We are so glad to be back home. After a month on the road, and it feels so nice to sleep in our own bed, to read the mail the day it comes and, yes, even to look at the brick wall of the condos next door as I work at the dining room table.
The past month was wonderful though, as it was spent with family and with friends from around our region. We visited our families all over Pennsylvania, spent a week in Baltimore staffing a student conference (â€œRADIATEâ€ â€“ more details to come on our website) and trekked to Mississippi for an abnormally cold week with Carrieâ€™s family and newborn niece. Thatâ€™s a total of about 2,725 miles and 43 driving hours, and despite it all Carrie and I still love each other and life â€“ itâ€™s a miracle!
Families â€“ I Like â€˜em
I feel like I live life with two families. Iâ€™m not talking about mine and Carrieâ€™s, but our biological-legal family and our Campus Crusade staff-family. I feel like each one teaches me how to live with and appreciate the other better.
Last week my step-sister wrote on her blog about a rabbi who spoke of God using our families to teach us how to live with people that we may or may not like but to whom weâ€™re bound. (The irony is not lost on me that she and I didnâ€™t get along very well when we were younger; we do now.) This holiday season was strange â€“ I enjoyed our bio-legal family even more than usual, but due to some miscommunications had a harder time with our staff family which has almost always been easy and fun for me. Of course, no truly close family becomes so without some hard conversations, right?
Home Away From Home
As I write, it strikes me that my first evening back on campus included catching up with four students about their breaks only to hear of four uniquely difficult home stories revolving around fathers who have been various combinations of selfish, abusive, absent, withholding and unpredictable.
Given that talk of community and family metaphors find their way quite often into our conversations of faith, would you pray with us that this movement of students, staff and volunteers here in Washington, DC would be one that feels like a healthy family â€“ full of those committed to be gracious and truthful to one another even as affections and annoyances come and go?Â One of the students above has yet to publicly confess faith in Christ, but recently mentioned feeling more real community at Cru than any of the other groups he frequents, and that something â€œclickedâ€ at our last dinner.
Pray that God uses this â€œfamilyâ€ not as an alternative or escape from realities at home, but as a glimpse of the restorative power of God that revives hope and trust where itâ€™s been wounded, and as a practice ground that turns us all into family men and women for decades to come!
Good follow-up to decisions made at RADIATE â€“ of the ~900 attendees, 30 students around the region decided to make it official with following Jesus, and 149 wanted to dedicate at least one year of their lives to full-time mission work. Go ahead & say it. Wow.
Upcoming spring break conference for students and our summer placement â€“ our destination is currently uncertain, as we are waiting on a decision from our leadership.
The 2 staff families in Haiti, as well as several â€œJESUSâ€ film teams in Port Au Prince.