I fell in love with Jesus my
sophomore year in college.  I thought I
loved him before that, and maybe in some ways I did, but something happened in
me when I was 20 that changed me to the core. 
Perhaps it was my RA, Monica, who led me in a bible study and was so raw
and authentic with her own struggles that mine didn’t seem so scary to talk
about.  For whatever reason, God became
so real to me and I haven’t been the same since.  I also haven’t been able to walk away from
college ministry after 15 years.  I’ve tried.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  Raising support isn’t high on my list of, “Yes,
please let me do this forever!” However, God has always provided.  This week as I begin another year serving the
staff and the 1 million college students of the Mid-south region, I am praying
and thinking about all of you who serve tirelessly and HARD! So let me give a
shout out to my brothers and sisters on campuses all over the USA. 
Here’s to the endless string of staff meetings to decide
whether or not to do survey tables or freshmen move-in!  To the staff (Brent Jordan) who faithfully
buys ice cream scoops every year for the freshmen ice cream social! Here’s to
the long quiet times everyone on the team will have to have because they are
frustrated that for the 6th year in a row no one knows where the ice
cream scoops are.  They are probably with
the extra socks that come out of the dryer. 
Cheers to the staff that stay up until 1AM cleaning up from
the dance party where your students mingled with newbie’s and shared the love
of Jesus with someone for the first time. To the staff who try and find a room
for any event on campus, SHALOM to you, my friend.  Blessings to the minister who is known by first
and last name, date of birth, blood type and Myers-Brigg by every Kinko’s
worker in a 50 mile radius.  When the
employees have a cart ready and waiting for you at Sam’s and Costco, you have
truly arrived.

For every staff member who has hauled around boxes of
bananas in your car for Fall Retreat, grace to you (and to your car).  It won’t take you long to realize that is a
job you pass off to new staff EVERY YEAR. It’s an unspoken.  Another unspoken? How much you SWEAT the
first six weeks of school. It’s no joke, people. 
Abundant grace over the phone calls you make to try and set
up appointments with students.  “Hi, this
is Beth  with Cru and I’d love a chance to
get together and tell you little bit about what we’re about.  Do you have time to get together this week?”
(Pause.)  “No? How about next week?”
(Pause) “No? How about after Labor Day?” (Pause.) “No? How about April 23rd
at 2PM?”  It’s not me, it’s you.

For all the times you get the shaft when you are passing out
Red Bull’s and Bible’s….you’re still cool. 
Or not.  Stop wearing your shirts
tucked in and see how that works for you.  

As you meet with that freshmen who stares at his shoes or
texts the whole time you are with them, remember that they could come on staff
one day and be a world changer.  For
example, my girl Jill. I met her as her parents drove up in a van and we unloaded
her stuff into her dorm, along with the brooding boyfriend.  Jill and I met and I was telling her about Cru
and talking about Jesus and she was eating ice cream and said, “Well, I’m
Lutheran and I’m gonna stay that way.” 
Well, good for you, Jill.  Jill is
in fact on staff, has a kid, pours out her life and I’m not sure if she’s
Lutheran or not, but she sure does love Jesus. 

Then there are moments like this:

These freshmen, four years later just might link arms and go
after it for Jesus with all their hearts. 
God will use YOU to teach them to be honest, to ask the hard questions,
to love them in their mess, challenge them to think of others, teach them to
share their faith, watch them begin to invest in others, see them give their
future to a life of ministry no matter what the vocation, stand with them in their
weddings, will hold their babies, and watch them continue to run.  To think that it all started with buying ice
cream scoops for a social.  RUN HARD MY
FRIENDS!! Running with you……….

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