Campus minister shares thoughts from good, but not easy, first year
Globalscope campus minister Stephen Krieger shared this thoughtful essay in the newsletter he and wife Hillary wrote about their adventures during the past year with the Canvas team in Birmingham, England.
The Kriegers are in the US now raising support to return to continue their service. You can go here to learn more about them and help support their ministry!
I opened up my notebook today and found a note I didn’t write.
That notebook is filled with to-do lists, sketches, and scribbled notes I no longer understand. But all those notes and lists are now useless, because the events and meetings they came from are over and gone. Useless, except as reminders of what we did to connect with students and point them toward Jesus.
A friend recently told me to focus on the payoff moments. The moments that make days, weeks, and months of work worthwhile. The moments that make sense of all the little scribbles and to-dos scattered through those notebooks. So, in hopes of making sense of what you have supported over the last 9 months, here are some payoff moments:
- The day a student I had been spending time and discussing deep stuff with said, almost offhandedly, “I mean, I could see Jesus being the way to God…”
- When a guy who hadn’t really shown up all year got a little sentimental at our grad dinner and thanked each staff member at Canvas for what they do.
- Hearing a student give advice he’d read from a book I gave him.
- Seeing a student who got baptized invite her unchurched friends to the baptism, and then getting to hang out with them.
- Having two guys who always said they were busy through term show up every day for the last two weeks, just to hang out.
- Hosting a team from Flatirons, our home church in Colorado.
- The day I realized that I really do feel sent and supported by all of you.
- Seeing students love our daughter, and getting to be a good, loving father to Ellie around those students.
- Looking back on a year where God has pushed me, challenged me, overwhelmed me, and opened my eyes to a lot of things; looking back on it and being able to say I’m glad we came here.
- Finding a note I didn’t write.
The note I found was from Hillary.
This year has been good, but not easy. God has worked on me and I’m sure through me, but at times that work has been difficult, painful, and even scary. I’m sure I haven’t laughed enough or enjoyed things enough, because sometimes I just get weighed down by the tough stuff and miss those payoffs and forget a few truths that are bigger than my bad days.
So, Hillary gave me a reminder. A really good reminder. I’ll share it with you only because it’s true for you, too. (And because I want to brag on my wife.) Here’s the note I found:
What matters is this:
You are loved by a good Father.
You are a good man.
You are doing enough.
Our life is good.
A superhero-themed banquet helped celebrate the end of another great year of ministry at Globalscope’s En Vivo campus house in Salamanca, Spain, reports campus minister Dan Dillard.
“We often are asked by the students how this ministry is possible, and I always tell them that we have a lot of amazing friends who generously donate to keep us running and make a place like this possible for you,” said Dan.
Many of the activities this semester centered on the ministry’s REACCIONA campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking.
“The Salamanca Love Race in February kicked off the campaign,” said Dan. “We raised money and awareness through the race and got people interested in the other activities.”
They followed the race up with two very successful, related activities in March: a movie night in the local public library featuring a film about a young woman forced into prostitution, and a conference at the university with a panel of guest speakers who deal with human trafficking in Spain from different perspectives.
“These two events, along with other movie forum nights at the En Vivo house, came about thanks to the hard work and dedication of our students to this cause that has captured their attention,” said Dan. “Thanks to their efforts, many people were able to heart about this terrible international problem. By the end of this campaign we were able to donate about $650 to Proyecto Perla, an organization that helps victims in the south of Spain and Morocco.”
Another major event for the team this semester was the annual spring retreat in mid-April in the mountains near Madrid.
“Every year we go there to play a game of guys vs. girls ‘flamenco soccer’ (guys on one leg) and talk about what the Bible has to say to us regarding relationships,” said Dan. “Guest speaker Dan Hollingsworth from Madrid provided a dynamic retreat where the students could talk about their own experiences and consider what God has to say about it.
“It was the first retreat for many of those in attendance, but we are hoping for many more!” added Dan.
The Globalscope team in Birmingham, England, made some major changes in its programs in January, and as a result, they are seeing God do amazing things, report Canvas campus ministers Derrik and Abby Sanders.
“One of the biggest changes is in letting our students take over some of our events,” said Abby. “We took a major risk in allowing our student serving group to be completely responsible for our Thursday event, Hangouts. This includes cooking for 50 people and planning the structure and activities for the night.”
