Heart over Sacrifice//Emma//VCU

This summer has been one of refinement and learning God’s true heart and character. I am a do-er and since becoming a Christian a little over a year ago I get caught up in works. Constantly feeling like I must repay God for what he has done for me and proving that I am worthy of his love and attention by what I do. After “giving my summer to the Lord” I expected to be in a state of spiritual bliss all summer – sitting in Jesus’s lap and enjoying his presence because “look at me God, I chose to serve you this summer.”

I did not realize this was my mindset until about half way through my summer mission with Cru[in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire] when I was plagued by spiritual dryness and just feeling burnt out. I was envious of the girls I was with as they shared how their intimacy with the Lord was growing and growing. “Lord, why? My quiet times have been extra long, I spent extra time on the beach for outreach, I prepared extra for Bible study, I don’t give in to (insert sin struggle here), etc” I thought.  Then I remembered  Luke 10:41 “Martha, Martha…” I immediately blocked that out because I didn’t want to hear it, and Martha might as well be my middle name.

As the summer progressed God continually brought me to a place where I had no choice but walk by the Spirit. After continually trying to earn his love and constantly failing he taught me to press into his grace. He taught me that he wants my heart over my sacrifices. He wants surrender not perfection. 1 Corinthians 13:3 says, “and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing”. I can give all away and do all that I can but God cares about my heart. Not only that but he blesses me according to his grace not according to my performance. He loves me because that’s who he is and he loves me despite my prideful attitude this summer. Falling in love with Jesus feels like actual falling sometimes but this summer has taught me to love freely and rest in his grace.




Hey all! My name is Emma and I am currently a second-semester “super” junior. Meaning I am old and should be a senior by now but life happened so here we are. I am an Exercise Science Major at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. I am a lover of Jesus, fitness and anything that has to do with peanut butter. I am currently training for my next powerlifting competition and I absolutely love how the Lord has used it so powerfully to teach me perseverance through set backs. I also spend most of my time discovering the endless quirks of Richmond with my best friend Roxy, who just happens to be a Doberman.

Something Bigger // JESUS Film // Meg

Last month I was in Orlando & I had the chance to visit & tour Cru’s international headquarters.  Did you know that Cru is part of a larger missions organization praying, reaching every society in corner of the world? Outside of our local Cru movements & Bible studies & discipleship, we have thousands of Cru movements on campuses all over the US.  Then there are thousands of Cru movements at campuses around the world! And that’s just part of our campus ministry.  Add on to that the number of people involved with other Cru ministries reaching military, high schoolers, families, businesspeople, planting churches, even Olympic athletes… the list goes on and on.

I was reminded that we are part of something so much bigger.

The same week that I was touring our headquarters, I hopped onto Facebook & read two encouraging posts made by two girls who are in our Cru movement at VCU.  Both of them are traveling internationally this summer in different countries in Africa sharing the gospel, loving people, praying… it’s been beautiful to watch from afar [and their pictures are incredible… God is the best artist!].

As it so happens, both girls got to experience one branch of Cru called the JESUS film. It’s the story of Jesus through Luke – a film that has been shown for 35+ years, translated into 1200 languages, and one that has been used to share the gospel with hundreds of millions of people & on record, they know of at least 200 million people who have given their lives to Jesus as a result of this film.  Every word that Jesus speaks in the film is a direct quote from Scripture. It’s incredible.


Photo from Sarah’s blog [linked below]

BOTH girls – on summer mission trips with two different organizations – had the opportunity to show the film to people who had [maybe] never heard the gospel before.  Both girls got to experience the story of Jesus in  the heart language of those who watched the film.  Both girls saw people come to Christ as a result.  Two different countries. Same gospel. Lives changed.

I wanted to share with you Kayla wrote in a blogpost reflecting on showing this film because it impacted me so greatly.  She writes:

During our last night there we had a showing of The Jesus Film. Quick side note about this connection- I’m a part of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) at VCU and that film is a project of the ministry as a whole, all around the world. I had no idea [this organization] showed the film until we arrived in the community so I was pleasantly surprised to hear I would be able to experience it, even though I’m not directly a part of a Cru Summer Mission right now. The film is the story of Jesus, the greatest story ever told (imagine Passion of the Christ, but the PG version). The coolest thing about this film is its adaptation to the different cultures around the world. It has been translated into countless languages so the people of Maubone could experience the most incredible story ever told in their native language, Tswana.

Even though I had never seen the film, I knew the story. I’ve known the story for practically my whole life so I went into the viewing with the mindset of simply focusing on praying for the members of this community while they watched. It wasn’t until one of the first miracles was shown and the members began cheering and clapping that I realized- we should never become numb to this story. Making the blind see, raising the dead to life, being whipped for sins He never committed, nailed to a cross, and coming back from the dead to welcome us with open arms. Us, the very ones who nailed Him to the tree by our actions. As the film went on they didn’t stop reacting because to many of them, this was all new. And even to the ones who knew the story, they didn’t sit in silence. They felt the pain of their Savior. They felt the joy when He rose from the dead.

Beautiful. Yes.

This is the story that we’re part of. This is something bigger.

