In 19 years serving with Cru we've seen a lot of changes. My hair's turned gray, social media became the main influencer, and time spend in front of screens has skyrocketed. When we first started, our main activity was initiating face-to-face conversations with students on campus. Today, I'm in conversation with seekers every day online. This requires a new set of skills, different than the ones Cru has leaned on for decades past. Email conversations have a different pace, and without the benefit of seeing non-verbal signals or hearing tone we have to be intentional to listen and communicate well. The competitive arena of gaining people's attention on social media also demands expertise. The digital world is a new ministry challenge with remarkable potential. I was encouraged to hear reports of what other countries are doing in digital ministry when I attended the European digital summit in Rotterdam. Video projects, Instagram feeds and Facebook outreaches were in the spotlight. Digital strategies has enormous breadth of possibility, with the need for experts in lots of different areas. I learned many useful things. To follow up on the digital momentum, May and I met with the digital council for Cru in France to talk about our local efforts to use technology effectively. This gathering was in Rennes, which is always nice to visit. The group took advantage of a Google workshop where we heard a presentation about how Google innovates. It's a pertinent subject, because that is exactly what ministry is doing by reaching into the digital realm. How is it working? Here is an email I received just two days ago from Alfred, who is receiving our email series on the gospel of John - "I am completely delighted, very comforted, and well nourished by this biblical study. Since receiving this email series, I feel a big change in myself... People tell me that I have changed, that I'm enlightened, and my way of speaking changed overnight." Praise God for what he is doing in Alfred's life and so many others!
Efrem stepped into the room within a room, closing the double doors at the entrance. We strained to listen as he started to play his flute. It was faint, amazingly faint. With 9 inches of insulated space between the outer and inner walls, the sound booth is very effective. After three months of effort, calls, emails, and jumping through hoops, it is finally installed. The boys have complete freedom to practice in our apartment! We thank you for your prayers for us and our neighbors. It is an extreme solution, but hopefully one the boys can employ for years to come. Now they just need to agree on who practices when!