About the size of a small hotel room, a Mongolian ger (a circular tent) transforms into a theater for the “JESUS” film. Though a few nomads in the country have televisions, they are often far from a source of electricity. So, the film team brought a generator. In 2000, teams of mostly college students began taking the film to nomadic herdsmen during the summer. As of May 2020, around the world, more than 570 million people have come to faith in Jesus after watching these films, now available in more than 1,800 languages.
The Mission Moving Forward
Guy Gerrard, Greg Schneider, Tom Mills, Ted Wilcox
Whether through a dialogue between students on their way to class or a man overhearing a conversation about Jesus from a nearby table in a coffee shop, the good news of Christ spreads in numerous ways.
The gospel moves forward through God’s people. It reaches the broken and lost. It travels to those who have never heard about Jesus. The Finishing the Task network reports that over 3,000 unengaged people groups have heard the gospel since 2005. And according to the Joshua Project, more than 7,000 people groups in the world remain without access to the gospel.
As Jesus has called His followers to go and make disciples of all nations, people hop on their bicycles or take their seats on a bus to tell others about a love that saves. You, too, can use the gifts and resources that God has specifically provided to reach those around you.
Take a visual wander through images that reveal how the gospel has moved in the past and how it continues to advance.
A crowd from the Borana people group, a semi-nomadic tribe in Ethiopia, gathers to watch the “JESUS” film. Kia Dureti Dida, a “mobile missionary” from among them, traveled to this village and others, bringing the message of Christ through the movie translated into their heart language.
Riding on the wheels of his longboard, Ryan Penley surveys the University of Maryland campus. Ryan and his wife, Jenny, relaunched the Cru® movement on campus. As Cru directors, they lead the staff team and mentor students to help them grow in their faith and share the good news of Jesus with others. Students involved with Cru communicate the gospel among the student body of 31,000 undergraduates from 50 states and 123 countries.
Kristel Jürgens, a national team leader of Agape Estonia, as Cru® is called there, gives highlights of the resource The Significant Woman at the Heartbeat Tallinn conference in Tallinn, Estonia. The Significant Woman is a life-coaching discipleship resource that directs women toward personal discovery and helps them understand their mission as they seek to take the gospel to the world.
Pastor Sahr Kamanda rides a motorbike the few minutes from his home to the church he leads in Sierra Leone, although he normally walks. Sahr and his team have planted churches across the northeast province of the country through Global Church Movements with Great Commission Movement, the name for Cru® in Sierra Leone. Sahr desires to see churches spread across their whole region, across borders, across tribes, creating something beautiful.
Jude Daniel pedals his bicycle through the crowded streets of London toward the London School of Economics and Political Science, one of the leading social science universities in the world. Jude led the student ministry in London among culturally diverse students who may go to other nations and become leaders. He fought against time, as many students complete their degree in three years. “This campus really affects the world,” he said. “And that’s my prayer, even now, to see people go into missions, even as students, and be involved in missions once they graduate as well.”
David Robbins, a Cru® staff member, meets with Nick, whom he mentored, in New York City. David served as a leader of Cru’s city ministry to young adults. The team in New York City reaches millennials, seeking to connect them to Jesus and His people. They desire to see young adults reflect Christ and reach others wherever they are, whether at work, home or play. Cru City exists in 35 cities across the U.S. David now serves as president of FamilyLife®.
Dr. Chris Peoples visits his patient Charlene and sings for her a mix of traditional hymns and modern worship songs. Chris belonged to a four-year program run by Christ Community Health Services in Memphis, Tennessee, where young doctors learn to address both the physical and spiritual health of patients. Chris’ faith began shaping his career in medical school when he joined the Medical Strategic Network, an affiliate ministry of Cru®. He worshipped, prayed and shared Christ with the patients he encountered in their hospital rooms.
Yura Park, second from right, rides the train to Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, amid commuters talking, texting and listening to music. As a staff member with Korea Campus Crusade for Christ, as Cru® is known in South Korea, Yura accepted an hour-long commute so she could begin spiritual conversations with students. She used short films to connect them to Christ in an environment where they’re tethered to their electronic devices.
Dawn Michal coaches softball at Fishers High School in Fishers, Indiana. She and her husband, Mark, led a Cru® high school movement there. Dawn believes the most strategic places in which to invest her energy and explain the gospel are public high-school campuses.
