The summer after my second year of college, I was rudely awakened to the reality that my life was not on a good path. So at the start of the next academic year, I pursued those crazy, slightly annoying, yet joyful “Cru” kids. They seemed to have a joy I once knew.
Immersed in this community, I grew deeply in my walk with God. I determined to do something completely different with the next summer. I applied to a Cru® Summer Mission in inner-city Chicago. Though I was excited, I had no idea what I was getting into.
That summer altered my life forever. I saw God move through leaders in South Chicago in ways that shook me to my core. The gospel of Jesus became present and powerful as I saw local churches faithfully serve in difficult environments. The Kingdom of God began to take shape before me. I remember thinking, “This is what the gospel looks like here.”
My wife Amanda and I have now served with Cru in the inner city since 2006. Amanda has her own story of how God formed her heart for this work, but I can trace mine directly to Cru Summer Mission in Chicago.
For years we hosted groups of students in Seattle so they too could experience how God is working in our urban communities. We saw students come alive while serving “the least of these.” I’m encouraged to think back on how their lives were altered, too. Also exciting is following former students as they continue to live out their convictions.
Over time, however, hosting these summer groups became increasingly trying. Due to various constraints and transitions, we had to stop these for a time. But this year we felt God prompt us to resume hosting a Summer Mission in Seattle, and we are stepping out in faith to do so!
Initially, we faced significant questions: How things would look this time? What about the substantial obstacles we did not have solutions for? Though we have not always known how certain aspects would come together, God has been putting the pieces in place!
To our amazement, God led us to a like-minded outfit called Serve Seattle, which also organizes summer ministry trips for college students. We’ve agreed we should partner together on this! Working with them has increased my excitement for what our students will experience this summer! What started as “How in the world are we going to pull this off?” became “This is going to be our best Summer Mission yet!” Isn’t that just how God works?
Chris Millheisler serves as the city director for Cru Inner City Seattle/Tacoma.
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