To see the behind the scenes area where the film is translated, prayed over, updated… and then to know that that same week, Sarah & Kayla both had the chance to put what I saw into practice & reach dozens of people with the message of the gospel… I’m reminded of the grace & sovereignty of God.

How cool is it that he allows us to join in on something so much greater with him. Sharing the gospel, here in the United States, overseas in a village that no one has ever heard of, it doesn’t matter.  We’re part of something bigger.

As you close out your summer & look ahead to this year, what might you trust God for? What’s your something bigger that you can be a part of? Maybe you’re looking ahead to next summer, thinking that this summer wasn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Consider [already] going on a summer mission trip, giving a few weeks to share the gospel [& have fun] – internationally. Maybe you’re looking ahead to after graduation. You can be a part of sharing the gospel for a few months, for a year. Cru has internships & you could introduce students to Jesus in the US, or you can go internationally… you can even give a year to travel the world with JESUS film & be a part of seeing the unreached come to know their Savior.

I’m praying for you as the summer winds down & life starts to gear up again. We get so lost & so narrow-focused on the here & now that we too often forget that God has called us to more.  What’s the more he has for you? Ask him & listen. 

Five Things Friday // Go Summer Missions {Meg}

Hi friends!

Happy November! Happy Friday! … Happy GOvember!

I don’t know if you’ve heard the buzz around your movement but this month is “GOvember” meaning we are praying for you and excited with you as you pray about and consider what God is going to be leading you to do on your campus, in your family, with friends, and after you graduate as you GO wherever you GO with the message of Jesus.  Maybe this means God will lead you to step out in faith in sharing your story this month with someone you know.  Maybe this means God will lead you where He wants you after you graduate. Maybe, God will lead you to go on Summer Mission with Cru this summer even if you least expect it…

I’ve heard it said by many staff and I agree with them.  I truly believe that Summer Missions are the best thing that Cru offers for students.  So, if you’re thinking about it, on the fence, or even if you have no idea what Summer Missions with Cru means… here’s my perspective on five reasons to go on Cru Summer Missions for our Five Things Friday post of the week!

1.  Why Not? Why not go with Cru this summer on a Summer Mission? You can go anywhere in the world, and practically anywhere in the US, for 2 weeks, 6 weeks, even 10 weeks to live in an authentic and Biblical community, get a job or participate in some sort of ministry full during your days, share the gospel with coworkers or new friends, and step out of your comfort zone to trust God with the unimaginable.  We call it a “spiritual greenhouse” and there’s a reason – often the growth for students’ personal relationships with God is unparalleled over summer missions than it is at any other point in the year!  So why not consider going? Why not?

2. It’s fun. Some of my favorite memories from when I went on a Summer Mission [OCMD ’09 what up] were the times when we were all sitting on the front porch of the building we shared, goofing off, or when we would go to the beach on Sunday afternoons or when we’d go get ice cream on the boardwalk after a meeting and just laugh the night away.  It was seriously SO MUCH FUN and I’m still close with many of those friends I made there… 6 years later! It’s just fun.

3.  You have 3 summers. Ish. [AmIright?] Three summers during college.  Yeah, you might want to work at a camp [they have summer missions for that] or have to get an internship [okay you can do that while going on a summer mission] and you might have to get a job [okay you can do that too] and you might want to study abroad [wait you can do that too, on mission with Cru]… I really can’t argue with your grandma if she wants you to make it to her 75th birthday party or something while you’d be in Botswana… but really, you have THREE summers during college. ONE could be spent on going on Summer Mission. What can God do in that one summer!? You’d the be the one to get to find that out…

4.  God says GO.  Not “go on Summer Mission” – you won’t find that in the Bible – although we think that’s a great option for your summer… but He says to go into the world, making disciples of all nations. [Check Matthew 28 for more on that!]  You can go in so many ways. You can make disciples at your internships. You can make disciples through your church, through your workplace, in your family… You can make disciples anywhere you are this summer. God will use you anywhere.  However, one of the long-term benefits of Summer Mission is how you will gain so much experience to know how to make disciples and to grow in your heart for the lost in such a unique environment that will set you up [we pray] for a lifetime of walking with Jesus and making disciples wherever He sends you after your years with us are up. He isn’t going to send all of you on Summer Mission this summer, and we know that.  But He is going to send some of you.  And regardless, wherever He sends each one of you, pray and consider going there intentionally.

5.  There’s a lasting legacy that comes from Summer Mission.  Whether you’re folding t-shirts in a souvenir shop on the boardwalk, investing in a local city in an urban context, hiking mountains with your coworkers, or communicating with those who don’t speak your language, God uses Summer Missions to prepare us for a lifetime of walking with Him [see #4].  Time and time again we see students’ hearts come alive to Jesus on Summer Mission, return to campus and make a significant impact there, and then graduate and go out into the world where God uses them to make an eternal impact for His Kingdom.  What will your legacy be? Do you want it to be one of knowing God more, investing in His people, and expanding His kingdom for years to come? Maybe, just maybe, He wants to start building you up in those things this summer… on Summer Mission.

Our challenge to you this week is this: Simply Pray.

Pray and ask God, “What will YOU have me do this summer?” and see where He leads you. It might be where you were expecting.  But it might not. I dare you to pray that prayer, with open hands and open minds/hearts, and listen for God’s answers.

We’re cheering for you.