Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving fun!

We met with our international English discussion group the week before Thanksgiving to share about the true meaning of Thanksgiving [Pilgrims feasted to celebrate all God had provided for them after their first year in the new world. They came here for religious freedom and that was the basis on which our country was founded! Later, during the Civil War, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday to remind people of how our country was founded and the need to give thanks to God]  We also made a few tasty Thanksgiving treats together.....

My creations!

Displaying our handiwork! Maggie got to eat a few more sweets that night
than usual, but she hung in there well! Our int'l friends are from L-R Armenia,
Pakistan, Mongolia, Brazil, and Ivory Coast. Kelsey, who's helping with
Bridges is in the back by Maggie and me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a lot of things to share about and be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but we want you to know that we are especially thankful for YOU! Without your love, encouragement, prayers, and financial partnership with us, the ministry we do would not be possible.  Thank you for entrusting your time and money to God and believing that He will work through us!

We are grateful for you!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Our affectionate name for November.  This month, applications open online for students to start signing up for summer projects for next summer. We've also been doing a lot of world vision sharing, which we LOVE.  This Tuesday, Matt and I spoke at our weekly Cru meeting and challenged students to think a bit on the spiritual state of the world and why its God's heart that ALL people should hear the good news of the gospel. We shared from Romans 10 and got to throw in a bit of our personal experiences overseas as well.  It was fun for us to have that opportunity.

Along those lines, Sunday, November 11 is International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please join us in praying for Christians in these places.  Check out this website for more info on how to pray:

More updates coming soon....including some pictures of Maggie dressed as a cow.... ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

fall retreat and a wedding

We had a bit of a crazy weekend. I carefully organized a lot of things so that Maggie's wonderful grandparents could take care of her at our house as easily as possible. Sweet Maggie. Then we packed and packed....we needed sheets and towels - things one doesn't often need when traveling. On top of that, the same weekend contained the wedding of one of my best friends. Thankfully fall retreat and the wedding weren't too far apart, so I could leave the retreat to get to the wedding rehearsal and Matt could be easily dropped off the next day for the actual wedding. whew!

Once the details and packing were in place, it was a WONDERFUL weekend. Around 100 students from South West MN State, MSU, South Central College, and Bethany Lutheran gathered and grew in their walks with Jesus and in their relationships with each other. I loved watching students stay up late to play games, study the Bible together, sing worship songs.... I love seeing the deepened community now that we're back in Mankato and the excitement at our weekly Cru meeting on Tuesday of students who are reveling in the afterglow of a weekend close to God.

Tyler, a girl in my Bible study tweeted something along the lines of, 'Don't be sad that fall retreat is over, live like its fall retreat.' I love that.  Another girl, Lisa, told me that she'd never experienced God working in her life the way He did over the retreat.

I had some good time to reflect on God's goodness this weekend as I drove between the retreat and the wedding I was in. My friend who got married, Erin, was one of my teammates in Brazil. Though our friendship didn't start out easily in Brazil, she's been a ridiculous blessing my life over the past seven years. It was such a joy to stand with her as she said her wedding vows and married a great guy. Thinking on our friendship led me to reflect on the years I've been working with Cru and the different people and experiences God has blessed me with - and His provision. I'm so grateful.

I'm guessing most people who read this blog have had a part in being those people, being part of those experiences, and contributing to God's provision. THANK YOU!  Thanks for letting me be a little sentimental there ;)

Here is a picture from fall retreat...

Students from the Mankato area who were at Fall Retreat.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We've gotten to have some fun connections with international students this past week. At MSU's homecoming parade, the internationals all walked carrying their respective flags. It was fun to see them representing their countries!

The International Student Association marching in the
Homecoming Parade
On Tuesday in place of our usual English conversation group, we invited students over to our house for dinner. Some came early to prepare foods from their countries and Kelsey, who's helping me with Bridges, and I supplied some American fare.  We loved seeing their excitement at sharing a bit of their countries with us. We got to sample brigadeiros and pao de queijo (cheese bread & little chocolates) from Brazil, dumplings from Mongolia, and a Mexican concoction. Here are some pics of our dinner:

Munkh making dumplings

Our dinner group minus Matt & Maggie

On Saturday, we're taking a group of at least 5 international students to an apple orchard near Marshall, MN.  Kelsey's parents live nearby and her mom graciously offered to make lunch for all of us!  We're excited for another way to connect. Pray for a fun and safe road trip!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Maggie's birthday!

