The middle of July was a whirlwind of activity as we prepared to fly to Colorado for Cru19, the biennial gathering of all U.S. Cru staff members at Colorado State University. Once we arrived on campus on July 19, things didn’t slow down. We stayed busy going to main sessions in Moby Gym, as well as seminars and workshops that were held throughout the week. We also had the pleasure of visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in a couple of years, as well as Larry’s brother, who is also a Cru staff member serving in Seattle, WA.
The theme of Cru19 was “Be●cause,” meaning that we were gathering to celebrate together the cause that God has called us to and the fact that God also wants us to be . . . be in His presence and be in love with Him.
One of the most encouraging reports we heard at Cru19 came from the JESUS Film Project, a Cru ministry that is celebrating its 40th anniversary since being launched in 1979.
It is the story of Carlos, a missionary who moved to Europe, and Rasheed, a Muslim man who fled the Middle East and arrived at the same country as Carlos. Carlos was walking by a refugee camp one day and felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go into the camp and share the Gospel, but he ignored that prompting and went home. The Holy Spirit, however, didn’t stop with that one prompting. Throughout the night He continued prompting Carlos to go back to the camp. As soon as the sun rose, Carlos got out of bed and went to the camp. A man named Rasheed approached him, and they began a friendship that would have an eternal impact.
Rasheed was 29 years old, and he and his wife had three small children. The whole family subsisted on $4 a day from whatever he could scrounge from the garbage and sell.
Over the course of several months Carlos shared with Rasheed and showed him the JESUS Film on Rasheed’s old cell phone that he had to connect to a car battery. It took him two days to show him the film, but at the end of the movie Rasheed said, “If I was alive when Jesus was on earth, I know that I would have followed him, but I’m a Muslim, and it’s impossible for me now.”
About a week later Rasheed was in a desperate situation. The buyer of all the scrap metal refused to pay him for a couple of days, and as a result, Rasheed’s family went without food for three straight days. On the third night, as Rasheed’s children were crying themselves to sleep from hunger pains, Rasheed lay on the bed and called out to God and said, “I know that You are real, and I know that what I saw in that movie was real, and if You can feed 5,000 people, You can feed my family.”
Thirty minutes later Rasheed’s old phone rang. It was Ali, the grocery store owner calling him at 12:30 a.m. “Rasheed, can you come and do a special delivery with me?” Rasheed replied, “I would love to, but I can’t afford a taxi to get to you.” Ali said, “No problem, I’ll meet you at the gate.” Thirty minutes later Rasheed met Ali, and Ali had his groceries all piled up in the back of his van. Before they started delivering the groceries, however, Ali told Rasheed, “I thought you and your family should have this gift.”
Rasheed only barely dared to hope that there would be some bread left over for his family after the end of all the deliveries, but as he opened up the back of the van, he saw boxes stacked up to the top. As he carefully opened a box, he looked inside and saw a loaf of bread and a fish. Immediately he remembered Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand. Even though it was 1:30 a.m., he woke up everyone in the camp, because it was not just his family that was starving. After feeding everyone in the camp, there was still bread and fish left over!
The next day when Rasheed saw Carlos, he told him, “I want to follow Jesus, tell me how. I’ve already started telling everybody about Him!”
We were grateful to hear other examples at Cru19 of what God is doing around the world through Cru ministries. Now that we have returned home from Colorado, we also feel privileged to get reports of what God is doing through our own Cru Resources ministry to reach people with the Gospel. Thank you for your partnership with us in helping fulfill the Great Commission!