Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Party & Welcoming Jake & Chelsea!

Such a beautiful time of year, and perfect time to get together with our staff team for a Christmas Party. The Cru Omaha team meets regularly for staff meetings, and Dec. 5th was a special event when Robyn and Chelsea also joined us, along with their little girls - four little girls three and under between two of the couples. A very fun, relaxing evening together ...

We're so thankful for our Cru Omaha staff team! Andy (& Robyn) have been part-time staff for about 9 years now, and Debi joined us as full-time staff three years ago. We have been waiting with anticipation for Jake (& Chelsea) to join us as part-time staff, as Jake has been focusing on raising up his financial support team for the past year and a half. He and Chelsea reached their goal the end of November - and we celebrated together the night of our Christmas Party! They are a great addition to the team, and we thank God for them.

Thanking God for the blessing of serving together as staff, and for our incredible team of over 25 volunteers!

FC Jr Hi Girls & Opportunities to Serve

Donna and Diane faithfully meet with a group of Junior High girls each Monday night in Fort Calhoun. This Cru FC Girls group was given an opportunity to serve in Omaha with Bell-Ringing for Salvation Army the beginning of this month. This month of December they have also been focusing on watching the Nativity Story, and studying the scripture and prophecy surrounding the coming of Jesus. Please pray for these girls, and for those who are coming to know Jesus personally as a result of their meetings.

Coming the first of the New Year, they will be taking part in an 8-week purity focus, studying God's plan for marriage and purity. Please pray for the Junior High girls in this group, for a few older girls who are helping as student leaders, and for Donna and Diane as they lead. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marrs Middle

Students having fun with the knot game before the lesson ...

Marrs Middle started up another school year with their every-other-week Cru meetings on campus early this month, and it has been a very memorable year for them so far. Debi (full-time Cru staff), together with Rylee and Abbie (college volunteers with Cru) make a great team as they love and serve the middle school students at Marrs in Omaha.

They meet right on campus as a school club, and for their first meeting of the school year, four eighth grade students showed up. Most of their students from the previous year moved on to high school, so it was basically a year of starting fresh again.

These four students connected well with Debi, Rylee, Abbie, and also the school sponsor - and they responded to the challenge of inviting their friends to the next meeting. The following meeting sixteen students showed up!

These sixteen middle school students listened intently as Debi shared the Gospel, and her own story of finding God's love and forgiveness. And thirteen of the students responded, wanting the same for their own lives. Praise God for His Spirit at work in the lives of these students! The following meeting, two weeks later, many of these students returned, full of questions, wanting to learn and grow in their new faith.

Please join us in praying for the students at Marrs Middle School. They are at such an important, impressionable time in their lives. Please pray that they will grow strong in their faith, and that God's love would shine through them to their own peers, and also to their families.

And please pray for Debi, Rylee, Abbie, and also Allen (a South High student volunteering to help with Cru at Marrs Middle). And also for the teachers at Marrs who sponsor Cru as a school club.

Blair High

A few of the Cru Blair students at a weekly meeting

It is an exciting, yet challenging year as Andy & Jake (part-time Cru staff reaching students at Blair High), focus on making a big transition this year. Their prayer is that Cru Blair would be able to begin meeting on the campus of Blair High School.

Jake has been focusing on raising his financial support in order to serve part-time with us on our team, and in the process of meeting interested people to join his team, he has been blessed to come in contact with a number of Christian teachers in Blair. And the students who come to the weekly Cru Blair meetings are in the process of contacting these teachers to see if they would like to serve as sponsors for Cru Blair, making it possible for them as students to lead their meetings right on campus.

Please pray for Cru Blair, and for the potential to meet as a school club on campus. Making it possible for more students to come - to be impacted with life-changing choices, to have opportunities for leadership, and that many more students would be changed forever by God's love and forgiveness.

Also, would you please pray for Jake (and Chelsea), as Jake is very, very close to finishing up his financial support goal? He has less than $50 monthly support left to raise - and then he will be fully supported to serve part-time with Cru in the Blair area. Praise God for each individual/family who has already joined his financial support team!

