Newsletters 2016

November “Reason for Faith

I was anxious to hear how ministry had been going back in Cape Town, I sat and listened to a voice message from Mokhatla (MK), one of our student leaders at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He was encouraged to share with us a new story about friends he led to Christ last year. One in particular he highlighted as a true victory. “Knowing reasons for my faith really helped with this conversation last night,” he told me as he began to explain the spiritual and mental state of his friend.

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It’s been a year since he shared the Gospel to his friend, and since then there have been some very difficult thoughts and circumstances that hit his life. “I didn’t even know that he was struggling with
depression,” MK shared. He described how his friend felt like taking his own life was better than living. Unfortunately, this is the norm for many students today due to the pressures to succeed and the lack of hope to overcome these pressures.

Some time later without MK’s knowledge, his friend found some literature by some well-known authors who write about reasons for faith in God and why be- lief in God is a valid intellectual stance in today’s society. UCT is a campus known for it’s intellectual fervor and our students need to have some ability to argue the existence of God on a regular basis in order to have meaningful conversations with their peers. This opens an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.

MK reunited with his friend, who now believes in God, and found out all that he had been through. They sat up until 4 AM conversing about the existence of God, the validity of following Jesus, and the authenticity of the Bible. In the end MK knew something was different, “God has been working in his heart, and I can tell,” he shared. Hearing stories like this makes us proud that our students are trusting God in their spheres of influence. It also humbles us that he would allow us to be a part of this awesome work of seeing lives transformed, and it makes all the world to know that you are with us in this too.

If you would like any book recommendations on this topic please email us at Jerrah.Jackson@cru.org

October “Refreshed Reunion

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Happy Times with friends and family!

We stepped off the planed after 14 hours in the air feeling relieved we had made it back in one piece, barely seeing straight for lack of sleep. We walked out of the airport bags in hand and kids in tow, and for the first time in almost two and a half years we were back in America. Nearly two months later we find ourselves finally settling in to a house in Brownsburg, Indiana—a ten minute drive from our church. The first night we slept in the house was completely different from what we were accustomed to. We have lived in pretty noisy neighborhoods over the last couple years and this house is the opposite, giving us some unexpected but much needed silence and refreshment.

Lately, time has slowed down for us which has given us refreshing opportunities with family and friends to eat, pray, and simply laugh together. More than anything, it has been such a wonderful thing for us to introduce our kids to most of them for the first time and to let our family enjoy them through either baby sitting for us or going out together as a family. We can’t wait to introduce our kids to snow for the first time! Until then, we will continue to sit down with new and old friends and ministry partners to share with them what’s been going on in our lives and connecting with theirs.

We will be in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne over the next couple of months and would love to see you and thank you for your prayers and support. We know that this mission is nothing without people like you sharing a part in reaching the lost and making disciples.

July “Preparing to Leave

Man, God’s been bringing new people my way—so provisional!” MK (University of Cape Town) recently shared with me how exciting ministry has been for him lately. From having conversations with old friends on campus about Jesus, to taking his disciple, Paul, out to share their faith on campus together, God has been blessing his efforts. “Paul has been the ideal disciple,” he shared as he reflected on Paul’s eagerness to grow in his walk with Christ. “He shared with me that he didn’t feel like going to share his faith,” MK continued, explaining how encouraged Paul was, after their time of sharing went so well despite his initial feelings.

Student leaders training others how to share their faith.

Student leaders training others how to share their faith.

“If you were no longer a part of this ministry next year, do you think it would continue on without you?” I asked, sitting on a bench with the student leaders at the University of Western Cape. Most of them were certain it would, but then realized that there would be no one to take it over if they left. It was then that I had them brainstorm a person they could each disciple this semester to be a potential leader next year alongside them. Excitement grew as they shared the people who stood out to them they could pour into and train this semester in anticipation of seeing more multiplying disciples made to reach their campus.

As we prepare to leave for the US in about 2 weeks the atmosphere in our home is somber and yet cheerful. Our housing situation has changed abruptly and we will have to move before we leave. If you stepped into our house at the moment you would notice cardboard boxes stacked on top of each other in the dinning room, pictures removed  from shelves and suitcases laying open ready to be packed. We will begin the hunt for a new home when we return to Cape Town in January.

What we leave behind are disciples who are running the ministry themselves with a passion for Christ and a vision for making disciples. We hope to return refreshed, refocused, and ready to carry on ministry for the next few years with the continued certainty that God is with us!

