Upon meeting Casey and Brooke at a Cru outreach event there were too many connections to believe. We were married in the same church, Kimberly and Brooke both grew up in Knoxville and Kimberly's Dad and Brooke's Dad both worked at Kimberly Clark to just name a few. As the outreach event with Cru was ending, we decided to head back to Casey and Brooke's place to see what a real Manhattan apartment looked like. We needed to know what tiny quarters looked like in reality as we were about to make a huge investment to call a tiny apartment home. While we were feeling like Alice in Wonderland with the rooms shrinking around us, we didn't quite internalize how much the experience defined what city life really is all about: connection.
As we listened to Brooke and Casey's story of moving to New York, finding a church, meeting each other and eventually getting married we realized there is far more to living in the city than the place you call home. In fact personal connections with people are probably the best indicators of what it means to "thrive" in the city so that true flourishing happens. Often people mistakenly think that it can't be too hard to make friends in New York City as you are surrounded by 12 million other people, but time and time again you hear the story of the Millennial who is experiencing "crowded isolation". Surrounded by people, but unknown at a level of true connection. That is why "connecting the disconnected" is one of our organizational goals for the Cru NYC Millennial team, and how we heard God using Cru in the lives of Brooke and Casey. Whether it was through being a part of Cru's leadership development groups, meeting each other (Brooke said "I have Cru to thank for my husband") or intentionally connecting both Brooke and Casey to others in their profession, Cru was a part of connecting them so that they can truly thrive. Brooke specifically mentioned that her Christian faith is tested often working for NBC in the field of journalism, and yet she was so encouraged to meet others in her field through Cru's larger network of Christ-centered millennials. "I have been able to hear their experiences and we have been able to grow from each others' experiences" Brooke said.
Brooke and Casey are both in professions that I would classify as culture shapers. What they do Monday through Friday (and some Saturdays too...) impacts the United States as Brooke does research for a headline television reporter and Casey is involved in the artificial intelligence division of a large technology firm. They came to New York as a calling. Casey says he knew if "you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere", and that was a compelling part of him moving there. But we heard in their story that God is using New York to grow Brooke and Casey in joining with God in mission. "Sharing the gospel with our coworkers is something we are very passionate about" they shared with us as they explained what they are trusting God for. What instruments of God's redemption the church has in Casey and Brooke. Pray with us that God would continue to grow them in their faith, strengthen them in marriage and use them for His glory in the lives of their coworkers and in redeeming the career fields they are involved in.
Click here to watch a video interview Casey and Brooke made for us in helping us to cast vision for what we are about to do in NYC.