And also pray for Andy as he continues serving faithfully, impacting students in the Blair area. He and Robyn open up their home twice each week (or more) for the students of Blair - each Monday evening for their weekly meeting, and again on Thursday for a relaxing Hang-Time, where students gather for encouragement and fun.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

First Accelere Student Meeting

A very exciting event - our first student meeting with our brand new campus, Cru Accelere in North Omaha! We have been praying and planning for months, and following God's leading to open up this new campus to Cru (formerly Student Venture). Last spring we were contacted by some staff at Accelere, and were invited to open up this campus for Cru. An amazing opportunity to impact students with the truth of God's love and forgiveness.

This unique alternative school is for 17-21 year-olds, who have made the decision to try to finish up their high school classes which were interrupted for a variety of reasons. God has led us to some great volunteers who we will be working with, and these volunteers met with us and twelve students last week for our first student meeting! They met next door to Accelere during the lunch hour, and had a great time of connecting and sharing over the pizza lunch that we brought in.

Praise God for His amazing leading to this point. And please pray for our volunteers, and our team as we continue to follow God's direction in reaching out to the students at Accelere. This is a needy mission field, and we depend totally on God.  Please pray for many Accelere students to become totally committed to Christ and His plan for their lives.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Central High

It has been an amazing thing for us to follow God's leading in opening up several new campuses this fall. Last spring we came into contact with a couple who is burdened to reach out to the students at Central, a multi-racial campus of 2,500 students in Omaha. About 40% of the students at Central are black, and the remaining percent are Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian. Each high school campus is a mission field, and this one is no exception.

Please pray for Bryant (who has a staff position at Central), for his wife Angie, and for Gary, as they meet weekly to pray and plan, following God's leading step-by-step. This week Gary was able to be on campus, making other connections, as well.  Please pray for a possible upcoming meeting with other staff who would be supportive in making Cru an official school club on campus.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Omaha Accelere Launch

Earlier this calendar year we were invited to launch Cru (formerly Student Venture) on Accelere Alternative school in Omaha. Accelere is a unique school set up to help students who did not complete their high school studies in the traditional setting, but then have returned with a new focus to finish. This school for 17-21 year olds has a three-week cycle of classes, helping students to be able to plug in and complete each course in a concentrated form.

An incredible opportunity has been opened for us to go into the school and engage with students, helping them with various life skills, as well as with the most important life lessons of connecting with God. In order for this to happen, we need a team of volunteers who have a passion for the students who attend Accelere.

Please pray with us as we solidify our team of volunteers. Gary felt led to call together a special prayer time for this school, and our need of volunteers, last month. In addition to some of the staff of Accelere and some of our staff & volunteers, we were also blessed to have a group of people from the north Omaha area join us, some of them associated with ABIDE Ministries. This group meets often, early in the morning, to pray for this whole area, and it was a blessing in many ways to have them join us for our prayer gathering.

As Gary shared about our need for volunteers with those gathered for prayer, several of those present came up and volunteered right at that time! Since then he has been connecting with several of those who volunteered - assisting them in filling out their volunteer application forms with Cru, and also meeting with them to continue in prayer for Accelere.

Would you pray for these volunteers, and for Accelere, as well? We depend on God alone to be able to reach out to the students at Accelere. It is not an easy road for these students, as many have come from rough backgrounds, but now have made the decision to continue on with their schooling. And it is not an easy road for our volunteers, giving of their time to reach out to these students. Our new volunteers (several of them with ABIDE Ministries), are well-equipped to reach out to them. And we need to support them in prayer for this needy mission field. Please pray especially for our volunteers at this time as they are completing their application forms to serve together with Cru.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Venture Debriefing

Keeping high school students connected, and challenging them to grow in their faith through the summer has been a focus of our team. It has been exciting for us to see college volunteers come alongside us as staff in leading our Summer Venture program. 

