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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Like being on a pit crew (May newsletter)

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“My Mac laptop is so slow. I’m think I might need to get a new one. Is there anything you can do?” Cristina asked us.

Cristina is a young woman who serves with Cru’s hispanic ministry, Destino. This ministry was born out of a dream that Latinos could come together to worship Jesus without sacrificing the unique expression of their cultural heritage.

She arrived in Plano, Texas to attend a conference for all Cru missionaries whose passion is to reach ethnic minorities with the gospel.

As a service to these staff members, my (Scott) team flew there to make ourselves available to fix any computer/phone problems they were having.

I glanced over at Javier (photo, above), who is a certified Mac technician sitting at the desk with me. “Here, I’ll see what I can do,” he said, reaching for her computer.

Cristina’s Mac is 6 years old and has several failing parts, but not a total loss. While she attended the conference sessions, Javier worked on her computer. Cristina’s laptop went from almost unusable to performing like it was brand new!

Over the next few days my team upgraded computer parts on laptops, removed computer viruses, and replaced smartphone batteries as well as offered one-on-one training about how to use various software programs.

It’s a bit like a pit-crew team. We help our missionaries like Cristina with her computer, getting her fixed up and back on the track to do what God’s called her to.

Technology is a wonderful, wonderful tool to help life and ministry work much more efficiently. We all get stuck sometimes and need a little help!

Thinking about Revelation 7:9, I look forward to the day when you have the privilege of worshiping the Lord side by side with Cristina, and representations from every tribe, tongue and nation.

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White Space

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For the last ten or so years, I have taken some time to stop and reflect on the previous months.

Below are a conglomeration of some of my favorite questions. This year, Scott and I decided to share them with you, praying that they’d stir you and encourage you to live deeply from the well of God’s grace.

They’re not questions prompting you to make new resolutions or asking you to pledge to try harder to change.

Relieved? (Me, too.)

Rather, they are invitations to stop.

When I was in college studying advertising, I learned about the crucial element of white space. The purpose behind the empty space surrounding text is to help the reader’s eye find a place to “rest.”

However, we’re often like ads runs amuck, our text spilling out to the very edges of the paper.

No wonder that kind of printing is called “full bleed.”

Would you consider building in 20-30 minutes of white space sometime in the next 7 days?

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Annual Questions

What 3 books from last year affected me the most?

In what current relationship(s) do I feel like the best version of myself?

What characteristic/attribute of God became more real to me this year?

What activities caused me to lose track of time (good or bad)?

What was one big highlight this last year?

What was one hardship?

Do I have daily white space built into my daily life?

We’re moving back!

Screen shot 2016-06-07 at 2.12.47 PM.pngThe faces of Melbourne, Australia, one of the world’s most global cities. All in the image of God.

Screen shot 2016-06-08 at 9.51.08 PM.pngThese are the 150 men and women of Cru (called Power to Change here in Australia) with whom we’ve loved serving alongside. We help people know Jesus in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne–and just in the last few months–Perth and Adelaide! We all got together for a conference in January and Angie led a recruitment training session that got some wheels turning in hopeful ways for the future.

45,523 in 2 years!

That’s the number of gospel presentations that have occurred within Cru in Australia during our time here!

Of those, 5,442 decided to put their trust in Jesus Christ! {That’s a big deal in a country that’s seemingly apathetic to spiritual conversations.}

It’s good to step back and look at the bigger picture, especially now as our 2-year assignment is drawing to a close and we are within two months of returning back to America.

Yes, we’re moving back!

What an amazing time it has been!

Angie and I are both sad to be leaving Australia soon, but very excited about what God has planned for us with our next missionary assignment back in Orlando at Cru’s global headquarters.

(We’ll clue you in more at the end of this email.)

The memories start flooding in when we recall our first few months in here in Melbourne.

We think of Hannah.

Hannah, above, is a new believer and our beloved babysitter.  Recently, Hannah’s dad put his trust in Jesus through his daughter’s influence!

 

Hannah: A changed life, telling others

We remember how, in December 2014, our family was invited to spend time with college students on a summer mission trip in a nearby town called Lorne.

Angie gave a talk to the young women, encouraging them to find their identity in Christ alone.

It was there that we met Hannah, who had just become a Christian. She was boldly stepping out in faith telling other students about Jesus.

Fast-forward to today, Hannah is now in her last year of college and engaged to Tom, who is studying to become a pastor.

Hannah has a desire to be in full-time ministry herself, particularly reaching out to women who have had similar challenges she’s had to over-come.

