Tess (left) and Kelsey Jo reunited unexpectedly at Lake Tahoe. image courtesy of Jamie Bruce

Reunion at Lake Tahoe

Tess and Kelsey-Jo are unknowingly reunited at a Cru summer project

Amber Wiley

Tess Baker was 1 of 70 college students that were in Lake Tahoe this past summer for a Cru summer project.

A junior at the University of Montana, Tess had been hoping to go to East Asia. When plans changed, she was apprehensive about why God had sent her to Lake Tahoe.

“I was nervous,” Tess says, “but I knew God had a plan.”

When Tess showed up at the Lake Tahoe camp, a familiar face greeted her when she walked in her cabin, “Hey, I’m Kelsey-Jo!” Smiling, Tess exclaimed, “I know, I have your number in my phone!”

“You are the very reason that I even know about Cru!” Kelsey-Jo declared to Tess.

Tess took a step of faith during her spring break in 2011 when she went on an Urban Immersion trip to Portland. It was her fist time boldly initiating spiritual conversations with strangers. It was on this trip that she met Kelsey-Jo. Tess went to a mall one day to talk with people. She met Kelsey-Jo, talked for a while and planned to meet for lunch the next day at Portland State University.

The next day during lunch, Tess had the opportunity to talk more with Kelsey-Jo about her faith in Christ. The conversation quickly turned to spiritual things and before the women knew it, 2 hours had passed.

Kelsey-Jo was very open about her faith and was hoping to find a group of Christians on campus. She desired to grow more in her faith in Jesus, but didn’t know how. Tess put her in touch with local Cru staff members so she could visit the next Cru meeting on campus.

When Tess left Portland, the women did not keep in touch.

Now, more than a year later, the women were on the same summer project as roommates.

After hearing Tess’s story, Kelsey-Jo was encouraged to go check out the Cru movement on her campus in Portland. She not only went to the Cru meeting but she brought friends with her.

Kelsey-Jo began attending Cru and would meet with staff member Rachel Rowlison on a regular basis. Then, after a few months, she decided to attend the Lake Tahoe project, not knowing that Tess would also be there.

“I challenged her to go to Lake Tahoe because I knew it was the next step for her,” says staff member Rachel Rowlison. “She felt the Lord leading her to go and made some sacrifices, including quitting her job.”

God encouraged both Kelsey-Jo and Tess on the first day of summer project as they unpacked and settled into their dusty cabins. He continued encouraging them over the next 10 weeks as they learned how to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus and talk with others about their faith.

“Many of my mornings and evenings were spent with Kelsey-Jo in discussion about topics we were learning and ways we were being challenged,” recalls Tess. The young women were learning a lot about how to live lives characterized by grace and truth. “We both came at issues from different perspectives,” says Tess, “so it was enlightening to hear her thoughts each day. If I ever needed a fresh perspective, I could go to Kelsey for some great discussion. I think she felt the same, too.”

The women continue to be in touch and are involved with their Cru ministries on campus, meeting with staff members, attending Bible studies and making efforts to communicate their faith in Jesus with friends and family.

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