Michaela, Debi, Jake, Abbie, Paul, Ali, Andy, Jon, Andrew (missing: Garrett, Otis)

A group of college students (most of them, former Student Venture students themselves) helped with our first Summer Venture program during the summer of 2011. And this summer these college students have returned to help head up Summer Venture again! They are an amazing group of volunteers and have done a great job!

Summer Venture met once each week throughout the summer, drawing high school students from the area together for teaching, worship, and fun. The college volunteer leaders met each week, as well, to plan and prepare for the lessons and activities.

It was a great summer for the high school students who gathered each week, and also for our college volunteers. They were coached by Andy, our part-time staff guy, and he did an amazing job of encouraging them, and also of letting them take major leadership throughout the summer. We thank God for Andy's capable leadership, as well as that of Debi and Jake. And we are so grateful for our college volunteers, and for their desire to minister to high school students.

In the photo above, you see Andy (and Debi, and Jake) leading our college volunteers in a valuable debriefing time. All of them wanting to stay on board, and already planning for another great Summer Venture in 2013!

Education Majors Project

Staff and participants at the Education Majors Project - Debi is on the far right

Debi, full-time staff with Cru Omaha, had an amazing opportunity this past summer to help with an Education Majors Project in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This project was for Education Major students who have a desire to share Christ as teachers in the public schools.

The Education Majors Project was a four-day conference to "train, inform, and cast vision for future teachers to impact students for Jesus Christ." Debi was privileged to lead her group of college students through a "24 Hour Challenge" where they were given the "assignment" of launching a Cru movement on a middle or high school campus. In the process of brain-storming and learning from the material they were given, making phone calls with present Cru (Student Venture) leaders around the country, they learned much about how to run a successful Cru ministry in a public school setting.

After the four days together, the Education Majors college students then took on leadership as 250 high school students, staff, and volunteers arrived for the five-day Myrtle Beach Getaway Conference. This hands-on time impacting middle and high school students was also a valuable learning experience for the Education Majors college students.

Debi, Rylee, and Abbie

Debi was a great asset to both the Education Majors Project and the following Myrtle Beach Getaway. She loved helping with both of these events, and also is so great at connecting one-on-one with the girls. Two of the college gals on the project were from here in our Omaha area. And an amazing result of their summer project is that they have now offered to help as volunteers on our Cru Omaha team during this coming school year! Debi is actively working together with them in preparation for running Cru (Student Venture) at Marrs Middle School in Omaha!

A special thanks to Debi for sharing these photos, and also much of this information with us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Introducing Our Staff Team

 Debi, Andy, Jake, Gary 

A new school year is upon us! So much to plan for, and to pray for with our six existing Cru (SV) campuses, and also with an additional four or more that we will be opening up this fall. We would love to have you pray for us as we begin a new school year of ministry through Cru, seeking to build movements for Christ on the middle school and high school campuses in the Omaha area.

Our staff team  ~
Debi - full-time staff gal with us for three years now. We're so thankful for all that she adds to our team!
Andy (and his wife Robyn) - part-time staff with Cru (SV) for 9 years now. A great asset to our team!
Jake (and his wife Chelsea) - new part-time staff with us. So thankful to have him join our team!
And Gary & Cherry - entering our 22nd year as full-time staff, and our 41st year of full-time ministry.

We also have an amazing team of 25 volunteers, whom we hope to introduce to you here throughout the coming year. We are incredibly blessed by having such a great group of volunteers, and they are an integral part of this ministry - you will love to get to know them.

Please pray for complete funding for Jake this month!

Jake is working hard to finish up with raising his financial support in order to devote 20 hours a week to Cru during this next school year. He has a day job as a para-professional in an Omaha elementary school, and has felt God calling him to give his time to reaching high school students as his second job. In order to be able to do this, he needs to raise the funds needed for this part-time position with us. We are thrilled to have him join our team, and he will be a great asset to our team. His background in Student Venture as a high school student, his training at Grace University, and his heart for God and high school students are so vital to this movement. 

