How do you feel about family reunions? What if there were over a thousand people? Cru held a conference for all Western European staff members in July. It was called the Agapé family gathering. The last one was six years ago in Tallinn Estonia. This time it was hosted and organized by the Swiss, and it went like clockwork. We arrived at the campus in Sursee Switzerland and saw an enormous meeting tent with stage, lights, screens, and fans. Everywhere we went there were people we knew, colleagues from our time in Kandern and campus and IT people. What a blessing it was to share a smile and catch up with so many dear friends. The purpose of such a gathering is to reconnect, hear what God is doing all across the continent, and look forward to what he’s calling us to in coming years. The stories told were inspiring, and the vision shared was ambitious. In typical Cru fashion we are expectant that God will do big things! With a sea of staff serving in more than twenty countries, it brought to life the image from Revelation 7 of the great multitude from every nation, all tribes, peoples and languages worshiping Christ.
During this time, Silas and Efrem participated in the Shine program. About 300 youth had their own program and worship which culminated in two outreaches in the community. It’s such a joy to hear your sons enthusiasm for sharing the gospel! They camped out in a classroom using sleeping bags with a large contingent of guys from Spain, the Netherlands and England, a microcosm of interesting cultural differences. At the end of the week they were utterly exhausted. We’ve never seen them fall asleep so quickly and easily!
Since we needed to be in Switzerland for the conference, we decided to take some vacation there beforehand. This involved visiting towns with fairy-tale buildings and hiking beautiful mountains. There really are cows grazing the mountain pastures with big bells around their necks, and we loved the swiss cheese. One lasting memory will be the boys hand assembling their own swiss army knives. They step you through the process of assembling the knife at an actual factory table. Then they engrave it with whatever you'd like. The perfect swiss souvenir! Finally, May found out that the James Galway flute festival was starting the weekend before the conference just 30 miles away. We spent a few days there so that Efrem could attend some master classes. Every night one of the world renowned guest instructors gave a concert, and even Sir James himself played the opening night. It was a beautiful way to end our vacation time there.