This serving group is made up of eight students at varying points in their faith journeys, and they are very intentional about making sure that the events have options for all types of people.
“They are sculpting Hangouts to be truly what they and the students want and desire,” said Abby. “So far it has been a huge success each week.”
The team also wanted to allow the Christian students to have the opportunity to really stretch their faith, so they re-structured the Canvas church service – held every other Monday night – so that the students can eventually lead the whole event.
“They are involved in leading the time of communion and offering right now, but soon they will lead in worship and facilitate the teaching,” said Abby. “We changed the sermon into a short teaching time followed by break-out groups. This is much less daunting for a student to facilitate.”
The team has been excited to see the changes in the ministry and the students’ lives as a result of these program development.
“It is such a joy to watch these students step out and be pushed beyond their comfort zones to lead their peers in their journeys of faith,” said Abby.
It was a windy, rainy day in Salamanca, Spain, but 180 runners still showed up for the Second Annual Salamanca Love Race sponsored by the Globalscope En Vivo campus ministry on Feb. 13.
“We had more than double the attendance of last year,” said campus minister Dan Dillard. “They ran a 5K race from the Roman Bridge, through the historic center of Salamanca, past the Cathedral and back again.”
The race marked the kick-off of a semester-long campaign of awareness called “REACT,” that will include screening and discussing movies and documentaries that address the problem of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
“We’re also holding a conference on March 9 with guest speakers and presentations on the subject of trafficking,” added Dan. “We’re excited to see our students become so passionate about this important cause and working to make a difference in the world.”
Who will God invite next to be a part of His story? Christine Barber, a campus minister at Canvas in Birmingham, England, was amazed by a series of connections sparked by recent visit to Tübingen, Germany, to visit her friend Robin. Here’s her story:
I moved from America to England to work at Canvas, met Robin and we became BFF’s. She met Jesus and decided to move to Germany to share His love with university students at Unterwegs, the Globalscope campus ministry in Tübingen. Robin randomly met Lena and invited her to Cafe English at Unterwegs. Lena came, and has been a part of the community there ever since. Mari was born in Italy, eventually moved to Germany, met Lena at school and they became friends. Mari goes to the university in Freiburg, came to Tübingen for the weekend to visit Lena, went to Unterwegs to check it out, and then found out that a brand new Globalscope location is opening at her university in Freiburg this coming year!
How cools is that?! Four girls from four different countries meet, become friends, and have one thing in common: Globalscope! Once again I’m left in awe of the fact that God decided to choose an ordinary person like me (and you) to play a part in His extraordinary story!
Students in the En Vivo campus ministry are making some noise in Salamanca, Spain, to raise the community’s awareness of the scourge of human trafficking.
“Many of our students are moved by problems they notice in the world today,” said leadership team member Virginia Guimaraes. “The issue of human trafficking in particular has grabbed their attention this year, so our student leadership group, ‘The Nucleus,’ has launched an awareness campaign called ‘REACT.’ ”
The team is organizing a variety of activities, including film nights to showcase documentaries on trafficking and workshops at the universities. The biggest event, a 5K run called The Second Annual Salamanca Love Race, will be held on Feb. 13 to coincide with Valentine’s Day, and will raise funds for anti-trafficking groups that work with victims.
“It truly takes the whole town to make something like this work,” said Virginia. “We’ve already been interacting with the University of Salamanca, the National Police, City Hall and anti-trafficking organization in Spain.
“And in addition to raising awareness,” she added, “we’re also getting En Vivo’s name out there as a group that is trying to make a difference!”
The annual Thanksgiving celebration at the Unterwegs campus ministry in Tübingen, Germany, drew 130 people, and the atmosphere was like no other Thanksgiving before it, according to Globalscope campus minister Tyler Crawford.
“We decided to shift the focus to connecting our friends from local churches with the students from Unterwegs,” said Tyler. “We set up the tables family-style and had volunteer wait staff bring the food to the tables to give people a chance to sit, chat and connect with people they might never come in contact with.
“For example, a pastor from the Jakobus church sat next to a student who has never been to a church during all his years in Tübingen,” added Tyler. “And for an hour and a half, a church elder and his wife from the Kreuzkirche sat and talked to the winner of last year’s Unterwegs Servant Leadership Award, and they made a date to celebrate Christmas together.”
