What exactly does Scott do?

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“Hey, Jamie. How did your family do when the hurricane came through?”

“Fine. No damage to the house. But, we probably won’t have power for another four days.”

Ouch. That would be a total of seven days without power for Jamie and his family. He’s thankful for God sparing their property from damage, but the power outage is a significant disruption to his family.

When I (Scott) think back to my conversation with Jamie, I can see some parallels in his situation and what my team does for Cru. Yes, we create elaborate contingency plans in case the worst happens (e.g. Hurricane Irma knocks out our headquarters’ power for 3 days).

But, what my team strives for is rarely noticed. Just like power or a/c is rarely noticed by the average Floridan or Houstonian or Caribbean friend…until we don’t have it.

My team exists to help provide stability and dependability for Cru to operate and communicate effectively.

Why? We do this in order for the gospel of Jesus to go forth around the world.

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Some examples in how this plays out are:

  • Fast and dependable internet access, since it’s what most of the work our 1,000 staff at our global headquarters require
  • Maintain and improve our video conferencing systems to enable strategy and coaching meetings to our missionaries across the world
  • Data security to protect Cru’s donor information
  • Disaster recovery solutions in worst-case scenarios
  • Office phone systems for our field missionaries to connect with our headquarters, as well as receive calls from our donors
  • Reliable computer network for our on-site donation systems (which processes the financial gifts which provide for our missionaries all around the world).

Cru has an ambitious goal of reaching 10 million multiplying disciples by the end of 2020, in order to reach the 5 billion who have never tasted the goodness of Jesus Christ.

My role as a network engineer brings leverage to this vision, enabling the ministry that God has given us and Cru to continue fruitfully.

All so that people can hear about Jesus, wherever they live.

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Chapter 2: the Dance of Showing Up

It’s post-Irma life ’round here. A friend recently commented about fall decor she’d seen up and my face registered shock. What? It’s fall? Oh, somehow I’ve missed September.

So, deep breath. Kids back in school. Hurricane items almost all put away. And it’s time for my bi-weekly post for our weekly book club. Ha!

I loved the honesty Jessica wrote with last week in her comment about chapter 1 of Just Show Up. What I’m learning about showing up is similar–it’s not just about the logistics of how to love and serve a friend. Rather, it almost seems a bigger part of all of this is God exposing my own heart to His great care, making me more like Him and how He loves.

If you’re just joining us, here’s what we’re reading.

Here are a few of my favorite parts of chapter 2.

  • p. 38-39: “I didn’t know that specifics made all the difference in showing up for someone.” (e.g “How about Wednesdays I come help with your girls?” vs. “Let me know if you need something.”) “The beauty in offering a specific help instead of a broad one is that we get to help within our gifting…The idea that I can listen to the Holy Spirit and then offer within the gifts He’s given me is freeing.” (aka you don’t have to cook! How freeing!) “We put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything right that many of us decide it’s too hard to even attempt entering into someone else’s suffering.”
  • My big a-ha came on page 43: “One friend wanted to come [and visit Kara now that she was being moved to hospice], but she didn’t know when she should or how to best show up. Kara and [her husband] are being bombarded by offers of help–and they don’t have the ability to answer everyone or make all those decisions. After this friend prayed about it and sought counsel, someone advised her to stop asking the ones suffering to make a decision. Instead, she made plans, finding her own transportation and a place to stay outside of Kara’s home. Then she told them, ‘I’m coming and I’d love to see you. But if it doesn’t work out, I understand.'” Cue goosebumps. What a wonderful perspective and GIFT! The friend was loving Kara by not putting more burden on her friend and open-handedly offering a visit.

What about you? I’d love to hear what you’re chewing on from chapter 2.

Chapter 1: The Value of Showing Up

If you got a chance to read the introduction and chapter 1, let’s chat! (If not, it’s not too late. Jump in whenever you can! Here’s more about our online book club for Just Show Up.)

Here are some questions to get us started. Feel free to answer any of them or none of them, and comment on something else. 🙂

  • What thought(s) struck you as new or surprising?
  • Any question come to mind as you were reading?
  • How was it to answer questions 1 & 2 on page 31?

 

How to walk with hurting friends :: join me for an online book club?

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For months, I’ve been thinking about this idea of “just showing up.”

Actually, it must have been for years, because I asked a friend to bring this book with her when she was coming to visit us in Australia a few months after our first miscarriage.

That title encompassed what we’d experienced as many friends on two sides of the world chose to walk alongside us, our hearts grasping at breath after the loss of our baby.

My life was marked. Our family’s lives were marked. I can only imagine hard much harder our road would have been without them just showing up.

The book quietly testified to that truth from shelf by title alone until just a few weeks ago. The spine of the book unbroken until a sweet young friend of mine found herself a new member of the sorority none of us wants to be in — the women who’ve miscarried.

That’s when I went hunting for the book in a box yet unpacked. I opened it, asking God to help me know how to love my friend well.

Even after weathering the loss of two babies (another one, Gabriel, last December), I felt a wave of amnesia as to what had ministered to my heart so much. Help me know how to love her, Lord? How can I help?

Do you ever wonder the same when you hear of a hurting friend?

There can be barriers, can’t there? I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Or, I am a horrible cook. Or, I’m actually scared of medical things. Or, It’s too close to home. Or, My own wound is still so raw.

Those are valid concerns. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be held back. But I’d like to offer that we were made in God’s image. And He’s always been in community with Himself, the godhead, as the Father, Son and Spirit. We were crafted from our very start for community. No wonder we long for that at our deepest level.