Last week wasn't just a big week ministry-wise, it was also a big week for our little Maggie. She turned 1 a week ago!  Here are some pictures from her birthday...

Maggie started taking some steps around her first birthday, but just today she seems to have taken to walking as her primary form of transportation.  Looks like we're in for some changes!
Walking with the help of her Grandmas

Monkey cake!

She ate a whole monkey ear & loved it!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Gustavus MAZE

Ridiculous. The room at Gustavus College was set up with 400 chairs.  We estimated that about 550 students were packed into the room! As at MSU, most stayed around to hear Jim, the Maze illusionists' testimony. As we sorted comment cards, we counted 96 that had checked that they trusted Christ! Incredible.

Yesterday afternoon, we started calling students from MSU who'd left contact info on their comment cards so we could set up meetings to talk with them about their decision to trust Christ. I got 5 appointments set up already for next week with women who were at the Maze! I'm excited to meet with them and hear what they've been processing and how we can help them grow in their new walks with Jesus.

Praise God for how He used this outreach to touch the lives of so many!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


The ballroom of the MSU centennial student union had 850 seats set up and they were FULL last night for the Maze. As Jim, the performer of the Maze, shared his testimony and offered students the opportunity to trust Christ, 211 students took that opportunity and gave their lives to Christ!

This afternoon, Cru staff and student leaders are gathering at our house to begin calling these students to connect with them, to learn how we can encourage them in their faith, and how we can connect them to Christian community.

The Lord has done a great thing!  The Maze will be again tonight at 7 pm at Gustavus....please pray for a great turn out and for the Lord's name to be lifted high once again!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the MAZE

Its happening right now! I (Kristin) am home with Maggie, but I just texted Matt to see how the turn out was.  He responded that the ballroom is full!  That means 800 MSU students are positioned to hear a powerful gospel message tonight.  Please take a moment to pray as you read this.  More updates to come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pray for the Maze

I (Matt) just wanted to ask that if you get a chance, to please pray for a unique ministry opportunity here. This Wednesday (MSU) and Thursday (Gustavus) nights the Maze will will be performing in front of hundreds of students.  The Maze is a show led by Jim who is an illusionist and also a Christian who is passionate about sharing what Jesus has done in his life.

We have been promoting for the Maze for weeks on campus.  Jim will draw more interest for the evening events by doing "street magic" throughout the campus during the day.  The auditoriums where the Maze will be preforming can seat 800 and 450 respectively.  We are praying that each one of those seats will be filled and that many students will come open to Jim's testimony.

Jim states that the only reason he gets up and tours the country performing is to give an opportunity for many people to hear the Gospel and see how Jesus has transformed his life.  In fact, about an hour into the show there is a short intermission.  He says that anyone is free to go, but for anyone who stays he would like to do a couple more of his illusions and also share about his faith and why it matters so much for him.    

Please pray for this event these next couple days.  Pray for the students coming and for Jim as he prepares for the upcoming days.  Pray that they would clearly hear the Gospel through Jim's testimony.  Pray that we would be able to follow up with students who want to discuss more about faith.

Thank you so much for your prayers!  Blessings

What is a Maze?  A confusing network of massages where a single, interrupted path is the only solution.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

a fun story from yesterday...

Jake (our teammate) and I (Matt) just got done talking to a guy named Garrett. It was a really fun conversation. He came to Cru last night with roommate (his roommate wanted to come because of the Cru cup he got during the first week of class and Garrett was invited by Liz, who's one of our student leaders!). We went through the gospel with him and after we discussed salvation by grace vs by works for a while he realized he had never trusted in Christ before. So, in the Preska lobby he prayed (to himself and the Lord) to trust Christ as his Savior and Lord! Another cool thing is he sounds really excited about Fall Retreat and he went to Facebook and liked Mankato Cru right after our conversation! Praise the Lord for a new brother in Christ.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

the results are in!

These numbers include all Cru summer projects, both stateside and fun that we got to be part of seeing so many lives changed!

4000 (!!!) men and women received Christ through PERSONAL gospel conversations on summer projects around the world! 

Over 7000 men and women received Christ because of hearing the gospel through a GROUP presentation!!

"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12

Friday, September 7, 2012

As I write, Matt is at a root beer kegger that Cru is sponsoring for students tonight to build community and to have some fun together. I'm home (because Maggie is sleeping!) but I have a stack of surveys from international students next to me. We're having a Cru tailgate tomorrow for MSU's first home football game and thought it'd be fun to introduce internationals to 'tailgating' :) I'm going to email them right after I finish this post. I'm pretty sure at least a few are coming so far!

