“The Vision Conference answered a lot of questions I had."
623 international students representing 59 nations gathered for the Vision Conference in Austin, TX over Winter Break, invited by Cru’s Bridges Ministry to come and glory in their respective ethnic cultures while considering the facts of the Christian faith. 45 of these students hailed from Cru’s Northeast Region.
Hopeful of gaining the trust of these young men and women, far away from home and the familiar, our Bridges staff percolate on creative ideas.
“This fall we organized a trip to Wal-Mart,” said Lorenna, Cru missionary at Brown University. International students new to Brown found out about the trip through “The Morning Mail” campus newspaper. A dozen or so students piled into Cru staff’s cars for the expedition, wide-eyed and testing this new country, these new … friends?
Kay, a first generation Chinese American, identified with the Bridges at Brown group, though not international herself. Weekly the group would meet in the home of Cru Bridges staff, exploring various cuisines, sharing highs and lows, interacting over questions like, “What is beauty in your culture?”
Though Kay kept coming back to Bridges events - even bringing her roommate - deciding to go to Austin’s Vision Conference testifies to the trust engendered by Brown’s Bridges leaders. Lorenna relates:
Kay came with reservations. “People from bridges seem to talk about religion a lot,” she had told me a number of weeks before she had decided to accept our invitation to the Bridges conference. As we sang worship songs and heard about how Jesus didn’t come to the save the righteous but to save sinners, I was sure she was at best, offended, and at worst, checking out of the conference. However at the end of the week, Kay asked me about free will. Then she asked me about original sin. Finally she asked what Christians believe about people like her who have worked their whole lives to do good, without God. I could see that she had learned a lot in her seminars, which were especially crafted to make it comfortable for those seeking answers. My fears had not been realized; her walls were farther down, and Kay was now able to grapple with deep questions. I trust God to continue to spark questions in Kay and bring her the answers to show her the eminence and beauty of our wonderful Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
Along with Kay, Brown brought internationals from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to Austin, including a Cambodian student, who commented, “The Vision Conference answered a lot of questions I had.”
Service. Social Connecting. Spiritual Conversations. You can bet that NE Cru staff at Columbia, NYU, BU, Northeastern, Bentley, UNH, Brown, URI, UMass Dartmouth, U Buffalo, RPI, all of whom sent students to Austin, embody this mantra for welcoming internationals onto their campuses.
Recent stories of God's handiwork on campuses throughout the Northeast and the world.