Please pray with us that God will open the doors for Jake's financial support to be completed this month. If you are interested in joining his financial support team, please be in contact with us, or click here to give online.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A New Name and a New Season

This blog has been silent for the three months of May, June, and July - and now, at the beginning of August, we are starting up again with posting here. The reason for the silence is that we were granted a three-month Sabbatical/Time Off in celebration of our being involved in full-time ministry for 40 years!

God blessed our three months in more ways than we even imagined, and we are so grateful. Most of our time was spent at home and in the area, but we were also blessed with an amazing two-week trip to the New England states and up into New Brunswick. You can click here and here to read a little about our Sabbatical/Time Off and view a few photos on Cherry's blog. We are filled to overflowing with all that God did in our hearts during these past three months.

And this time away would not have been possible without the full support of our staff team. Debi, Andy, and Jake carried the responsibilities of ministry throughout the summer, and did a superb job. We are so grateful for them. We also are blessed with nearly 25 volunteers, and as our time off began before the last school year was completed, we are so grateful for how they finished out the school year of ministry to students. We are very blessed by our team of staff and volunteers.

As we start back up and prepare for a brand new school year, we are also starting with a brand new name. Student Venture has changed it's name to Cru, in conjunction with the recent name change for Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. The Cru ministry to college students and to middle and high school students - all with the same name Cru - providing a common thread as students move from one arena of learning to another. All with the same purpose, and goal of connecting people to Jesus. A different name, but the same vision, purpose, and goal.

As this new name change for Student Venture became effective yesterday, on August 1, 2012, we will be continuing to make the necessary adjustments with the details of a name change throughout the coming weeks and months. Thanks for your patience, as it affects not only blog name changes, but changes in other places, as well.

Please pray with us as we meet as a staff team and with our volunteers here in the Omaha area, and for all the Cru staff across the U.S. This is a busy season of preparing for a new school year of impacting students. We cannot accomplish any of what we desire on our own - we are in complete dependence on God, and on the prayers of many. Please pray for our existing Cru ministries on six area middle and high school campuses. And please pray for the potential of five or more new middle school and high school campuses in our area opening up to Cru this fall.

It is our desire to keep you posted regularly about prayer needs, and about what God is doing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Survey at South High SV

Students at South High in Omaha will be finishing up another school year soon, and those who gathered at the Student Venture meeting a week ago took time to answer a few survey questions for us.

If Student Venture has helped you in your relationship with God, please explain how.

"It has made me realize so many things about me and life. 
The importance of our relationship with God."

"Instead of partying throughout high school, 
it has kept me connected and faith within Him."

"SV challenged me to read the Bible more."

"It helped me through depression, suicidal thoughts, 
eating disorders, abuse, and hopelessness."

"I've learned things I have previously not known."

"I have learned to be able to talk to God as a friend."

These few examples of the answers given are an encouragement to us as to how God is at work in the lives of these students in this very ethnically diverse school.  Please pray for these students to continue to grow and learn to multiply their faith in other students' lives.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Silent Auction Fundraiser

After weeks of preparation, and after receiving many generous donations of items by area businesses and individuals - our annual fundraiser was held Saturday, March 3. Two years ago we held our very first Silent Auction in Blair, and this year we were so blessed to be invited to be a part of the Omaha Campus Crusade Silent Auction held in the Old Market area of Omaha. Such a privilege to work together with the Cru Staff Team to put on this fundraising event.

Andy & Tyler checked in our many guests, giving them each a bidding number to use. There were over seventy items to look over, and bid on. A wide variety - ranging from gift certificates for golfing to salon services, and baskets ranging from gluten-free baking mixes to family movie nights. So grateful for the many businesses and individuals who donated items for our Silent Auction.

Midway through the bidding time, our guests were given the privilege of hearing from several college students in the area, as they shared how God has used Cru to impact their lives, and the lives of their peers.

And then Gary introduced two students (photo below) whose lives were greatly impacted by God through Student Venture. We're so thankful for Paul (now a college student) who shared of how he came to know Christ personally through a Ron Brown event co-sponsored by Student Venture back in his junior-high years, and how he then was greatly impacted by SV throughout his high school years. And we thank God for all that He has done in Allen's life, bringing him to a relationship with God after his very tumultuous childhood years, and how God is transforming his life through the opportunities for growth in Student Venture.