This has been another fun week....our team leader, Jake, shared the gospel clearly during his talk at Cru on Tuesday and invited students to put a check mark on their contact cards if they trusted Christ. Four girls indicated that they had!  I get to meet with two of them on Tuesday. I'm excited to hear more about their decision and to help them get more connected with Cru so they can keep growing in their walks with Jesus. If you think to pray for them, their names are Halley, Shannon, Anna, and Gianna.  Thank you for your prayers! God is moving here around Mankato!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Over Labor Day weekend we had the chance to travel to visit Matt's family in Alexandria. The lake was starting to get cold, but our adventurous daughter loved it anyway! She also took her first step over the weekend! Our world might be changing soon....! Here are some pics...

Friday, August 31, 2012


Reconnecting with girls in my Bible study at the first Cru
meeting. L-R: me, Laura, Eddye, and Tyler
Our family tradition is to have 'celebration breakfast' every Friday morning and celebrate the things we've seen God do throughout the week.  We had a lot to talk about this morning! The first week of classes is coming to a close as students head out of town for Labor day weekend, but it was a great week!  We had our first Cru weekly meeting on Tuesday night and had over 100 students show up. It was fun to meet some new freshmen there as well as reconnecting with students from last year.

One of my favorite things this week was following up surveys that we did the first two nights of school during dinner. Students indicated if they were interested in hearing more about Cru or learning about how to know God personally. We stop by their dorms to chat with them and answer questions. The first girl I talked to was Babie. I was with my friend, Brenda, who will be leading a Bible study in the dorms. Babie had marked that she was interested in Cru and in how to know God personally.  We chatted for a bit and then shared with her how she could come into a personal relationship with God. As we got done sharing, we asked if that was something she wanted in her life and it was clear that God had been working in her already, preparing her to enter into relationship with Him.  Brenda and I had the privilege of praying with Babie to come to know Jesus!  What a sweet moment.  God was so gracious to let us be part of that!  Please pray for Babie as she begins her journey with the Lord.

more updates to come.....!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home Sweet Home

We got back into Minnesota from summer project just a week and a half ago and promptly closed on our new home and moved in. Our last few weeks were full of travel, packing, moving, cleaning, painting, and unpacking. Whew! Its been fun to settle into our new home and to dream about the potential it has. We're located just a few blocks from campus and we have a couple good spaces to invite students into our home and to host Cru events. I (Kristin) am excited to be so close to campus so I can potentially meet with women in our home during Maggie's naps and so we can easily walk or bike to work. We've already gotten to meet a few of our new neighbors and Maggie has managed to explore almost every inch of the main floor of our house - she'd love to give the stairs a try but we're going to hold her off on that for now! Thanks for all your prayers that we would find a good living situation for our family. It seems the Lord has provided a home that's a good fit for us and that will hopefully increase our ministry potential as well!

I also wanted to throw in a few pictures from summer project. Our internet connection wasn't very good in North Myrtle, so I had to hold off on them. Maggie grew A LOT during our time there and started standing and crawling....and learned about the joys of tide pools and eating sand ;)

Pre-sand...loving the beach!

Reaction to eating sand...silly girl!

Maggie and I with the girls in the Bible study that I co-led this summer

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Killing the Giants

We've been on summer project at North Myrtle Beach for 3 weeks now. Each week has a theme of sorts and this week its 'Killing the Giants'. From the story of David and Goliath, students were challenged to come up with 5 'giants' in their lives to 'kill' this week. Some prayerfully set goals to talk with family members or friends who don't know Christ. Others set less tangible goals - trying to overcome spiritual hurdles that are keeping them from knowing God more.  Everyone set numeric goals of how many spiritual conversations they hope to initiate this week as well as how many times they are trusting God for the opportunity to share the gospel. As a project, our goal is 1497 spiritual conversations and 702 opportunities to share the gospel this week alone. A big goal....but a good one!

We challenged students to consider what it would look like if they poured their lives out for the sake of the gospel for a week and to have this be that week. Matt and I have enjoyed the challenge of taking on this mindset as well. We've each spent many hours this week on the beach with students we're working with and with other staff initiating conversations. Just today we each got to talk with people who God had clearly been preparing to hear the message of the gospel clearly. I shared with Sara, who was in a serious car accident in January and just started going to church 2 months ago. As we talked through what it means to know Christ, she admitted that she doesn't have Christ in her life. She didn't trust Christ on the spot, but I feel confident that she will in coming weeks.

