Urgent Prayers Needed

After a busy week, we are all moved in!  Moving is such a long, tiring, fun, exciting, tiring, costly process.  We are loving our new house we are renting and can’t wait to post updates about how it’s going. I will say that not having to tell my kids “Shhh…be quiet…people are still sleeping next door” is a very, very freeing thing. I will also say that we had a whole lot stuffed into closets into our apartment – geez, it held a ton! We started our new house off with a bang – we moved on Wednesday (not getting everything in until 4:30 that day – mostly because taking things down 21 floors on an elevator takes quite a while and Parker Towers wrote down the wrong day we were moving and stopped our movers and tried to charge us $1000 for moving on the wrong day even though it was their mistake), had our small group over on Thursday night, had staff meeting here on Friday, and had 4 friends from Raleigh stay in our basement Friday am through Sunday am. So fun and so crazy!

But even in the midst of moving in, my heart has been so heavy. Even though Hurricane Florence hit over a week ago, my hometown (Georgetown, SC) is just now facing a crisis from it. As you can see from the map, one of the things I love best about Georgetown is all the water access – rivers, inlets, ocean, creeks, etc. That’s because 4 major rivers run from all over down into Georgetown and take Winyah Bay to get routed out to the ocean. Because many of those rivers got flooded and overrun with water because of Hurricane Florence, all that water is making its way down to Georgetown as I am typing.

Think of it like this – when 4 lines are trying to merge into 1 on the highway, traffic backs way up. Essentially, 4 rivers are waiting to get out into Winyah Bay and since they are overloaded with water, the water has to go somewhere, which is going to cause intense flooding. They are using words like historic, catastrophic, unprecedented. It is one thing for them to use words like this, its another for the town to be flooded with Army National Guard building a raft bridge to use to get across waterways when bridges are overflooded with water. Its another to see a local church housing tons of state troopers who have come in for this. Its another for search and rescue teams to be assembling from places as far away as Texas to help people. My friend showed me this picture she took as she was driving through Georgetown yesterday.

They sent out a website where you could go and see your house and see how much flooding was expected. My parents look okay right now even though a creek will overflow into their yard, but my granny is expected to have 5-10 feet of flooding, so they moved out all her furniture and heirlooms and put other things up high on shelves. The intense flooding isn’t scheduled to start until Wednesday and then take 3-4 days until it crests, so this event will be happening for over a week. School was canceled today because they are using it as a shelter and is closed indefinitely.

Would you pray with me? Pray that the flooding isn’t nearly as bad as they think it will be? Pray that people would heed the warnings and get out of dodge? Pray for so many dear friends and family members who are being affected by this? Pray that even something like this will cause people to turn to God and trust in Him like they never have before and that He will be glorified even in the midst of something so bad? I have lived their my entire life and nothing like this has ever happened – it is insane and so scary! Thanks for praying!

Fall Campus Update

Ya’ll…I love the fall on campus. Students are so eager to begin the year and get involved in things on campus. We get to do lots of club fairs and survey tables where we meet tons of students. We get to engage in lots of spiritual conversations and help students get plugged in to Cru and their local church. Excitement is high, for us and for the students.

This year, our staff team has been hard at work organizing, hosting, leading, meeting, discipling, texting, calling, emailing, planning, aligning, casting vision, etc. We talked this morning in staff meeting about all we have seen the Lord do so far in only about 3ish weeks on campus. This list was so encouraging that I thought it would encourage you too!  God is at work and we are so privileged to be a small part of it!