For Tyler and his wife Shalynn, one of the highlights of the day came when university student Hannah stepped to the stage in front of the large crowd to share the things she’s thankful for.
“Hannah has been around Unterwegs for a long time,” said Tyler. “We met at a Café English and she wasn’t interested in sharing much about herself.”
That has now changed. As she stood before the group, Hannah took a deep breath and shared: “When I look at my life I see a lot of chaos and problems. But the longer I look at it, the more I see the small things that make me grateful to be here: a song I like to sing, an encouraging word from a friend in the right moment.”
“Hannah didn’t always talk like that,” said Tyler, “and the influence Unterwegs has had in her life over the last four years all comes out on stage. She sings in the Unterwegs band and hosts her Vesper small group in her home.”
“After Thanksgiving, I realized how lucky I have been all these years,” Hannah said later. “I applied to universities all over Germany, and I was accepted in the one city where there is an Unterwegs. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Campus ministry certainly isn’t all fun and games, but sometimes there’s a lot of it sprinkled into the holy moments. Here’s a story from Beth Jarvis Silliman, leader of the Globalscope Unterwegs campus ministry in Tübingen, Germany, about the group’s recent weekend camping trip in the Black Forest.
Well, what did you expect would happen?
There was whipped cream, peanut butter puffs, and lots and lots of water balloons. Game time. As soon as I saw people running into the kitchen I knew this was getting out of hand. People came running back out of the kitchen with buckets, water bottles, pitchers, large serving bowls — basically anything they could find that would hold water long enough to pour onto someone else. Even our grocery bags were used in the battle. My one mistake was when I attacked Erin with whipped cream before realizing that she also had a whipped cream container. It got messy.
But what did I expect would happen when we took about 30 people into the Black Forest for a weekend of singing, eating, games, talks, and campfire songs?
I still pause when I hear a student say, “I never expected to find so many good friends at University.” I think, really? You didn’t expect blue skies and grass stains and full bellies and laughter with new friends? And that somehow all of this would add up to you learning to love who you are and that person sitting across from you?
Then there it is, the point of the whole weekend: countless moments of new students opening up and realizing that they belong, and realizing this new belonging comes with some expectations of ourselves and of God.
A lot of students, and maybe some of us, have stopped expecting to find the good. Some of them can’t even imagine expecting God — if there is a God — to want to do anything for them and with them.
For our annual weekend away the student leaders chose to talk about expectations. It was really a way to talk about the hope that God wouldn’t leave us where we are. One student leader talked about the physical abuse she had suffered as a child and how she believed the lie that she wasn’t loved. When she became a Christian it didn’t make everything completely better and perfect. It just made her loved. And this new awareness made the difference. She could believe and expect that her parents did love her, even though they couldn’t protect her. And she could forgive her abuser, which was the weirdest mystery of all.
Because of her faith, she could name the injustice done to her. Because of her faith, she could see the new life rising up in her.
Another student leader, who two years ago didn’t even believe, shared the moment of when she realized she had fallen short. She had not met someone else’s expectations. And because of her faith she found a space for confession and forgiveness. She gave an example to all of us of how and why we need forgiveness.
You are loved. And because of this you can hope and expect more.
Before we packed up on Sunday morning we did what’s called “the thankful box.” For about 40 minutes everyone said out loud what they are thankful for. Water fights. Victories and loses at mini golf and crab soccer. Hand motions of “Moose Moose.” The kitchen team. The neighbor who yelled at us when we sang Red Wagon too loud at the campfire. Moments of just pure fun. And in the midst of that comes this: “Thank you for being a place where I can join in. Thank you for the talks. Thank you for helping me feel safe.”
Thank you for helping us show these students in Tübingen, Germany, that God loves them. Thank you for praying and supporting our weekend away. It was an incredible weekend and a win for everyone.
June has been an incredibly full month for us. But with it, we have seen that faith is giving voice to the pain in our lives while not ignoring the new life.
And there are the remnants of cream and water and sunshine reminding us to expect the unexpected.
Longtime campus minister Beth Jarvis, who serves with Unterwegs in Tübingen, Germany, got a glimpse of the bigger picture when a chance remark from a passing church deacon helped her look at her group in a new way. Here’s her story:
In one moment it was there: a glimpse of the bigger picture.
