tuesday, we’re going to help make re-useable feminine pads to distribute to refugees in the Middle East and beyond. If you’re in Boston on Friday, we’d love to have you join us. If not, we’d love you to pray for this outreach.

On Tuesday from 2-5pm, we’re hosting a drop-in service project at Boston University where students (and you if you’re interested) can come and cut out the pieces of “LuoPads.”

LuoPads are washable feminine pads that are part of a “LuoPack” of women’s hygiene items (6 LuoPads, 2 pair of underwear, a washcloth, washing instructions, a waterproof bag, all in a privacy bag).

These meet a huge need for women and girls in refugee camps and remote areas who, because they lack access to hygiene items, must stay home from work or school for up to 20% of each month, significantly limiting their opportunities.

You can read more here:

Or watch this quick video:

The outreach is an opportunity for Cru students to invite their friends who might not share our love for Jesus, but who do share a love for the vulnerable across the world. Serving together in a tangible way can build relationships and provide bridges for the gospel.

3 Ways to help:

  1. Join us on Tuesday – If you’re in the Boston area and free anytime between 2 and 5 for a half hour, come say hi. Send me a text 978-828-8024 to confirm that you’re coming so I know to be looking for you.
  2. Donate used terrycloth towels or flannel. If you’re in the Boston area, it can be dropped off this week to our house in Arlington. If you’re outside the Boston area, and think this is something you’d like to participate in, let me know and I can connect you with our friends at Gain, Cru’s humanitarian arm.
  3. Pray. Would you pray that we would be able to have some great conversations around God’s heart for justice this week.

Thank you all so much for your partnership with us in ministry.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Look inside this restaurant

Nud Pob Thai food is a hole in the wall joint. There are half a dozen tables and there’s usually a line. The food isn’t going to get any Michelin stars, but the audience is college students so that’s just fine.

On February 8, in the center of the restaurant, around a couple pulled together tables is an amazing group of freshman women. They’re eating dinner and talking about Jesus with my wife Malisa.

I (Brian) got to see the beginning of the dinner from the car window before I watched a movie with my little girls so that Malisa could engage with these women. And so I couldn’t hear the conversation. But I could see their smiles and I knew that when we debriefed later in the evening, I would hear some amazing stories.

The 2nd girl from the left in this photo is a freshman named Julianna. Her parents decided to let her choose what she believed and not force her to believe something. But when Malisa asked her to describe her spiritual life, she said, “basically, I’m really confused in what I think and believe but I think Cru will be a good place to explore and figure it out.”

And so Julianna has been getting involved. She sought out Cru and connected with Malisa last semester. She comes to my (Brian’s) lifegroup on Thursday evenings. She came to our house for our woman’s Christmas Brunch. And she’s become good friends with another freshman named Ashley who is a strong believer.

But the other night at the Thai restaurant, she shared how hard it has been to make good friendships at BU. She has friends, but it’s been harder than she expected.

Why do we host dinners in hole in the wall Thai restaurants? We do it for girls like Julianna – so they can have opportunities to make lasting friendships with other students and spur each other on in their spiritual journeys.

These are crucial conversations. They are critical moments. And they are only possible with your help and support. Thanks for being a part of it.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Gospel Doodles

Gospel Doodles

Can you follow this diagram? It’s a bit complicated, and that’s the idea…

Malisa spent the last four years pouring into Grace who spent her senior year as an RA on Hannah’s floor.


Hannah committed her life to Christ at Fall Retreat last year. Malisa and Grace met up with her and helped her grow in her faith. This year she encouraged others to make that same commitment.


Jason, one of the guys in her small group committed his life to Christ at our Fall Retreat this year. Jason has been involved in our movement all his years of college. But he thought the Fall Retreat during his senior year would be a great place to commit his life to Christ. Hannah now lives on the same floor as Sam.


Sam (Sam #1) has been praying for opportunities to share with a freshman who is also named Sam (Sam #2). But Sam 2 e-mailed me to see if I could share the gospel with him. And so I took my friend Aldar from Asia with me to share with Sam 2. Later that day, talking to Sam 1, I realized Sam 2 is the same guy we’ve been praying for.


I meet up weekly with Sam 1, Christian, and Joseph to help them learn how to share the gospel with people. Joseph heard the gospel dozens of times from many different students and Cru staff. It took a while for the gospel to click. He totally belonged before he believed. But now that he does, it’s totally contagious.


So he’s been sharing with Vincent from Babson and Bob from BU (all three are international students from Asia). Bob says that he thinks Christianity is a fairy tale, but when he sees how happy Joseph is, he knows he wants what Joseph has. Joy is attractive.


That’s the same story for Graham, who is Jason’s roommate. Now that Jason has come to follow Christ, Graham is coming to our small groups too.


OK… I take it back… this diagram is really complicated. It’s messy. And it’s beautiful. This is a picture of how the Kingdom of God advances.


But in truth, this diagram leaves out two important people. It leaves out the Holy Spirit who has gone before Malisa and me to prepare these students to hear about Christ. And it leaves out you – our faithful partners who have been praying for each of these students.

Thank you!

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Prayer Requests

  • Praise God for Hannah, Joseph, and Jason who now have fellowship with Christ.
  • Please pray opportunities for us to share more with Vincent, Graham, Bob, and Sam 2.
  • Pray for Malisa and Brian as we raise our 3 girls to know and follow Jesus.

Malisa, Brian, Sydney, Eliza & Genevieve Ellis, Serving with Cru in Boston

Can you imagine a day when every one of the 250,000 students in Boston heard the good news of Jesus Christ in the most relevant and personal way? We can. And we think we even know how it could happen.

