Luo Pad Prayer

Posted on February 18th, 2017


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

Would you help us on Friday?

This Friday, as a part of Cru’s Justice Week, 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 Friday from 3-9pm, we’re hosting a drop-in service project at Park Street Church 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 Friday at Park Street Church – If you’re in the Boston area and free anytime between 3 and 9 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 anytime to Park Street Church. 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,

What are we trying to do in Cru?

Posted on February 12th, 2017

What are we trying to do in Cru? “Oh, not very much…we’re only trying to change a person’s whole reason for existing.” That’s what my friend Bob Francis used to say.

In all the years Malisa and I have been working with Cru reaching college students, we’ve realized that there is a critical moment when a student or staff person gets to share the gospel and when we get to see students’ lives changed for all eternity across the table from us.

Everything we’re trying to do in Cru here in Boston revolves around helping our staff and students have more conversations that can change their whole reason for existing. We call these “Gospel Conversations,” and we want to have lots more of them.

As you may know one of the strategies we have used for a number of years to increase the chances of “gospel conversations” with freshmen is to have upperclassmen move back into freshmen dorms. It’s not a “cool” thing to do, but it’s so effective.

Above: Malisa – in the hat on the left – gathered with some of our key student leaders for an Insider Recruiting Dinner last week.
Last week, Malisa gathered a bunch of our students for an “Insider Recruiting Dinner.” We want them to consider living in community close to freshmen so that they can have opportunities to demonstrate God’s love and share the gospel with students.

A few years ago, my friend Nick was a freshman and lived down the hall from our “Insiders.” There were dozens of gospel conversations over the course of the year. The summer after his freshman year, Nick started following Jesus.

Now Nick is a senior and he told the group, “If you think this doesn’t work, you’re wrong. Look at me.”

At the dinner, we also got to see students like Grace who lived near the insider floor of her dorm her freshman year, became an insider her sophomore year, and has been an RA the last two years to stay close to freshmen and share with them the love of Christ. Last year she began to have gospel conversations with Briony (an international student from Asia) who lived on her floor. Briony is now living as an insider herself and helping introduce others to Christ.

We’re motivated to have dinners like this for one reason: We want to change students’ whole reason for being. We want students to know Jesus.

We love having gospel conversations and helping others have gospel conversations. How about you? Have you had any fun gospel conversations lately? Shoot us an e-mail, We’d love to hear your stories and pray for you.

Loving our adventurous Lord,

Bonus News: A bigger family…

Just a couple weeks ago, we got some donuts from a fun local donut shop to share some fun news with our staff team: we’re having a 3rd baby girl this summer (due on the 4th of July). Malisa and I are surprised, excited, and a little overwhelmed!

Would you pray with us:

  • For Sam, Christian, Hannah, Melyna, Briony, and the couple dozen students who are considering moving back into freshman dorms as insiders next fall
  • For our involved students to have gospel conversations with floormates, classmates, and friends this semester
  • For Malisa and me as we continue to lead our team here in Boston
  • For Malisa and me as we get ready to welcome baby #3 this summer


Posted on October 21st, 2016

grace |ɡrās| noun 1. An unmerited gift.

Well…this fall, a girl named Grace has been an unmerited gift to a so many, including me. I first heard of Grace from her older sister, Caitlyn, who was a student leader at Boston University. Grace quickly followed suit and found God leading her to Boston University to study advertising. Grace is tender, is warm, is vulnerable, and is a bold evangelist.


Grace (in the green dress) with me this summer

A few weeks ago, during our discipleship time, Grace shared this beautiful story with me. She had invited one of her fellow RA’s, Ryan, to come to a gathering we hold on Tuesday nights called LIVE. At LIVE, Ryan heard another student share about the purpose of life and so on the way home he opened up to Grace about what He thought the purpose of life might be. She listened, she responded with more questions, she prayed silently while they made the walk back to their dorm.

As they entered the dorm, a group of five other RA friends were standing in the office and quickly invited Grace and Ryan into the conversation. When asked where they were coming from, Ryan shared that they had just come from this great event that Cru put on called LIVE, where they get to talk about how spiritual things impact their lives. The conversation turned and the group of 5 RA’s started also talking about what they thought the purpose of life was.