We will continue to  send  updates on family and ministry while we are in the US, and we look forward to seeing and spending time with you soon.

June “We Are SLM

IMG_0788“You have everything you need. I’ve trained you on all of our DNA, you can do this.” While sitting at Dale’s house a couple months ago, I remember saying these words to him as he began to doubt whether he could teach about a particular topic at their weekly meetings on campus. It’s these very words that we aim to say to all our students because of who we are as a ministry. In Campus Crusade for Christ South Africa, we are called Student-Led Movements (SLM), and without a ministry to university students that is led by students, our vision of seeing movements on all campuses in South Africa so that everyone knows someone who truly follows Jesus will not be realized.

Here’s what some of our student leaders from the University of Western Cape had to say about being a part of SLM:

“The most encouraging thing about being a part of SLM would be the many souls that are saved for Christ…just experiencing and going through the process with unbelievers who are being changed into believers. It’s a beautiful thing to see how people can change…” – Anne-Lee

“The ability to lead is something you’re chosen for, and with SLM that becomes more and more developed.” – Joshua

“It’s encouraging to see people who were maybe drug addicts or people who were complete Atheists just start believing…and for every soul that gets saved it’s a testimony to me that God is alive.” -Ethan

“Last year I was one of the only student leaders at the time…most of our gatherings I had to wing on my own, but God is faithful…He kept me and strengthened me…and as I kept trusting the Lord, God provided [this year] a group of [students] that love him…to be there [with me to lead] and that spoke to me. It was God saying, ‘Don’t worry, I am building my movements.’ -Dale

God is indeed building his movements through these and other student leaders and we feel blessed to be a part of it. Thank you for your life-changing partnership. It’s leaders like these and people like you who allow for us to move on to more universities to see more student-led movements launched to the glory of God.

May “New Baby, New Home

IMG-20160530-WA0000Allow us to introduce our newborn son, Kai Gerrit. He was born May 25th to a happy healthy mommy weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces! His name, Kai, means “God’s Strong Unbreakable One” and Gerrit, meaning “Mighty with the Spear.” He is a blessing to have a part of our family and, as you can see below, Rio is loving being a big brother with kisses and hugs from him everyday! We feel such at peace with where God has us now as a family of 4, but the weeks leading up to the birth were actually quite stressful leading us into intense prayer and life-changing faith decisions on our part.20160527_092528

At the beginning of April we found out that our landlord sold our house to someone else without telling us. The new owners had a desire to sell the house quickly to gain a good profit, regardless how that affected us, meaning we would have to move out at the end of our lease, or become potential buyers. We always wanted to purchase this house and here’s the reason:

Firstly, the Lord laid this house on our hearts before we were aware of what happened. At the beginning of March we started considering what it would be like to buy this house, so we started praying and asking God for an opportunity to do so. The third week of March the Lord spoke to us about some obstacle that was coming our way, but not to be concerned because He was going to lead us through it easily. We got a knock at the door that same night and it was a sheriff looking for the owner to tell him the house would go into foreclosure soon, because they weren’t paying their mortgage.

This was the opportunity to buy the house, but didn’t expect it so soon! The new landlord dealt unjustly with us and sent us into a whirlwind of anxiety. We didn’t have the money to purchase, nor did we feel led to move. We trusted God to provide for the house, and little did we know He impressed upon a Ministry Partner’s heart to put aside a large sum of money to use for His Kingdom! This Partner is now in the process of buying this home for us with the desire for the Gospel to continue to go forth in South Africa. Soon we will have a permanent place to plant our roots, and raise our family, and its all glory to God!

March “#YouCantStopUs

As I sat on a cold cement bench with my head down in prayer, I couldn’t help but notice the soil beneath my feet. It was rich and healthy–looking with clear evidence of life to it. I looked up and noticed my students a distance away spending personal time with God in prayer preparing their hearts for what was about to happen that day. It was time to scope out the spiritual and physical land of a new university. Our prayer was that the people’s hearts would be like that soil, ready to receive the seed of the Gospel.

stellenbosch outreach

Four of our students from the University of Cape Town (UCT) spent two days of their mid-semester break participating in a “mission trip” to Stellenbosch University. The morning began with us walking around the outside of the main part of campus while praying for it and it’s students. Anticipation grew after an hour of prayer even as we spent another hour interviewing a friend, who also is a current student, about the spiritual and social atmosphere of the campus. Then it was time to go and converse with the other students around us about God and their beliefs.