Matt shared with a man named Tony, who'd recently experienced some personal hardship as well and was encouraged to hear the message of the gospel clearly. On North Myrtle Beach, Matt had the privilege of praying with Tony to receive Christ!  As I write, its 9:49 pm and Matt just headed out with some guys to continue 'killing giants' and bringing the good news of the gospel to the students who are out partying all around us.

Our project has talked with so many people with such deep desire to know God...its such a joy to be in this place to intersect their lives as the Lord leads us.  Please pray for us for strength and energy and discernment from the Spirit as we trust God for a big goal this week.  Our founder, Bill Bright, defined successful evangelism as "taking the initiative to share the gospel, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leaving the results up to God". We're planting seeds to the glory of God and trusting Him to water them! Our desire is to share hope and see life change.

Friday, May 4, 2012


'uffda' is how I could describe my past month. I (Kristin) have been taking a class online called 'Trinitarianism' to continue my theological and biblical training. There are 8 core classes that Cru requires staff to take within your first 10 years on staff. As I wrap up this class next week, I'll have finished 5 of them! Taking a master's level class, being a mom, and spending around 10 hours per week on campus plus another 10-12 with the team and prepping stuff for campus has kept me a little busier than I'd aspired to be!

I've appreciated the knowledge I've gained through the class and ways I feel I know the Lord more deeply now than when I started. I love seeing the interactions of the persons of the Trinity and how great it is that that is modeled for us, that we might have such selfless interactions with others...its deep stuff and fascinating to dig into.

Things have also ended well on campus - I hope to post more details on that as there are some fun stories involved! Today, however, we're heading to Alexandria, MN for our annual 'MayDaze' conference. This is our regional staff conference for the Upper Midwest region. We'll spend the next 3 days hearing updates on ministry from around the region, catching up with friends who serve in different locations, and taking a chance to breathe a bit now that we're done on campus until fall. A week from today, our little Jetta will be packed to capacity and we'll start the drive to North Myrtle Beach summer project, our summer assignment.  More on that to come!

Until then, enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Today I (Kristin) got to go sharing in the student union at MSU with Nikki, I student I mentor. We tried out a new tool that Cru has developed to start spiritual conversations called Perspectives.  Perspectives is a deck of cards that works a bit like a game. As you ask questions, the person you're talking with chooses cards that represent 1) their view of God 2) what they believe the meaning of life is 3) the nature of man 4) who Jesus is and 5) what their source of spiritual truth is. By the time you're through the deck, their worldview is laid out in front of them.  I love being able to listen well and really understand the person's spiritual background.

We talked with a girl named Maria today. She shared with us that she's an atheist largely stemming from some unfortunate experiences she had with the church growing up. After we heard her answers to each category, we asked if we could share how we would answer.  As we talked through the Christian worldview, she had tons of questions for us about our relationships with God (knowing God in a personal way and experiencing grace were concepts that weren't part of her background), what we believed on various issues as well as what the Bible has to say on various points. It was a great conversation where we got to genuinely hear and engage each other's worldviews.  Pray for Maria as she continues to question. We're planning to meet her again next week to share more.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maggie is 6 months old!

Its amazing how fast babies grow! I can't believe its already been 6 months since Maggie joined our family....and its crazy to think that the tiny newborn who could barely open her eyes has SO much personality now! Maggie loves sitting and exploring. She can stand without our help if she's leaning against something. Her first little tooth is on the verge of breaking through her gum.  We've been going on lots of walks lately with the amazing winter (summer!) weather we've been having.  Matt and I decided to train for a 10K this summer, so guess who gets to train with us? Maggie loves taking in the sights as we run along the (paved!) trails of Mankato...such a fun thing to do together as a family.

I just couldn't resist posting a few pictures of our little sweetie as she celebrates 6 months... ;)

Rice cereal! Maggie's first solid food when she was 5 mos old.


6 month photo shoot at the park - 82 degrees on March 16!

First time swinging...she loved it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Big Break!