Ryan turned to the group and said, “I think Grace has a great understanding of what the purpose of life is.” So, with her normal gentleness surrounded with clarity, Grace begin to share the Gospel with Ryan and the 5 other RA’s. That night, Grace was a gift to that group. She loved them by sharing the gift of the Gospel with them.

Grace told me today, “I just got a message from Ryan. He said ‘I have a big life question to discuss the next time we meet.’ He’s still open to talking and I can’t wait.”

I’m so grateful for the ways that YOU are an unmerited gift to Brian and me as we seek to trust Jesus with the Gospel being spread to students from all over America and all over the world as they come to Boston to study.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,


Would you pray:

  • For continued depth of relationships with the RA’s at Boston University so that they may come to understand the “unmerited gift” that Jesus is to us.
  • For Christian, Sam, Zach, Jason, Jake all guys that Brian is building a discipleship relationship with who live in the same dorm at Grace. That they would learn to be bold with the Gospel. Also for Grace to continue to be a bold witness for the Gospel.
  • For Brian and I to lean into the gift God has given of power, love and self-disciple rather than fear as we step foot on campuses daily across Boston.

Prayer for the start of the semester

Posted on August 28th, 2016

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August 28, 2016

Dear Friends,

Would you pray for us and for the students of Boston as they head back to campus? Over the next few weeks, over 250,000 students will move into dorms across the city. We’re praying that thousands of them would have a chance to hear the gospel and that many would choose to follow Christ. Because of you, students like Craig, Nestor, Julie, and Jocette have heard the gospel and started following him. Would you pray for our student leaders at Harvard, MIT, BU, BC, Babson, Bentley, Wellesley, and schools across the city? That they would return to campus ready to connect with incoming freshmen. And would you pray for us and our family as Sydney and Eliza start Kindergarten and Preschool.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,



Middle East Trip

Posted on June 29th, 2016


Hi sweet friends.

We had this letter all ready to send yesterday morning, I just needed to make a few edits but in light of the events that happened in the Middle East yesterday we wanted to say that WE ARE SAFE (Brian and I returned a few weeks ago) and so are all of our teams that are located in Breakthrough.  Along with each of the friends that we know from that area.

Thanks so much for praying for our time in the Middle East – it could not have gone better. Our little girls did amazing with my parents. There was the usual adjustment when we got back: they could no longer have ice cream whenever they wanted. When I asked my mom whether she said “Yes” every time the girls asked for ice cream, a joyful smile stretched across her face, “Grandmas have to do that.”

We did two things in the Middle East: we connected with friends we have met over the past six years; we led a debrief for our team of 8 recent graduates who have just spent a year doing ministry in this place (we call it a “Stint Team” and it’s like the one I was a part of 15 years ago in Slovenia).

Go to to read more about our work with Syrian refugees and our sweet time leading the debrief. You’ll also be able to see a bunch of pictures of our trip.

I want to start by sharing a story of a friend in the Middle East who has been on a long journey towards Jesus.


A long awaited reunion with this friend from Breakthrough

Two summers ago, there was this bright-eyed full-of-smiles girl who seemed to show up everywhere our team gathered. She came to every picnic in the park. She came to all the crazy tea parties in our apartment. She even asked if she could come to our last team dinner together. Her name was Güzel and, although she was super fun-loving, we weren’t sure how interested she actually was in Jesus.

I am reminded of Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4). We tossed the seeds of the Gospel widely that summer with university students and also refugees not being completely sure what type of soil they had landed on. With Güzel, we planted lots of gospel seeds in many hours of conversations over small cups of very strong tea.

Güzel represents so much of what is true about this Middle Eastern culture. First, she was committed to being friends over the long run. As we have travelled back to America, that has meant keeping up with us over social media. Secondly, God is working powerfully in the hearts of some of the 70 million people in this country. Güzel has continued to ask really good questions about Jesus and what His Word says.

This year’s Stint team formed something called, “The Society of Spiritual Women” for Güzel and a handful of other women who wanted to grow more in their understanding of Jesus. We got to see Güzel again the first night we arrived in the city (which we call “Breakthrough”). We went to a friend’s birthday party, and there she was – all full of smiles and joy but with a bit more maturity and a fierce heart and desire to continue to grow in her understanding of Jesus.

