Monday, June 4, 2012

Graduation Day(Seniors 2012)

Some of our Cru Seniors of 2012
A little over a week ago was Graduation day at Cornell University.  I have still never been to the commencement ceremonies -but I had wanted to go this year!  The class of 2012 was the first class that we got see go all the way through; in essence they were our senior class.  We only beat them here by a semester (we arrived at Cornell in January 2008) so they were the first group that we raised up.   Their passing marks the end of an era in a sense.

We got to host  a wonderful reception here at our house for students and their parents.  It was great to able to connect with a number of those students who we've been mentoring and ministering alongside for 4 years now.   So many of them are more than students involved in our ministry, but they are truly friends.  (in coming posts, I'd like to highlight a few more, but I'll mention a couple right now.)

Over the years, the senior I've been able to spend the most time with by far is Larry Lin.  Larry is more than a student leader, or even a co-laborer, but he's like family!  A couple of years ago, he actually got to spend Christmas with our family here in Ithaca.  We got to meet Larry's brothers and mom at our reception.

I still remember meeting Larry from San Jose (California) the first week of his freshman year.  We hung out and I was impressed right away by his conviction and his bold hilarious antics.  Shortly before coming to college he took a "senior road trip"with some high school buddies.  They had a ton of fun, but they also had purpose.  At various cities along the way they stopped and bought cases of water bottles.  Then, they would hang out on street corners in areas where there were lots of homeless people handing out the water to strangers and homeless people just to bless them in the name of Christ.  From the beginning I knew that we needed leaders like Larry in our budding movement - Jesus loving guys who had missional intentionality and a heart for fun!  During his first weeks of classes at Cornell, Larry started up a "name tag club" where he handed out name tags just to meet new people.  With only a little prodding, Larry came with us to the Upstate Fall Getaway in the fall of 2008 and he's been serving with Cru ever since.
One of my favorite couples int he world; Larry and Van-Kim
 Larry is going to intern with Campus Crusade's Epic ministry in Washington D.C. next year.  We really, really wanted him to stay here with us, but for a number of good reasons -mostly a really good girl actually Larry is going to serve with Cru in D.C.

We will miss Larry next year a lot.  Over the years Larry has given leadership to small groups, our large group meeting (called Real Life) our praise band and our whole ministry.  He's been an incredible role-model leading out in evangelism and missions as well as theological formation.

Bethany Nichols is another student who plugged in with Cru right from the beginning.  She'd been involved with Young Life in high school, so she came to college looking for a group of crazy Christians to hang out with.  Our ministry was much smaller back then, so there weren't too many girls around to give her a warm welcome, but lucky for all of us Bethany brings her own warm welcome wherever she goes!  She's literally one of the most outgoing, friendly people you could ever meet and she's been an incredible blessing to everyone in our ministry over the years.

The first week of school back in '08 we had set up a game of Ultimate Frisbee out in the grass on North campus just to meet new people.    It was a total bust!  It ended up being me, our intern staff member Ben Hutton and senior John Sullivan.....and Bethany!  She showed up, and rather than leaving and never coming to another Cru event again, she engaged with us, persevered thru the awkwardness and over the years helped make our movement what it is today.
Over the years Bethany has been able to love and pour into numerous younger girls.  She gave an incredible talk at our large group meeting a few weeks ago walking us the high times and the low times of her spiritual life at college.  It was a powerful presentation of the way God works to graciously love and sustain his children.  We were sincerely hoping Bethany would intern with us, but in the end things didn't work out because she was already set to serve for two years with Teach For America.  She'll be in New York City next fall blessing elementary school kids.

We also got the chance to meet Bethany's family which was a real privilege.

Bethany is currently dating one of our good friends Barrett Keene.  They are one of my other favorite couples in the world!

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