Pearl Willis leads a group of children on a walk to a playground on the South Side of Chicago. She gives high school, college and low-income working mothers the chance to find employment or attend school. Pearl takes care of their children through her free day-care ministry called Roseland Community Good News Daycare, which partners with Cru®. Mothers attend her Bible study or meet with her one on one.
Donnie Begay (far left), national director of Nations®, prepares fry bread with students at New Mexico State University. Nations, the ministry of Cru® for Native American students, seeks to create a family atmosphere and carry the message of Christ in a way that resonates with their culture.
After making a sandwich for 9-year-old neighbor Manahel, Peter Eversmeyer tunes his guitar for an afternoon lesson while talking with his wife, Andrea. Peter and Andrea resided in an apartment complex in one of Portland, Oregon’s most troubled communities. They lived with a mission to make it a place of peace for neighbors in the area.
Jeanette Lee (right) prays with two of her teammates on a Cru® summer mission trip in San Francisco, California, as they prepare to initiate spiritual conversations with students. They spread out Soularium® cards, an evangelism tool used to get to know people and spark discussion about the gospel. Jeanette led other students who were involved with Epic Movement®, a ministry of Cru focused on equipping Asian American college students to take the message of Jesus to the world.
Marcheta Jones (far right) spends informal time with high school women doing everyday tasks like shopping. While a staff member with Cru®’s high school ministry, Marcheta mentored these women, equipping them to follow Jesus through the trials of inner-city life in Houston, Texas.
Tanzanian women work in a garden using drip irrigation. Unto™, the humanitarian arm of Cru®, and Dismas Shekalaghe, the national director for Life Ministry (as Cru is known there), formed a partnership to build wells and plant churches in Tanzania. Dismas recognized that clean water leads to worship in Jesus, particularly in Tanzania. Unto works alongside Dismas and his team of local pastors to dig wells, begin communal gardens and distribute resources, like food, clothes, shoes and school supplies.
Cathy Thompson (left), who started the Ask Mom outreach (known as “Ask Mom Now” on Facebook) at the University of Central Florida in Orlando in 2005, talks with student Minde Hinde. Cathy and her team of moms dole out motherly wisdom and cookies in UCF’s “Free Speech Zone” on Wednesdays. They aim to form redemptive relationships with students and plant seeds of faith that God will grow with time.
A Christian in Sierra Leone shows a clip from the “JESUS” film. Using smartphones and tablets, the film can go to new places and be viewed by new audiences. In 2019 alone, the Jesus Film® app has been downloaded nearly 62,000 times.
During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, boys receive free haircuts at a festival booth. Pastor Elisio Roza, church members and Athletes in Action® staff members hosted festivals, which included games, sports, food, entertainment and free basic medical screenings. They drew hundreds of people from surrounding communities over the course of several hours. The events also served as a platform for church members to talk to locals about Jesus.
Former Olympian Lorna Johnson instructs hurdler Brandon Keys during a track practice at University High School in Orlando, Florida. Lorna mentored college students for 37 years as a full-time staff member with Cru® and coaches high schoolers as a volunteer, dedicating herself to helping students see success both on and off the field in the midst of challenges.
American middle- and high-school wrestlers grapple with the Genco Wrestling Club at an arena outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital and largest city. On a trip sponsored by Athletes in Action®, the students traveled to Mongolia, where they competed with Mongolian wrestlers and shared the gospel.
How have you seen the gospel moving and spreading recently?
Rachel serves as a journalist with Cru®. She grew up in Minnesota, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a degree in journalism in 2014, and has since lived across the country and overseas. She loves sharing real-life stories.
As the photo administrator for the photography team with Cru®, Conda tracks thousands of photos and supplies Cru ministries with photos for their projects. Originally from South Dakota, she enjoys wide open spaces. Since making Florida her home, she’s swapped open spaces with searching beaches for seashells and eating frozen yogurt.
Guy isn’t much of a city person. Paddling down the Wda river in northern Poland with participants of a Cru® summer mission project describes a great place for him to photograph. He likes being outside, doing anything with water, and he enjoys making things with his hands. Guy serves as a photographer for Cru.
Tom is a photographer with Cru®. He loves seeing beautiful sights out of airplane windows and enjoys meeting new friends all over the world. His wife, Karen, travels with him whenever possible, which makes every trip even better. Tom has been photographing for more than 40 years.
Ted loves zigzagging the globe, capturing photos and stories of what God is doing. Originally from California, he serves as a missionary photojournalist with Cru® in Orlando, Florida. Ted also ministers to international scholars who come to Orlando to study.