By our American standards, it might seem like a long time for someone to be growing in her understanding of who Jesus is and what the Gospel offers. But in this country, it takes an average of 2.5 years from the time someone first hears the Gospel to when they understand and grasp Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As Jet-lag got the best of us, Brian and I walked to the subway to head back to our room for some sleep but had a really fun conversation reflecting on the sheer number of friends like Güzel who were at the birthday party surrounded by many friends who also believe in Jesus.

Brian and I  with the STINT Team during our morning of reflection in the middle of the desert.

A few more short stories to share

There’s lots more to say about our time in the Middle East. Go to to read more about our work with Syrian refugees and our sweet time leading the debrief. You’ll also be able to see a bunch of pictures of our trip.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

signature-s-thnw-4 family2

Sydney our oldest at her preschool “moving on” celebration. We loved her little preschool and are looking forward to Eliza attending in the Fall.

  • For all our Friends in the Middle East that the Peace of Christ will rule in their hearts, minds, and souls. He is the only one to offer true Peace.
  • For the Breakthrough STINT team that has just returned to the US for the summer.  To have strong community and encouragement as they transition to next year (most will return to Breakthrough for a second year).
  • For our summer team that has a week left in country.
  • Güzel and her friends in the “Society of Spiritual Women” to embrace Jesus.
  • For our Refugee friends in the Middle East who are growing in their understanding of Jesus.
  • For our Family as we are in Boston and DC this summer connecting with Ministry Partners.  We would love to see you if you are in the DC area (we will be there the end of July/Beginning of August).

Pray for our Middle East Trip

Posted on May 24th, 2016

IMG_6856Malisa and I are headed to the Middle East from 5/26-6/6. We are excited to connect with our summer team, facilitate a debrief for our team that has spent a year there, and connect with leaders from the refuge ministry we’ve worked with for the last 6 years as well as other organizations who are looking to start similar ministries. Would you pray for us?

  • For our Family – this is the first time we’re leaving our kids for this long (they’ll be in great hands with Malisa’s parents).
  • For us as we debrief our team that has spent a year there. We love this team – 3 of them have spent previous summers with us in the Middle East. They’re headed back for another year. Pray that we would be beacons of hope and encouragement.
  • For wisdom and discernment as we connect with leaders from the refugee ministry that we have partnered with over the last 6 years and other organizations starting similar ministries.
  • For connections with our friends in the city – that Jesus would be more and more real to them.

A View from Above Boston

Posted on May 24th, 2016

Would you come with me as we take the elevator to the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower in Downtown Boston? I love getting up above the city because it gives me vision.


Last week, I hosted a group of Cru directors from across the country to share some of what I’ve learned in the last 10 years directing our ministry here in Boston, particularly leading operationally. I took the directors to the top of the Prudential Center to do something I love to do – share the story of God at work in Boston.

Can you imagine the view with me? From this vantage point, you can look North and see all the way up the Coast to Gloucester, my hometown. You can see all sorts of Revolutionary war sites – from the Bunker Hill monument to Old North Church (Paul Revere and “One if By Land, Two if By Sea”). And I showed my friends all of those things. But I really wanted to show them two things: All the colleges, and Fenway Park.

All the Colleges

Looking Northwest, across the Charles River, you see MIT with Harvard, Cambridge College, Bunker Hill Community College, and Tufts all arrayed beyond it. To the West, you can make out Bentley and Brandeis Universities – both on top of hills. You can also see Babson and Wellesley (Hillary Clinton’s alma mater). Much closer in you can see Boston University right on the Charles River. Across the city, you can look out over 250,000 students. Truly there is no bigger college town in the world. And the world comes to Boston – there are over 50,000 international students that study here.

We long for the day when every student on every campus in Boston hears the gospel because we know that if that happened, the whole world would be changed. Coming up to the top of the Prudential Center also gives us a vision of how God might get us there.


Yellow Shirts at Fenway Park

fenwayIf you look out the window directly west, you can see Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.

Have you ever been to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park? Watching the Red Sox is pretty much the state religion here in Boston. There are billboards that say “Keep the Faith” and “Believe.” Every home game, 37,949 fans make a pilgrimage to Fenway Park.