We're holding down the fort here in Mankato, but 15 MSU students and 20 Southwest Minn State students and a handful of staff arrived in Panama City Beach, FL on Saturday for Big Break. Please pray for them as they step out in faith to plan outreach events to share Jesus with other spring breakers on the beach. Our students often come back from this conference more confident in sharing Christ with others and excited to share with their friends on campus. Its awesome!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gustavus ministry

Just 12 miles up the road from Mankato lies the town of St Peter, the home of Gustavus Adolphus college. Gustavus is similar in many ways to Augustana, where Matt went to college. There semester just got started 3 weeks ago and Matt's been working to connect with students there. The past two weeks he's had a group of 5-10 students show up for Bible study and this past week he got to meet up with a football player there who says he wants to be a leader in Cru and help get things going.  Praise God for the inroads He's giving us at this campus!  Pray for Matt to have wisdom as he continues to minister there.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brownies, the Holy Spirit, and serving like Jesus

Last night at my (Kristin) dorm Bible study, we talked about how Jesus came as a servant. Then we had a great conversation about things we could do to serve/encourage other people and show them Christ's love. One girl, Brenda, mentioned a friend of hers who recently found out she has cancer and was 6 months pregnant. The baby was delivered early and is ok, but very premature and she's still dealing with cancer. Another girl, Kelsey, mentioned a friend from home who's husband died suddenly from cancer. Brenda asked if our group could make cards to encourage these women, so that's what we did last night at the beginning of Bible study. It was fun to show Christ's love in this small way...and we're excited to find more ways to continue serving as a group.

We also started a new study on the Holy Spirit. It was fun to talk about the Trinity, how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit relate and to dig into what it means for us as believers to be filled with the Spirit. Should make for some great discussion in the weeks to come!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

what did you do for Valentine's day?

We didn't really have any plans since our weekly Cru meeting is on Tuesday nights. I (Kristin) don't usually go since its at 8:30 pm and Maggie goes to bed at 8, but I was planning to take her along this week. Then, around noon on Tuesday,our team leader, Jake, got a call from our speakers (a married couple) that they were sick and couldn't make it to speak. Jake and Matt spent a few hours on Tuesday afternoon putting together questions for a panel (consisting of Matt and me and Jake and his wife, Hilary) on relationships and love to take the place of what the speakers had planned.  I got home from campus at 5 and had a few hours to eat dinner and look over the questions before we headed back to campus (one of our teammates babysat for us!) to be on the panel. Crazy day. It was fun though, to share things that the Lord has taught us through marriage and to encourage students to view love in a biblical way and not in the superficial way our culture promotes it.

Another fun surprise of the night was the thoughtfulness of the guys involved in Cru. They pooled their money and bought enough red carnations to give to each girl there in addition to making pink cupcakes and singing a song up front just to honor their sisters in Christ.  I LOVED watching the girls' surprised and happy expressions as they got their flowers. It was such a treat for them to be pampered by godly men of Cru.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Just a fun testimony of what God's doing on campus here in Mankato - last night we had 79 students at Cru, our weekly meeting!  That is 11 more than have come all year.  We're not all about numbers, but we're rejoicing because it shows that our students are stepping out in faith and inviting their friends and that God is working in students hearts as we talk with them!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sharing with students

Today I (Matt) had the opportunity to get into the freshman dorms with Jake (also on staff with Cru) and follow up with some people who indicated interest from our survey shown in the last blog.

In following up, we had a great conversation with a couple roommates Dominic and James.  These guys were both friends from high school, growing up in southern MN and playing baseball together.  They were really interested in hearing more about Cru and our ministry's involvement on campus.  We talked for an hour or so hearing about their time in college and hearing about where they are at in their faith.

Dominic and James are both now interested in getting involved with Cru and and actively pursuing growing their walk with the Lord at MSU.  When leaving their room, they thanked us for taking the effort to come to their dorm and connect with them on matters of faith.

I believe that there are many students like Dominic and James who want to grow in their faith but have not found opportunity.  Kristin and I have the opportunity to be a light to these students. 

Thank you for your prayers as we work on the MSU campus!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

kicking things off...

We made it back from TCX and are in the swing of things on campus now in Mankato.  Classes just started up yesterday, so we're busy trying to meet as many students as possible.  Matt's working to start a freshman Bible study in Gage, the biggest freshman dorm on campus.  I'm hoping to help one of our part time staff start up a women's study in the same dorm.  Below is a survey we're using to connect with students as they wait in line for dinner...we've found this is a great way to get the word out about Cru and to find students who are spiritually interested.

Please pray with us as we meet new students and have spiritual conversations with them...pray that our words would be Spirit-led and that students would be open to considering Christ.