“We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19
Every two years, all of the staff serving with Cru in the US gather together for a week of refreshment, encouragement, training and casting vision. It is a really special time of God showing up in the hearts and minds of missionaries who are on the frontline of many different ministries serving in the US and abroad. Cru19’s theme was “Be-cause”, with an intentional double meaning in the title, and the order of the words in the title is very important. We must first “Be” before we can be for the “cause”. As 1 John says, “we love, because He first loved us”. It was a very encouraging week of worship, learning, and having intentional conversations about who we are as Cru and how do we continue to grow as an organization, partner well with the body of Christ and invite others to journey alongside with us. One of my (Sam) favorite talks was from Dr. James White, pastor from Raleigh, NC. He walked us through the pain of the crucifixion that Jesus was experiencing on our behalf, and it was a powerful vision of what we get to be BECAUSE of Jesus.
Another highlight from the conference was getting together with Italy staff we have served with over the years. Italian National Director, Franco Bosio, was there and shared so many encouraging things that God is doing in Italy. Right now, the staff of Agape Italia is 30% Italian! This is such an answer to prayer, as we have prayed over the last 11 years for Italian laborers for the harvest. There are young Italian staff who continue to join with what God is doing through Agape Italia, and we are so encouraged. One of the Italian staff, Giosue, is a film director, and he had the opportunity to share a short film, Unforgiveable. The film follows the story of Alice and Immanuel from Rwanda, who were on opposing sides of the genocide in 1993, and it shares their story of meeting many years later after horrendous acts were done to Alice. Giosue tells the story in the film to share the good news that allows us to forgive even in horrendous situations. Unforgiveable has been aired on Italian public television and is being used in screenings all across Italy. Giosue conducts a Q & A time after the screening and he told us he always gets to share the gospel during that time. Praise God!