One thing we’ve started looking at when we go to Red Sox games is the food vendors. You know, the guys selling Fenway Franks and Diet Coke and Cracker Jacks.

At Fenway, they all wear bright yellow shirts. That works really well because they stand out against all the Red, Blue, and White that everyone else wears.

So as you look at the opposite grandstand, you see these Yellow Shirts perfectly spaced out around the stands. Everyone in the stadium is within a hand’s toss of physical refreshment.

brian-and-Malisa-at-fenwayWe long for the day when on every campus, on every dorm floor, in every sorority or fraternity, and on every sports team, there is a team of yellow shirts – a group of students whose lives are so transformed by the Holy Spirit that they can’t help but tell other people about Jesus and bring other people to do the same. So that every student in the city of Boston is within hand’s toss of spiritual refreshment.

Would you pray with us?

We can end our time at the top of the city like I did the other night with my Cru friends – by praying for God’s compassion for this great city. Let’s celebrate what God is doing through “yellow shirts” like Craig on the BU Lacrosse team, Guy and Ja-Hon and Nick in Warren Towers, Matt, Tommy, and Tim reaching their friends at Northeastern, and Eric and Luke at Emerson. Let’s also celebrate what God has done bringing 36 students into relationship with Him this year.

We long for the day when there are yellow shirts in every pocket across the city, but we’re not there yet. Would you pray alongside us for this vision?

Loving our Adventurous Lord,

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Posted on April 16th, 2016

A Middle Eastern Family

When I got together for tea with my friend “Sarah” at the beginning of March, I met her mom and sister-in-law visiting from the Middle East. We had a great time together talking about life and spiritual things. At the end of our time, Sarah’s mom invited me to visit their home in the Middle East. Because I am Sarah’s friend, I am her mom’s friend. What a powerful picture. I pray that one day Sarah and her mother will be part of God’s family. Please pray with us for that.


Malisa with “Sarah”, her mom, and sister-in-law hanging out with me on campus.

God’s Family Caring for Our Family

Less than 24 hours later my mother-in-law passed away. Over the course of the last few weeks, Brian and I have been overwhelmed with gratefulness. So many of you rallied around us. I was struck by the power of family and the body of Christ to help us keep moving forward when we were weak. Meals showed up at our house; care packages and gift cards arrived from my dear friends in the Northwest; someone cleaned our house; my mom and dad came to help with the day-to-day; our staff team dropped off groceries; so many helped with our kids. Isn’t that another beautiful picture of God’s family? Thank you for your care, prayers, and love towards us.


Rikka, Malisa, Rose, Ari, and Juliana at Simmons College.

Christ is our Anchor and Family

As a new month begins, I was reminded of this strong theme for the month. In all our discipleship groups this year across Boston, we have been studying the book of Colossians. It is such a rich, rich book. Yesterday afternoon I was huddled into a small study area at Simmons College with a group of 7 other students and a rock-star volunteer, Ari.

We were looking at Colossians 3. Rikka, a new believer, spoke up after we read, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:4).

“What does ‘Hidden in Christ’ mean?” she asked.

I explained that when we become followers of Christ, we find refuge, shelter, and security in Him. He is our anchor and family.

She looked at the group with a huge smile spread across her face. She got it. She has security because of her new identity in Christ.

It was one of those very holy moments.

Thank you for being a part of our family.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,


Prayer Requests

  • For us as we take a group of student leaders on a day long retreat this weekend to help celebrate and remember what God has done this year and plan for the next school year.
  • For the 33 new believers in Boston that their faith would be deep.
  • For our staff team who has experienced a lot of loss in the last 5 weeks. Pray that we will each cling to Jesus during this season.


Stories so good I wish I could bottle them up to enjoy them over and over again…

Posted on February 1st, 2016

There are a couple things I’d like to put in a bottle so that I can preserve them to enjoy forever. Like the laughter of my two daughters. They have distinctive delightful laughs that I can’t get enough of. I recorded a bit of it on my phone so I have it when they grow up.