It came from an unexpected source. A church deacon passed by me at the end of our last big event of the semester in the cafe room of one of our local church partners. The deacons and elders had been meeting upstairs through the whole event, which always makes me a little nervous because, well, we’re loud. I was taking out the trash and he stopped me to say, “Beth, I love seeing your group here. All these different students coming together. They look so happy. To me this is what heaven will look like.”
At that point, I too looked through the window at my own group and saw it through his eyes. There it was: heaven on earth.
In this one room, there was a lot happening and a lot about to happen. There was Vanessa, who has just finished her degree and is preparing to serve with Globalscope in Birmingham, England. She wants to be a part of making Birmingham “as it is in heaven.” There was Katharina, who has been part of the backbone of Unterwegs since the beginning. She’s always been there, arms open, ready to welcome anyone. To her God is big and God is love. And recently she’s added to that belief that God is also personal, interested in her. She recently joined four other German students and nine Georgia Tech students in a trip to other universities in Germany, praying and dreaming about planting a third and fourth Unterwegs in the coming years. To them, the future is big and wide and open because their God is big and wide and opening up His kingdom before them.
This picture of heaven on earth grows larger and larger. There’s Julia Kopp, who is loud and wonderful. She will come on staff with us in the fall. When asked what she liked about Unterwegs in her interview, she said, “Unterwegs is more than just the four walls of a building.” She wants to be a part of this movement and step into her full potential.
There’s Anna Blume, who was at that moment preparing to leave to serve. She is now at Auburn Christian Fellowship. She wants to know if full-time ministry is for her. She’s a little nervous about it, but inside her is a beautiful and strong woman minister. The strength with which she loves people is inspiring.
There was Max, who is dating Emily, my teammate. The love they have together for ministry is contagious. Max will join our team in April as a German intern and in the fall he will also go work at Auburn for a couple of months. He wants to see ministry in a different culture. He wants to learn what it is like to be a part of something not contained by one language, one culture, one city.
And in all these wonderful and unique people I see the future of Unterwegs.
There’s Manne goofing off with my teammate Erin. Erin will plant an Unterwegs in Freiburg, Germany, in the fall of 2016. In the meantime, she’s hanging out with Manne and sharing life with him. Manne is opening up so much, right now. I can no longer imagine Unterwegs without him. And I still don’t fully understand all that is happening and about to happen. Now Manne is asking about opportunities he might have to serve, to see God’s kingdom grow.
It is growing. We see this at Unterwegs and we show it to the students here, empowered by your love and prayers and support. Soon we are going to be adding three new international teammates: Julia; Raúl from Globalscope Spain; and Robin from Globalscope England. They are all joining us in September and I’m really excited to have an international team.
So, yes, as I looked through the window, the same window the deacon looked through when he decided to not get mad about the noise, this is what I saw. And what I see. I see an image of Heaven on earth. And it is just a glimpse of this bigger picture of what God is doing right now.
New campus ministry helps raise funds for El Pozo project
The newest Globalscope campus ministry, Roots in Edinburgh, Scotland, held its first-ever ministry retreat last month, and it was a great success, according to campus ministers Tim and Ansley Crabtree.
“Eleven students came with us to a small retreat center in Newcastleton, Scotland, for a weekend of great food, fun and meaningful reflections,” said Tim.
The team was thrilled to see many examples of growth in the ministry and students’ lives during the weekend.
“We saw students beginning to take ownership of the ministry by sharing personal stories, leading campfire songs, and encouraging others to become a part of Roots,” said Tim.
The retreat was just one example of the growth and success that the fledgling ministry is enjoying this term.
“We’ve continued to have new students get involved in our Tuesday night weekly dinners, and have added a second small group that discusses the Christian foundation of Roots,” Tim added.
One new initiative that has been added this term is the “Spend Differently” fundraiser for the Globalscope Puebla (Mexico) “10 for 10” project. This project at the end of March will celebrate El Pozo’s 10th anniversary by building 10 houses for poor families in rural Mexico.
“We were invited to help raise funds and workers for El Pozo’s project, so we asked the students to make different choices in their spending and donate the difference during the six weeks of Lent,” said Tim. “It has been a great way to get our students thinking about the world outside themselves and sparked some conversations about Lent and Easter.
“Please pray with us at Roots for El Pozo’s upcoming project,” he added, “and for students in Scotland to learn and grow through participating in this global service project!”