What would it look like to move toward others, empowered by the One who made us, knowing that we need to receive and we need to give? We need each other.

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer. It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.

In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.

The author, Kara Tippetts, writes this in the introduction of the book. I absolutely love this.

Showing up for another says, “I see you. Your pain is known, and though I cannot make it better, I’m here and that’s what matters…

Friends. Community. It is the only way to know and be known. It’s where we see our own humanity and frailty, our gifts and our weaknesses. When we show up for one another, we invade each other in love and become witnesses to the truth that trials and sickness and pain are not the whole story. There’s more, so much more. We can remind one another that our lives are not a mistake. And, most importantly, that we are loved with an everlasting love.”

Maybe you’ve had a taste of a community of friends that seem to match Kara’s words. Or, perhaps, you haven’t but that picture stirs you to think that something like that could exist.

Join me in a very loosely organized online book club starting today.

  1. Buy the book (ebook, or audio) from Amazon or another bookstore, or borrow from the library. (Hoopla is my new favorite way to borrow audio books and listen from my phone or ipad.)
  2. Read the introduction and chapter 1 this week. (A quick and easy read yet so much to chew on, both on a practical-level and heart level.)
  3. Next Tuesday I’ll write a post asking for your thoughts. This is what I’m really looking forward to!

Until then, I’d love you to leave a comment on the blog with one practical way that someone has “shown up” for you, big or small, that really helped when you were going through a hard time.

 

 

 

 

National College-Bound “Scouting” Day

Hey, friends! Scott here.

Did you know there will be 10 million college freshmen entering a U.S. college this fall? Whew! What an incredibly important time to pray and help these young men and women connect with people who love Jesus on their campus.

I and about 15 others are crammed into a meeting room at Cru headquarters for National College-Bound “Scouting” Day.

Using Facebook, we and many others with Cru throughout the country are scouting out incoming college freshman who are Christians, so that we can offer to connect them with an upper-classmen that is involved with Cru.

Would you pray for us to be successful in finding as many incoming Christian freshman as possible, so they can get plugged into with other believers with Cru the first week of classes?

In addition to praying, here’s another way you can help:

If you know an incoming college freshman who might like to be connected on campus, here’s a quick and easy way you can help! Find out if Cru is on their campus and then let us know by filling out the form located at http://www.cru.org/helpstudents.html

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We are so hopeful for many, many college students to respond to the very good news of Jesus this fall!

10 years later

Ten years ago, Scott drove to Ft. Collins, Colorado in his brown pickup. He didn’t know anyone but me and a handful of my friends. 

He’d taken vacation from his IT job to check out this Christian missions group at our biennial conference, and ask God whether he was to join as a missionary. 

He and I talked with two Cru HR folks over lunch at a table at this same Qdoba. God was stirring. 

And today, ten years, we are here eating lunch. Tears of gratitude to God who is fully capable of changing the world all Himself, yet He chooses to involve us. 

To involve you.  

Hope for Other Broken-Hearted Families

June 20, 2017

On a rainy day in early December, Scott and I walked down the labor and delivery floor hall, passing oversized photos of smiling babies on the walls. Our hearts and our overnight hospital bag weighed heavy. Our baby’s 13-week heartbeat was gone and we had come to be induced and deliver him.

Dani stood waiting for us at the end of the hallway. When we approached, I began crying. She hugged me with such tenderness, more like a treasured friend than a patient.

Today, almost seven months later, Dani (below, holding bear) again stood waiting for me at the end of the hallway. This time, I hefted a cardboard box filled with gifts. Scott carried two boxes behind me, with kids in tow. And just like before, tears filled my eyes when I neared Dani, and spilled over when we hugged.

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Joy and sorrow mixed, as our family presented the first of 36 weighted Comfort Cubs and “Quietly” instrumental CDs to Dani’s nursing team (some pictured below) to give to other bereaved mamas and their families who lose a baby, whether a few ounces or 10 pounds.

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I was given one of these bears the day Scott and I met our tiny Gabriel, then held and said goodbye to him. The weight of it caught me off guard as it felt more like a baby than mere a stuffed animal. I sobbed.

The letter, written by a mom who’d lost a full-term baby, ministered incredibly to my heart. She wrote about the weight of that moment and of the significance of my child. As I read about her hope in Jesus I almost immediately pictured a different scene—a mom who wasn’t yet a believer in Jesus, holding a bear and the letter. I knew God was stirring something.

My due date was to have been May 22nd, so Scott and I decided a way we’d honor the life God gave us in Gabriel would be to raise money to buy 24 bears and CDs (the CD is one that brought me great comfort these last months).

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We were stunned when God doubled that, moving 52 individuals and families to give enough to purchase 48 bears and CDs—enough that we’re giving 36 to my beloved Florida Hospital and 12 to St. Elizabeth’s in Lincoln, my hometown hospital.

Last night I stayed up late fluffing each bear and tying around its neck my letter of comfort and the hope of Jesus. As I did, I asked God for insight in how to pray for the mom who would hold that specific bear. Oh, the things that came to mind and the subsequent tears.

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We’d love for you to pray with us for the 48 moms and their families who will have had to say excruciating goodbyes to their baby(ies) the day they receive these bears.

And pray with us amidst the incredible loss and ache that many, many would place their trust in Jesus as a result of His work of comfort in their life? (P.S. If you’d like to know more about the cubs, the CDs or talk more, please comment below and we’ll connect.)