  • First Athletes Meeting at St. Johns University – 9 students showed up INCLUDING a guy! The new students that came came because OLD students invited them. 3 soccer girls had stood up in their soccer practice and invited their whole team and one girl brought 3 freshmen soccer girls with her to the meeting. We haven’t done any publicity but students are hearing about us and coming anyways!
  • Weekly meeting at Queens College – ice breaker was “nope, dope, hope” and two girls expressed that their hope was that they would get to go to Fall Retreat in October with us.
  • With our normal Cru movement at St. Johns University, students are finding Cru, rather than us finding them since we have done no publicity (3 students did this). Students are coming because they know friends involved with Cru at University of Tennessee Chattanooga or because they were flaky last year and want to be more committed. One girl brought her friends and one girl blocked out that day so she can come. Most of the students from the previous week came back to the Cru meeting the second week.
  • We have a potential guy at St. Johns who is leading a small group with Indian pharmacy students and he desires to reach the whole campus so he may be jumping on board with us. This is exciting!
  • The weekly pizza social at Queens College has been really encouraging. Kelly, who has been attending, brought a friend. 9 students have been coming regularly and most are freshmen.
  • Noel and Frank made decisions this week to place their faith in Christ!!! Tim (brother of Chris, a former student of ours who is serving short-term overseas with Cru like mentioned in a previous prayer letter) was with Doran, a staff guy on our team and they were following up a survey from welcome day filled out by a guy named Noel. Upon sharing the “Knowing God Personally” booklet, Noel realized that he wanted to be the circle of the person who has surrendered their life to Christ but knew he wasn’t and understood that you moved to that circle by by receiving Christ through faith. He said he wanted to keep growing and learning and pursuing God and he prayed the salvation prayer and even changed the words to make it his own. It was so sincere.
  • Frank was another followup from a survey that God had been doing something in – he had had two friends/mentors who were Christian who have spoke into his life and encouraged him to pursue Christianity. He has been coming to the pizza social (we shared about him at our last prayer letter). Praise God…he made the decision to place his faith in Jesus and become a believer!!
  • A big-time basketball player at St. Johns University named Greg Williams circled 10s and yeses on his survey (this means he had a high interest in exploring God, being a part of a Bible study, learning more about Christ, etc.) and Ed was able to have a small conversation with him and exchange numbers. Ed is hoping to connect with him this coming week and potentially get him involved in our Athlete ministry and have a spiritual conversation. He could have such an impact at St. Johns because of how well known he is.
  • Ksenia, a girl from Queens College who knew some Cru staff at her church, was introduced to us on welcome day, she came to the ice cream social, and said she wanted to be a part of Cru and wants to help us become an official organization. She is so excited to reach her campus. She also signed up for Fall Retreat.
  • 4 students are registered for Fall Retreat so far…we are praying for 10!! What a great start!!

This is some awesome things happening in just a few weeks. Please pray that God continues moving and we are able to share more awesome things like these that glorify His name!!


Isn’t it funny that even as the years fly by, some things never fade from your memory? For me, today, those things that I can’t get out of my head are Hurricane Hugo and 9/11. What triggered these memories today?

Even though we now lives hundreds of miles away from my hometown of Georgetown on the coast of SC, because of Facebook and family still living there, we can stay very connected to what is happening there. For instance, tonight, I have learned that people are making real-time decisions about whether to ride out Hurricane Florence. They are watching the TV like a hawk trying to figure out where the hurricane is going (can we ever really know?). They are boarding up windows and stocking up on food and sharing tips about how to best store water in case they don’t have it for weeks. I also learned that they are closing down the hospital and Wal-Mart in Georgetown as of tomorrow, which NEVER happens there, even with past storms. My brother is officially working crazy insane hours as he is on hurricane duty with his law enforcement agency.

Most people have no idea what it is like to live through a hurricane. When Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, it made landfall south west of Georgetown, putting our area on the northeast side of the storm which is the worst for catastrophic damage. Not only do I remember huddling and sleeping in the hall at my grandmother’s house with my aunts, uncles and cousins, but I remember the sound of the wind, how long it took to get places because roads were wiped out, the trees that hit the house, the insane hours my dad worked with law enforcement adn relief efforts, and the absolutely horrible damage it did on all the places that I knew and cherished. Hurricanes have fond memories for me as a time when our family would come together and spend time playing games and hanging out, but lets be real…they are super scary and damaging. So tonight, I am remembering and praying for all of those in the South we know (Georgetown, Charleston, Raleigh, Wilmington) who are bracing for this big monster of a storm.

9/11 will always be a time that is etched in everyone’s minds….where you were when it happened, how you felt, what you did afterwards, how it has changed your life, etc. It is bizarre to me to think that this year’s college freshman was barely a year old when it happened and only know it as “that time my parents talk about.” I was in college, getting up to cram for a test, when I heard that I needed to go check out the communal television. Obviously, classes were canceled, convocation was held, tears were cried, people were stunned, and our worlds changed.

But living here in NYC, 9/11 has taken on a totally different meaning for us. And not just because we regularly walk past the memorial or see the One World Trade tower. We are living life next to people everyday who lost their father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, friend, etc. in 9/11. We are living next to people who looked up and could see the huge towers of black smoke leading to the sky. We are living next to people who went to help in the relief effort, who comforted their neighbors who didn’t know if their loved one was dead or alive, and who walked past missing posters everyday as they walked to work. We are living next to people who endured major racial profiling and feared for their safety simply because their ethnic background matched those of the terrorists. We are living next to people who share their stories about their mother who is alive because she “happened” to be late to work that one day when she usually never was. We are living in a place that has humanized 9/11 in a way that it never was for us. So, as I think about the 17th anniversary of 9/11 tomorrow, I pray for those who are continuing to grieve the loss of those who were so dear to them.