Eliza, Frosty the snowman, and Sydney a week ago

I’d also like to bottle up the stories our students share during a dinner in January. We call it “the Insider dinner.” It’s a dinner where we challenge students to consider moving back into freshmen dorms. We want our students to be “insiders” and live in community close enough to non-Christians that their friends would notice the difference that the gospel makes.

Joyner shared the story of a Jewish friend who lives on her floor. She has so many questions and wants to know Jesus. Her friend told her “It blows my mind how much love is in what you believe.”

Jacqui added: “It’s humbling. My friend told me, ‘I’ve never seen people care about each other so much.’”

Another student shared that there’s something amazing about sharing the gospel in community. “It is more powerful for 8 of us to be journeying with a group.”


Here are the insider teams telling their stories to younger students from across Boston

Of course, moving back into a freshman dorm is not cool. And living in community isn’t easy. And trying to share the gospel with friends can be hard.

Ja-Hon says “You know; It’s challenging to live where you work. It’s a big challenge. You are pushed to your limits in little and big ways. But it’s worth it.”

That’s how Malisa and I often feel as we think about our ministry here in Boston. It pushes us to our limits in little and big ways. But it’s worth it.

Malisa and I wish we could have you join us at these Insider dinners because it is only because of your prayers and support that we can celebrate what God is doing like this. Thank you for your partnership.


This is Sephora, a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Upperclassmen at SMFA can’t move back into dorms, only RA’s can. So Sephora became an RA. She says, “I just keep inviting people. One day, they will say yes.”


Loving our Adventurous Lord,



Prayer Requests:

  • For our insider teams living at Boston University, Simmons College, Northeastern University, MIT, Harvard, and other schools across the city
  • For the non-Christian friends that our students are journeying with – that dozens would say “yes” to Jesus this spring
  • For all our students as they decide on their housing for next year – that many would choose to live near freshmen.

Spiritually they are so open…

Posted on November 11th, 2015

The other day I took Jacqui, one of our younger student leaders, with me to meet two Middle Eastern girls.


Jacqui is one of the girls in a Discipleship Group I lead at Boston University on Thursday afternoons. Jacqui is the 3rd from the left in the back row with red hair.

“Amira” and “Adilah” are sisters and they were raised in a part of the world where they were part of an invisible population. Because their parents do not proclaim Mohamed as prophet, they are not allowed to work in most mainstream careers.  In order for Amira and Adilah to get any education beyond high school they had to leave the country.  In order to ever work in their field of study they must never plan on returning to their own country and culture.  Yet here were these two girls sitting before me sharing their stories with Jacqui and me.  They told us that they have been in Boston for over two years and neither one of them have any friends.  They study all the time and dream of someday becoming doctors.  Spiritually they are open – very open – about what they think. However, they don’t yet understand that Jesus is the Son of God.


I’ve blurred their faces for their safety, but don’t you love their smiles!

One of the easiest ways to get into conversations these days on campus is to use a stack of 50 images that we call “Soularium.” I asked the girls to pick an image that described what was currently true about their lives, followed by other questions about what they wish were true about their lives.  Both of them picked images of relationships either with a husband or a group of friends.  The questions continue to get deeper with eventually talking about who they think God is and what they want to be true of their spiritual life.  It was a fascinating conversation that revealed their curiosity spiritually and loneliness in this new country.

As I continue to journey with these two sweet sisters will you pray for Jesus to make himself known to them?  Will you pray for wisdom and discernment on my part as I continue to share about who Jesus is? Will you pray for Jacqui who has faithfully been texting and inviting Amira and Adilah to social events this fall?

Next Wednesday I have invited several other women from the same part of the world over for dinner.  Please pray for great conversations about Jesus as several of my student leaders and I host them for dinner.


We had a great family hike last weekend and enjoyed the tail end of fall foliage here in New England.

Loving our Adventurous Lord,


How to Pray

  • For Amira and Adilah to come to know Jesus
  • For Malisa’s Dinner party next week (11/18) with her Middle Eastern friends – that the conversations would get deep
  • For Brian’s Men’s BBQ this Saturday – that the men would connect well with each other
  • For our family to walk closely with Jesus and to lean into Jesus.
  • For Brian’s mom, Kay as she continues her treatment for ovarian cancer ( for updates).