God is changing lives here!


Left to right: Scott, Josh (our newest addition who is almost done raising his financial support to report full time!) and James (our team leader) We love the opportunity to serve our missionaries on the field and in our country’s HQ office.


My (Scott’s) role: to simplify and stabilize our computer infrastructure

Before we got to Australia, my anticipated role was to have a heavy focus on teaching and training our missionaries in the field how to best use technology in evangelism, administration for ministry, etc.

Soon after we arrived, James (above) and I put fresh eyes on the needs of the organization. What rose to the top were the critical computer systems at our country headquarters in Melbourne.

These systems manage the ministry’s finances, donations, human resources, missionary care, etc.  They function in the background, often without notice until something goes wrong.

What were the main problems?

  • The setup had become bloated and unmanageable for James (we were running 50% more computer servers than was necessary)
  • These critical systems and our missionaries’ computers who were connecting to them were at significant risk of accidental infection from computer viruses, which could spread system-wide and cripple operations at headquarters
  • When power to the office goes out, our servers would crash within a few minutes. When this happens, it puts these complex systems at risk of corruption and not working when power returns.

Even if James wanted to fix these issues earlier, he didn’t have the capacity to, since he alone was trying to manage all of the technology needs of the ministry.

These in-depth projects took me over 18 months to complete amidst all my other responsibilities (like desktop tech for our missionaries in the office and on the field). But, by God’s grace I feel confident that our systems are far more stable, secure and much easier for James to manage going forward.

I created a method for James that only takes a couple of hours a month to complete, which helps ensure all of our critical systems and missionaries’ computers at headquarters continue to run as they should.

All this work is so that everything stays “up,” to allow our missionaries to do what God has called them to in proclaiming the gospel!


The Matchmaking Event (above) might seem like a speed dating night, but played on the idea of getting a great match. The day-long event just turned annual this year. It’s been one of Angie’s recruitment highlights from our time here. She designed from scratch a hands-on session in the afternoon that highlighted how a person’s strength plays out differently when mixed in different contexts and groups. This year’s event was last Saturday.

Angie’s role: believing God for the next wave of missionaries in Australia

Enough about me! What about Angie? Most of her time is spent being mom to Lizzy and Joshua.

But, on top of that, she was asked to help create a plan for how to recruit new missionaries in Australia. Below is a snippet of what she’s done with her one day a week in the office:

  • Helped launch an annual day-long event last year and this year to help college students and mid-career people process if God is calling them into full-time ministry.
  • Helped redesign the recruitment section on the Cru website, creating lots of new content.
  • Helped redesign the ministry’s recruitment brochure.
  • Led training events with our missionaries to help them effectively engage with others who are considering full-time Christian work.

I’m so proud of Angie and the legacy she’s leaving here!

God is doing great things through the ministry here and it also appears that He is planning something bigger.

I had a water cooler conversation with someone in our human resources team last week who said, since the beginning of the year, they are receiving more requests for applications then he’s ever remembered.

I believe God brought us here to help lay the groundwork for a wave of new missionaries in Australia.

We’ve prayed for over two years to not just fill “holes” while here, but rather that God would enable us to invest our time in ministry that would last long after our time in Australia is done.

We are getting glimpses that, by His grace, He is doing that!

What’s next?

As our assignment in Australia ends this summer, we will move back to the U.S. in time for our kids to adjust to a new time zone prior to school starting. I will begin my new role at Cru global headquarters in Orlando that is very different and VERY exciting!

To give a small taste, I’ll be part of a team that explores how Cru (both in the U.S. and globally) can match each person we cross paths with in the digital space (think: internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media) to the next best step in their spiritual journey.

Are you familiar with how Amazon or other online merchants use the data they have to suggest relevant purchases for you? Now imagine if we could do that and scale it for our ministry and people’s spiritual growth, ultimately with the desire to introduce them to Jesus! Again, this is only a small taste, so we will share more details in the coming months.

Whether it’s in the U.S., Australia or wherever God calls our family to serve, we love helping people get connected to Jesus. Thank you for praying for and with us!


P.S. Visit our blog for updates along the way, including bits about how our kids are doing.

Screen shot 2016-06-08 at 9.50.05 PM.pngGod has marked our hearts (and hopefully yours too!) with His love for Australia.

workin’ on the weekend (Oct newsletter)

Remember when we asked you to pray for James (middle) when he was the only one serving in technology here? Now, we have a team of 3!  Josh, on the left, is a part-time programmer who joined us in the spring.
Remember when we asked you to pray for James (middle) when he was the only one serving in technology here? Now, we have a team of 3! Josh, on the left, is a part-time programmer who joined us in the spring.