We left the Silent Auction thanking God for His work in the lives of college and high school students, for the privilege of being part of this fundraiser together with the Omaha Cru Team, and for funds raised for our SV Operating Account. We praise God for all that was accomplished for His purposes through the event.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Silent Auction

You are invited to the 2012

Silent Auction Fundraiser

Saturday, March 3, 7-9 pm
Held in the Old Market Area 
at GAMe (Great Adventure Ministries)
1314 Jones Street, Omaha, NE
(stairs located in front of 1316 Jones)

Benefitting the Omaha Area
Student Venture / CRU

Join us for an evening of fun ...
families are welcome!
Childcare will be provided.

Appetizers, desserts, and drinks will be served.

Items to be auctioned include:
weekend getaways, golf, zoo tickets, 
massages, salon services,
paintball outing, canoe outing,
and many, many more!

(We are still accepting donations as well. 
If you have a business and can donate goods or services, 
we would appreciate it.)

Please RSVP by February 29th
Respond online to:
or call 402 968-1286

If you are unable to attend, but would still like to contribute,
you can send a check payable to Campus Crusade for Christ to:

Student Venture NE/IA
PO Box 184
Fort Calhoun, NE  68023

or give online at:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Student-Led Movements

Student leaders are the key at Fort Calhoun High School SV. They have been instrumental in bringing over 50 of their fellow students to SV meetings in the past two years.

Small discussion groups at these SV meetings are led by these student leaders who are passionate about their peers coming to know Christ and grow in Him. Sometimes some of the new students who come are wary of being pressured into something new that they're not sure about. Our student leaders do a great job of giving these new students the freedom to share and discuss where they are coming from without putting them down. Even so, some new students become defensive and argumentative.

This happened recently with several new students the same evening. But our student leaders did such a great job showing them respect and friendship not only at the SV meeting, but also in school over the next week. And these new students have been back every week since, and with a completely different attitude. Now, they are sharing very positively about Christ in the small groups.

In fact, we were surprised and impressed to read the following facebook status of one of these new students recently:

"I love Jesus and you know what 
I'm not afraid to talk to you about Him! 
Anyone want to have a nice talk about Jesus 
and His love for us? 
Today show someone that your a Christian 
and your proud of it!"

What our student leaders are modeling before their peers is exactly what Campus Crusade president, Steve Douglass, recently wrote about in an article to CCC staff:

As I write this, I am flying back from a meeting with many of our global leaders. Some of these leaders are focused on student-led movement. I had the privilege of talking with a number of them informally concerning university students today and how to minister to them. There were some trends we had all observed. One was that students are increasingly interested in knowing if the Christian life really works.

We discussed the importance of building relationships with interested students. Life-to-life connection helps people discover how they can have the kind of relationship with God that we have.

One thing some global campus leaders and I discussed is the change in how students prefer to learn. Today's students seem to absorb more lessons from discussions with their friends than from listening to a lecture or reading a book. This "oral learning" trend has a major impact on how we can best disciple students. Lectures need to be shorter and have fewer points. Teaching sessions need to be frequently interspersed with times of discussion in small groups. We need to allow for "self-discovery".

We thank God for raising up the student leaders at Fort Calhoun High, and praise Him for their peers who are coming to know Jesus. Please pray for these leaders, and for the friends that they are bringing to our Student Venture meetings.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Opportunities

Please pray for some new opportunities to open up two new schools for Student Venture ~ at a new Omaha school, and also at a Lincoln school.

We were recently invited to the Accelere alternative school in north Omaha to share with the principal and a teacher there about Student Venture. They are each dynamic Christians and have a deep passion to help these 17-20 year old students not only get their diplomas, but also learn to know and follow Christ. As a result of our visit, we have been invited to start SV during the school day at their school. This is a great opportunity! Please pray for us to secure the personnel and resources we need to make this happen.

