Wendy Gasterland will always remember that Sunday at church.
A mom to two high school girls, she witnessed the changed lives of high school students as they shared about leading their classmates to Christ at an outreach called “My Story” at Eden Prairie High School.
She wanted to see such an impact at her local high school in Chaska, MN, located in the southwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
But she was just one mom. Could she really make it happen?
Not on her own.
Wendy’s daughter Rachel had started a Cru ministry at Chaska High from a Bible study she was leading on campus. Fueled by their vision to reach the entire school, Wendy and Rachel began seeking coaching and resources to pull off the “My Story” outreach. It included a local hip hop band, college athletes and select high schoolers sharing their faith story with their classmates in the school’s theater.
Wendy often felt under-equipped and unsure of what to do next. What she did know was that she needed help, so she sought coaching and support from Jackie Price, a mentor and coach with Cru’s high school ministry. Wendy also used resources already created by her church, which had successfully sponsored “My Story” events at 3 other schools. Fellowship of Christian Athletes at their school also agreed to partner with them.
Wendy served alongside of the students, soliciting the support of the principal and other community leaders. She opened her home to host student planning meetings. Wendy’s church and a teacher sponsor provided key leadership with planning, finances and connecting with local contacts. Another local church provided pizza for an “after party”.
Wendy would be the first to tell you that her primary contribution was behind the scenes. “We could not have done this without all four of these components,” said Wendy, referring to the partnership between FCA, Cru and two local churches.
The night of the event, 500 students attended, and 50 indicated that they placed their trust in Christ. Yet Wendy said the impact far surpasses those numbers.
“What happened to the kids who planned the event was life changing,” said Wendy. “The student leaders from FCA and Cru worked together toward the common goal of reaching people for the Lord.”
“These kids will never be the same,” says Jackie, Wendy’s coach. “One parent came to me afterward and said, ‘I’d like to do something in the junior high.’
Wendy now sees herself as someone who can lead and coach others. “I hope to be able to help other Cru groups pull off a ‘My Story’ event in their local high school.”
God gave Wendy a burden and a vision. As we walk with Him He does that for all of us. For Wendy, to act on that vision it meant taking some simple steps.
Held around the U.S. in late December, Cru Winter Conferences seek to connect college students to Jesus.
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