Ministry Update from the Deng's
UCLA Fall Retreat
Stillness. Not a word commonly used to describe a typical UCLA college experience, but for one weekend, we as a Cru community gathered for just that. It was the Saturday of our annual Fall Retreat, and in the midst of an October heat wave, our staff and students were grateful for cooler mountain temperatures and a respite from the rush of the city. Having just been dismissed to go into a time of silence and solitude with the Lord, the sounds of quiet were interrupted only by muffled coughs and the scrapes of chair legs against the concrete floor.
“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?”
Looking up, I saw Dee*, a sweet 3rd year girl who had just gotten involved in our movement this year.
“Sure thing,” I (Justine) replied as we sat down on an old wooden bench outside the lodge. Words and tears flowed freely as Dee shared with me her struggle with depression – her struggle against the lies about her worth, her faith, and her relationships with others that were being whispered into her ears. She shared about her near attempts at suicide, and how God graciously intervened each time she tried to take her life. As I sat with her, cried with her, and grieved with her, it was a moment of gospel beauty, knowing that even in our darkest hours of brokenness that God is with us and for us.
I wish that I could tie this story up in a bow and say that Dee is completely cured of her depression and proclaim that God is doing mighty works within our ministry, but that day is still yet to come. And that day may never come on this side of eternity. But even in that, Jesus is still good and He is still with us. He is faithfully and patiently working to accomplish His redemptive purposes and we are grateful to be a part of that.
As we step foot onto UCLA each day, I am increasingly reminded that what we are engaged in is no less than spiritual warfare. Just a few days ago, a man committed suicide on campus, the second such incident in as many weeks. Despite all of its collegiate fanfare and pageantry, this place cannot be mistaken for Home. So until we dance in a place where darkness finds us not, we labor to bring about the light. As it is in Heaven, so let it be.
- Please pray for our students as they are now "down from the mountain" after Fall Retreat, that they would continue to seek Jesus and follow Him.
- Please pray for Goodwin as he continues to settle into his new role as campus director, especially with two teammates recently resigning from staff to work through personal matters.
- Pray for Justine that she would know how to help and care for her husband.
- Please pray for our team as we continue to transition and heal from this trial.
Until the world hears,
Goodwin & Justine