In addition, we also have a new opportunity to start Student Venture at Schoo Middle School in Lincoln. A Campus Crusade (Cru) Campus Ministry staff family there has sensed a call from God to make this happen in their neighborhood. We are thrilled that God is opening this door. Not only is this a new open door where many students need to hear about Christ, but it is a new opportunity to partner with Campus Ministry staff as we follow God's call to fulfill the Great Commission with today's youth.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Students Share about FastBreak

Omaha South SV

Students from our area who went to the SV FastBreak conference in the Twin Cities between Christmas and New Years, shared their experiences with their peers back home at their next SV meetings. The top two photos show the meeting at South High School in Omaha, and the lower two photos were taken at the Fort Calhoun SV meeting. Blair High SV students also shared at their next meeting, but we don't have photos to show.

At South High in Omaha (above), Shayn shared about how we all went to the Mall of America during FastBreak and took the initiative to get into spiritual conversations with shoppers. He said that was a highlight for him, and taught him that he could do that with his peers at South. Josh from Fort Calhoun SV (below) shared things he learned from various speakers and then provided questions for small group discussion of what he learned.

Fort Calhoun High SV

FastBreak was a valuable experience for our students who went from our area. Besides the main teaching sessions and seminars, they also participated in small discussion groups each night back in their rooms. One of our college volunteers, Andrew, shared this about our guys small group that he led each night:

"I really honestly felt small groups went well this year. The group was very open and honest throughout the whole experience, and I really felt great progress was made spiritually for the students this week. There were real walls being broken down. I also know that the Blair and Fort Calhoun guys were talking about starting some sort of accountability group because of the week, so that may end up being really awesome, too. I think the most important thing we talked about this week was really being bold and courageous and I think that these guys will really achieve that."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

SV FastBreak

The Twin Cities, MN, is where two of our staff team, two of our college volunteers, and 13 students from our area were from Dec. 28 through January 1st.

Every year between Christmas and Yew Years we take students to a regional Student Venture FastBreak Conference in the Twin Cities. This year we had students attending from four area schools: Fort Calhoun, Blair, Omaha South, and Omaha Street School.

The students were involved in various worship times, training seminars, and had the opportunity to hear great speakers in the main sessions. The theme of the conference was FUSED (as in abiding in Christ from John 15).

One of our high school student leaders co-led one of the seminars together with a student leader from the Twin Cities. Josh and Abby led the students deeper into understanding the power of God through prayer, and the great resource we have in communicating with God.

Our students participated in a day of outreach, where they put into practice some of the things they learned. In the photo below, they are on their way to the Mall of America, where they initiated spiritual conversations with shoppers at the Mall of America. One of our students from Omaha South High shared later that this time was a highlight for him, and gave him courage and desire to share of his faith with his peers back at his high school.

New Year's Eve was a highlight, as the one hundred and thirty high school FastBreak students joined with TCX, the college conference going on at the same time as FastBreak, for a big New Year's Celebration. They welcomed the New Year in with a time of worship and prayer, followed by balloons and celebration.

Thanking God for all that He did in the hearts of students during FastBreak. Please pray for each of them as they have returned to their homes and their schools, that they will continue to be impacted in deep ways with God's love and His truth, and that they will make a difference for eternity on their campuses.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Omaha South SV in the News

Our SV group at Omaha South participates in various serving projects during the school year, and one of these projects was mentioned in the Omaha World Herald newspaper!

The photo above was included, along with a short write-up:

"Omaha South's Student Venture club tied fleece blankets. Some were donated to a family in need, and others were given to the Stephen Center, a shelter."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The New Year 2012

Photo Source

A new year brings new opportunities, and also brings changes. And one of these changes for us is that we are needing to make a transition (again) with our website. As our website location will be closing down in a few months, we are choosing to transition now, at the start of 2012, to this new blogspot location.

You may view our past posts at our website by clicking here. After June 2012 this site will no longer be available to us. All of our entries from January 2012 and on will be here at this location.

You are also invited to visit Cherry's blogspot for family news, as well as posts of interest to women - click here.