Malisa and I bring over 20 years of campus ministry experience to our roles on the Boston Metro Cru team. We’d love to talk to you more about our ministry with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) here in Boston.

You can:


A Letter in 3 Photos

1. The Lord blessed us with a precious girl: Genevieve Kay Ellis. She was born on July 12, 2017 and weighed 10 pounds! Malisa and I love seeing her smiling face in the morning, and her two older sisters, Sydney and Eliza are doing a great job caring for her – even as they experience their own Copernican revolutions.

2. The Lord blessed us with a house for ministry. This means that for the long run, we get to stay close to college students in Boston. You know what an influence students in Boston will have after they Graduate. And you know that they need the Lord. We moved into 87 Stowecroft Rd. almost 3 weeks ago. The house is just 1.5 miles from our old apartment and we’re excited to see how God uses it.

3. This Lord cares about Lost students. That’s why we’re getting our team ready to reach out to all the freshmen in this city in the coming weeks. Here’s a picture of me with a bunch of student leaders on my family’s schooner. Will you pray for divine appointments on campus this week?

Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be helping my friend Darin and some great student leaders on the Lacrosse Team as they meet to share their testimonies with the whole team. I’m excited for opportunities to share with them and other new students about Jesus. Would you pray for us and for these conversations?

We can’t do it alone. Malisa, I, and the whole team we help lead are depending on the Lord. Your prayers and support are needed as we raise Genevieve and her sisters Sydney and Eliza. Your prayers and support are needed to continue to live in this amazing ministry house and to stay close to college students. And your prayers are absolutely essential as we reach out to students and help them start following Jesus. We can’t change lives. Only God can. But your prayers are effective.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Getting the Big Picture

Getting the Big Picture

Perhaps it’s having a great teacher who tells amazing stories (like Dan Carlin in his Hardcore History podcast). Perhaps it’s learning about individual people so that you can imagine yourself going to that time and place (the way they do in Adventures in Odyssey). Perhaps it’s when you travel to a place where amazing things happened in the past (like a battlefield). Or perhaps history comes alive for you when it’s your history (learning the history of your town, or ancestors).

This summer, all of that collided for Malisa and me when we took a church history survey class as part of our ongoing spiritual development with Cru. It was so helpful to get a big picture overview of the high (and low) points of the history of the church over the last 20 centuries.

If you’d like a book recommendation, can we commend to you: Church History in Plain Language. It’s amazing to watch how God’s kingdom has advanced over the last 20 centuries and it gives us great hope that His Kingdom will continue to advance. And what fun that you and I get to be a part of it.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Sending Spotlight

Sending Spotlight

My friend Monica just graduated from Northeastern University. Over the last several years, it’s been a joy to watch Monica move from choosing what she desires to trusting God for what He desires. This has been especially true as she trusted him this year with her job search.

Last week, we met up just before her dad arrived from Guatemala to help her make the 21-hour trek to St. Paul, Minnesota where she will be working as a communications director for the Girl Scouts. She’s excited to be working for an organization that develops young women.

Thank you for helping send women like Monica to have an impact after graduation. She is a woman who loves Jesus, loves others, and is going to live out the gospel in a new place. Would you pray for her?

Here’s Monica holding the newest addition to our family.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

Win, Build, Send

Win people to Christ

I stood on a chair 31-weeks-pregnant to snap the picture below. It’s a small sampling of seniors in college that we have journeyed with over the last few years. One of those guys is Danny. Danny was standing in the cluster of other seniors proud to say He had been connected with Cru during college. Danny has heard the Gospel over and over and over. He has found a safe place to explore what he believes within the Cru community on his campus. He has been around for four years at BU and continues to consider and ponder the truth of Jesus but the penny hasn’t dropped yet. Would you pray with us that Danny does start following Jesus

One of the things that has been so powerful to see over my past 9 years is Boston is that people like Danny tend to continue to explore Jesus beyond graduation because of the deep relational connection that have been made with those students who do follow Jesus.


A bunch of our seniors, including Danny

Build disciples for a lifetime

One of those followers of Jesus is Grace. How do I even begin to help you celebrate with Brian and I all that God has done in and through Grace over these past four years? If I had to describe Grace I would say she is tender, insightful, and loves people really well and I would say she continues to be BOLD with sharing the Gospel alongside of her friends – including Danny

I am saying goodbye to Grace as a student leader but she is staying in Boston for a job in marketing and graphic design. She has a strong vision and purpose of helping to create the world that ought to be by being a great designer who cares about her co-workers because of the change Jesus has made in her own life.

Grace (right front) at one of our final discipleship times

Send graduates into the world

Grace is one of those women who we are SENDING joyfully into this next stage of her life. Grace has a heart for others and a vision for her calling. She is going to help change the world for Jesus. Sending Grace and seniors like her is one of the main reasons Brian and I do what we do in Boston. A bonus is that Grace is going to live just about 10 minutes away from me next year, so although I’m saying goodbye to her as a student she will continue to be a bold witness for Jesus in Boston

This is what you pray for and invest in: winning students to Christ, building disciples for a lifetime, and sending students into the world.

Thank you so much for being part of getting the Gospel to the thousands of students in Boston but also helping to send college graduates into the world to be missional for Him.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

How to pray:

  • For Danny – that the penny would drop: that the gospel would make sense and that he would start following Jesus
  • For Grace – that she would continue to befriend people like Danny in her new job in marketing and graphic design
  • For all of our seniors across the city – that they would be sent out into the world to walk with Jesus and point others to him
  • For Brian and me as we joyfully await baby girl #3