In an attempt to initiate this conversation with the first student we spoke to, we were deterred by campus security. “You need proper permission to use this survey,” he said examining our Gospel materials. The conversation with the student ended before it even began as we proceeded with security to the campus security office to speak to his boss. I had a moment of nostalgia thinking back to 2010 when this same thing happened to me in a worse way at UCT, resulting in me getting kicked off campus for the day. How funny it was to me that it was now happening again at another campus six years later as a result of the movement from UCT reaching out to another campus!

With ease the meeting was quickly concluded with us being restricted to just talking with students without our surveys. We were used to doing that anyways and ended up having good conversations. After these two days the students and I felt an overwhelming since of joy and fulfillment because we managed to talk to over 20 students with 2 indicating a decision to receive Christ. We hope to start our ministry at Stellenbosch in 2017, and these two days were just the beginning of something great. In essence, we felt unstoppable, not from a worldly perspective, but from a spiritual one because with God on our side, anything is possible.

February “The Movement Begins” 

 

UWC Students Sharing their faith.

UWC Students Sharing their faith.

You could sense anticipation in the air as over 4,000 first-year students ventured around the campus of University of Cape Town (UCT). The sun was blazing hot, music was blaring, societies were broadcasting themselves in all sorts of ways to entice the first-years to sign up, and there we were in the midst of it all talking to these students about Jesus. It was surreal. Not because a new year of ministry had begun, but because my team consisted only of students who attend UCT. They have a heart to reach their peers with the Gospel in our ministry and help others grow in their faith.

Jerrah and UWC student, Joshua, sharing their faith.

Jerrah and UWC student, Joshua, sharing their faith.

The next day I found myself walking the bricked pathways of the University of Western Cape (UWC) as students stood in long lines for registration. Right behind us angry protesters gathered and sang in protest of the university’s mistreatment of staff and students as we were sharing the Gospel with a student. For the first time my disciple has a team of 3 other students that is committed to our ministry to help reach the campus.

Cru Study Abroad, a branch of our ministry that gives students a chance to earn college credits while living on mission in another country, sent 2 students, Jessica and Jiana, here to help reach UCT. While sitting down for lunch during one of our outreach days at UCT, Jessica shared that she had never seen someone accept Christ before. “I’ve shared the Gospel with a lot of people but never saw anyone make that decision,” she said.  I turned to her in that moment and said, “Jessie, you will see someone receive Christ in your time here this year.” She nodded in response with a slight smile as she finished her food.

Jessica (UCT) sharing the Gospel.

Jessica (UCT) sharing the Gospel.

Later that day we gathered together to share what the Lord had done through our efforts for the day. Jessica excitedly shared that during her time she actually witnessed a girl receive Christ! You could feel the excitement in the air as she just couldn’t stop moving and dancing! In celebration, our team took 10 seconds to do our very best Happy Dance! That week, between both campuses, we shared the Gospel with 126 people, 15 of which decided to receive Christ. And the number keeps growing. Your partnership in this wonderful work God has called us to has made such a tremendous difference in the lives of university students here, and for that we are thankful.

January “Taking the Initiative” 

Student Leader, Ethan, sharing the Gospel.

Student Leader, Ethan, sharing the Gospel.

“I met a guy that was wondering around with suicide on his mind. God led me to speak to him and that man got saved. This encouraged me a lot—he got saved both spiritually and physically. It made my trip on that hot, exhausting day worthwhile.”—Ethan, UWC student leader

Most students go on vacation as soon as possible when classes end, exams finish, and books are no longer necessary for everyday life. But not these students in our ministry. They spent their December holiday visiting beaches, not to party and enjoy the sun, but to share the life-changing hope of the Gospel. Ethan, one of our student leaders at the University of Western Cape, was a strong contributor to these events, even taking the initiative to visit another University campus to present the Gospel to other students.

Ethan and I shared the same sentiment with each other as we spoke about how excited we were for what the Lord will do through him and the other student leaders on his campus and at the University of Cape Town.

Ethan also shared with me another story:

“Another guy I spoke to had his house taken from him, lost his job, yet he still rejoiced in God and praised Him. Even though that guy lost a lot, he knew that those things can’t nearly equate to the value there is in being in Christ. He admitted that he lost his way a bit and recommitted his life to Christ that day.

Pray for these students as they begin this year fresh and ready for God to spark a spiritual movement on their respective campuses.