Friday, September 9, 2016

Leader Profile: Lucas Raley

When Lucas Raley picked up a double headed ax and instigated a game of "chop the burning catapult" with Jake Haddock, I knew he and I were gonna be great friends!  During our Men's retreat we had a "trebuchet build off" where I had teams of guys construct primitive catapults which we used to launch pumpkins.  Calibrating a trebuchet is quite challenging and in the end none of them launched very well.  But, they burned just fine!  Since they were made from scrap fence and pallet wood we heaved them into the fire once it got dark.  That was cool enough, but it got even cooler when Lucas and the fella's decided to deconstruct it while it was catching on fire!  What a riot!  

We talk about junior Lucas Raley a lot in my family.  Not only is he an incredible student leader who happens to be dating one of our staff interns, but he's a hero to my kids!  From Jack on down to Junie, Lucas is one of our favorite people in the world.   Lucas' fun-loving, gung-ho spirit is inspirational, helpful and contagious!  Because he was here working in Ithaca this summer we got to spend a lot of time together.

Lucas plays on the Cornell football team, but he's struggled with a back injury for the past two years.  Commenting on his back pain, Lucas said "Originally, I thought it was just going to be a few months of taking it easy and it would be recovered, but God had some other plans."  Lucas had hoped to be starting all last year during his sophomore year, but it just wasn't working out!  That was frustrating, and yet it gave Lucas the opportunity and the space to grow in his walk with Jesus.
  Lucas said that when he came to Cornell, he "had been completely wrapped up in the belief that being a starter on the team was what it was all about."  He said; "Having played in several games during freshman year behind a player that had graduated, I was convinced that it was my time to shine. But, what God aggressively informed me of is that it was not, nor will it ever be MY time to shine. However, it is always HIS time to shine."  Having his own plans and dreams disrupted enabled Lucas to recognize and rest in God's plan instead.  

"No longer having my Friday nights occupied with football, I had decided to try out this “Cru” thing that I had heard about from a few people.  So my friend Cole and I decided that we would check it out. That first Friday that we went, about three weeks into the year, we showed up and were immediately welcomed by tons of people that we had never met.  The gospel band played that night which was amazing, and then we heard a solid message. The next week we went back and then heard the announcement for the fall retreat which happened to be on a weekend that we had a Friday night game, giving me the opportunity to go after the game and spend the weekend at the retreat."

 Although we had met before, I remember clearly last fall when Lucas walked up to me with his friend Cole and said "we want to go to the Fall Getaway!"  Lucas came up to our Seneca Lake retreat and he's been a huge part of our ministry ever since.  Although it was a bummer to be injured, God redeemed the time tremendously and we've all been able to benefit.
Lucas Raley is all in.  Starting with that Fall Retreat he's been a faithful and passionate part of Cru.  This summer we got to spend some good time working at the Second Wind cottages together each Saturday.  We also got to cook every Wednesday night for our Summer fellowship.  This semester Lucas is helping to lead a Community Group.  More football guys are being given the chance to connect with Christ and walk on mission like he is.  

It's hard for me to express how grateful I am for him.  He's a faithful man of God, an incredible student leader and a beloved role model to our kids!  Lucas is a blessing to his fellow Cornell students and to our family.