“Well, here I go.”

I’m (Scott) on my bike headed to a local electronics store down the street. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon that I had set aside to do some work on our computer systems at the office.

In a bind, I needed 5 specialized cables that just “happened” to randomly catch my eye the last time I was in this store. God reminded me that I could find them here. So that’s where I’m biking. I love it when He does that!

Back at the office, I take off my bike helmet, grab the purchased cables out of my backpack and sit down at my desk.

It’s incredibly quiet here since the work I’m doing has to be done when my fellow missionaries aren’t in. Thus, the Saturday. It’s not the norm for me to work a weekend like this, but I actually really enjoy serving today.

The cables are for a project to assure our systems can be recovered in case our building suddenly has a power surge or outage. Our systems are at risk of this at least once a year.

There are definitely chunks of today when I’ve gotten sucked into the pure tech part of the project (“geeking out,” you might say). But there’s also been other chunks of the day when I’m talking with God, acutely aware of my need for Him to direct me in how to best problem-solve. And other times today, I stop as God reminds me of the big picture. I get excited, remembering why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I want — my tech team (above) wants — people to hear about the incredible life Jesus offers.

The part I play is doing stuff like this, like helping to safeguard our ministry’s computer systems from disaster. The hope is for our missionaries and ministry to save time and energy that can be used to help tell people about Jesus.

Gotta run. Angie, the kids and the delicious smell of pizza just arrived. My family brought takeaway (take out) for us to enjoy dinner together since I’m working a little later than planned.

It’s been a good day.

A baby healed by God (August newsletter)

A Cru volunteer prays over this very sick little boy who, to the great surprise of onlookers, is visibly changed before their eyes. The mother immediately asks to know about this God who healed her son. Photo/story courtesy of GAiN.
A Cru volunteer prays over this very sick little boy who, to the great surprise of onlookers, is visibly changed before their eyes. The mother immediately asks to know about this God who healed her son. Photo/story courtesy of GAiN.

The little baby lays limp in his mother’s arms. A large hernia protrudes from his belly button and a blood-born disease courses through his bloodstream.

GAiN Australia (Cru’s humanitarian ministry) had recently arrived in Cambodia with physicians and medical supplies, bringing tangible help and praying that God would open doors to talk about Him.

While the baby’s mother waits in the open-air concrete structure, a sudden afternoon storm flares up, causing the clinic’s services to abruptly halt.

As heavy rains blow sideways, the only thing the baby boy seems aware of is the voice of Maija, a volunteer with GAiN.

She lays her hands upon him, praying to God for his healing. As she prays, he gradually opens his eyes and the limpness leaves his body.

His mother sees the sickness visibly leave her baby through prayer to God, and immediately wants to know more about Him. She agrees to have her son’s “spirit band” cut off of his little wrist. She then expresses a desire to follow God.

Many of Cambodian people wear a red string bracelet around their wrist, with a  purpose ranging from protection from evil spirits to good luck.

Villagers who had run into the shelter to escape the storm are suddenly aware of the healing and the removal of the child’s spirit band. One of the GAiN missionaries explains to the other villagers, through an interpreter, how they can also respond to this God who heals.

You can see that God caused the storm for His purposes, building an audience for the great display of His power in this precious life.

Oh friends! What a great, healing God we have — sometimes physically like this but always spiritually. What a privilege to be a part of what He’s doing around the world!

Prayer Requests & a Praise:

  • Praise! Lizzy’s adenoid removal surgery was a huge success. We noticed an immediate improvement in her sleep and overall health.
  • Pray for GAiN Australia to continue bringing physical and spiritual healing in Southeast Asia, including Cambodia
  • Pray for more opportunities for us to increase the operational capacity of the ministry, through IT and recruiting more missionaries.
  • Pray for us as we launch into our 2nd year in Australia. We want to be sensitive to how God would have us best invest ourselves for the remainder of our time here. (Can’t believe it was a year ago we found out we got granted the visa. Woo hoo!)
It’s August and winter. We still can’t quite get our minds around that seeming paradox. How do we enjoy it? We take a 5-minute hailstorm and turn it into an opportunity to play in the back yard and make tiny “snowballs.”
It’s August and winter. We still can’t quite get our minds around that seeming paradox. How do we enjoy it? We take a 5-minute hailstorm and turn it into an opportunity to play in the back yard and make tiny “snowballs.”