In the midst of lots of packing, the start of school craziness, and the fall semester rat race that is part of campus ministry, I am choosing to stop and remember that there is so many other things going on for so many other people that go beyond my immediate world and worries. Thank you Jesus for being the one who controls the winds and the waves. Thank you Jesus for being the one who can comfort us in a way that no one else can. Thank you Jesus for giving us the great privilege of praying and interceding for others who are preoccupied with so many heavy things.


Moving Already?

Something pretty big happened in our lives this week. Having tons of surveys filled out by students on campus? Yes, that happened, but that’s not it. Connecting with new freshmen and getting to share the Gospel with them? Yes, that also happened, but that’s not it. Surviving in above-record heat here in NYC? Yes, again, that happened, and we survived, but that’s not it. So, then, what could it be?

We signed a new lease on a HOUSE!!  For probably 6 months or longer, Ed and I have been praying and thinking about moving. We love our apartment and complex and neighborhood, so our list of what the new place had to have was quite extensive: we wanted to be closer to the girl’s school (we found out last spring that Kinsley, now in 3rd grade, doesn’t qualify for bus service anymore and we would be walking the kids to and from school every day, about 3.5 miles round trip), we wanted to be in the girl’s school zone (so when Blake goes to pre-school and kindergarten, we wouldn’t have to worry about him being on a waitlist or not getting a spot), we wanted to potentially be on the bottom floor of a place so we didn’t have to worry about kids running and jumping and making too much noise for people below us, we wanted to still be close to Forest Hills shopping and the subway. If we could find a place where we could park a car without a hefty monthly price tag (our parking garage in our neighborhood was $300 a month and street parking is almost non-existent) and a place where we could host our weekly small group and groups of students and guests better, that would be the icing on the cake. But again, because we loved our apartment, it would have to be the perfect place. We also knew the timeline would have to work out as we had signed a lease on our place until October 25 and couldn’t pay for two places for long.

We have asked family, friends, and ministry partners for wisdom for us as we looked and decided, and when we returned from our summer travels, we loosely started looking. Then, this past week, we amped up our looking. Houses in the girl’s school zone are pretty expensive so finding something in our price range was pretty challenging but we looked at 3 great options. One was a townhome with a little too much space with a bigger price tag, one was a townhome with a little smaller than we have now with a lower price tag, and one was a house that was in between on everything. It also came with a finished basement, a garage, a driveway, a closer walk to the girls’ school, and a tiny yard. It is still pretty small like NYC places and compared to houses in the South, but it has the garage for storage, which is nice. After putting in an offer and the owner originally saying no (there was some confusion about our income because we have minister’s housing allowance which makes the income on our tax return look lower than it is and she didn’t think we could afford it), she changed her mind and said yes!  We meet her a few days ago to sign the lease, get to know her, and to get instructions and such. We found out through talking that her daughter is a Christian but her daughter says her mother is Hindu/tolerant of all things, so we are even praying that God allows us chances to minister and share the Gospel with her. We are seriously so thankful to the Lord as she had so many people interested and we were not the most attractive on paper (others had way higher incomes and could move in sooner), but she changed her mind and leased it to us. Even after she accepted our offer, she had diplomats look at it and love it so much they wanted it. We are praying this house gives life to our family in so many ways and allows us to minister more effectively here. It also looks like we will be able to get a car soon too!

I am a little apprehensive about the next few months – in the midst of the beginning of the school craziness (our campuses started last week with the exception of St. Johns which begins this week), Ed taking a seminary class in October that requires a lot of reading, the girls starting school, and us focusing on growing our team of ministry partners, moving is just something else to add to the list and make life more crazy. Would you pray that we don’t get overwhelmed and that God provides all we need to make it through? He provided this place so I am trusting He will provide everything else.

For the icing on the cake, my cousin and his wife from SC came up to stay with us to go to the US Open and to spend time with us. We had a GREAT time with them and even in the midst of crazy schedules, looking for a place, signing on a place, etc, it was easy and very life-giving. We took Sunday to travel to Governors Island with them….to get there, we had to travel to lower Manhattan and take a ferry, but it was so beautiful there and we loved getting to walk the island, eat lunch by the water staring at the Statue of Liberty, see the unicycle festival, and let the kids slide on the longest slide in NYC.

Thank you for your prayers for wisdom – we definitely felt them and feel that God led us to just the right place. Continue praying as we continue the beginning of the school year craziness and as the girls start school this Wednesday.