|Sharing a copy of our recent newsletter, which we sent out by MailChimp email. Featuring Cru Omaha's new Team Leader: Jake Loftis!|
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Saturday, October 12, 2019
September is always such a beautiful month with a mix of summer and autumn. With patio planters filled with the bountiful pink begonias of summer, mixed in with pots of the rustic colors of fall mums. It really is the best of both seasons. Some days the weather reached into the 90's, and other days we felt the crispness of the coming autumn season.
It was also a month of a mixture of blessings, of work and of rest. A mix of busy Cru days, of times spent with family and friends, of quiet days at home. It was a good time of year, and I always want to hang on to September a little longer. But it goes by quickly, as each month does.
Sharing some glimpses from a few of our September days ...
Student meetings have started up for a new school year on six of our eight area campuses. It is an incredible joy to meet with students, often right on their campuses! The photo above shows students at Omaha Central High School, meeting as an after-school club on Thursdays each week. In the center foreground you see Seven, our amazing college student volunteer who helps lead, and also coaches the student leaders as they lead. He works closely with Gary, who took the photo. Please pray for these students, representing a variety of countries of origin, as they grow in their faith.
And it's always a blessing when some of our national Cru leaders come to our area. Here you see Bill Kollar, serving on the national leadership team with Cru High in Orlando. He also had served with the Cru collegiate ministry in Lincoln NE in the past. He took us out for breakfast at Paradise Bakery & Cafe on the 20th of September before driving to Lincoln to speak at the Fall Retreat for the Cru students there. It's always an encouragement when we spend time with him.
What would life be like without grandchildren? These two live just a seven minute drive from us. Jake & Cole seem to always have a football, baseball, or soccer ball in their hands! This year they are playing tackle football as fifth graders, and are loving it. We are thankful to have these two close by, along with our daughter Sara and son-in-law Sean.
The rest of our family lives a distance away, though two more daughters and their families are in our same state. Our two sons are in New York City, and our other daughter and family live near Dallas, TX.
And Texas is where we went for a sweet visit the beginning of September! You can see some of our fun in the digital scrapbook page above. It was an absolute joy to spend time with Cristy & Mark, Abigail & Addison (married in May of 2018), Crystal and her boyfriend Braden, Luke (a senior in high school!), and 13 year-old Brianna!
September was a beautiful month, and now here we are already in the middle of October!
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
This has been a significant year for us!
Did you notice the numbers in the title for this post - "75/70"? Sometimes we wonder how these numbers can actually apply to us. And then at other times we are very aware that yes, it's true, the numbers 75/70 do belong to us now!
Our family put on a very special birthday party for us the end of July ... in between our June and September birthdays! And we have been celebrating in various ways all year long as a couple.
It is quite significant to turn these ages. And quite unexpectedly we have also been led to make a significant decision in the midst of our 75/70 year!
Just as God clearly led us over 28 years ago to this amazing adventure of sharing His love to middle school and high school students through Cru, He has now clearly led us this past summer to set the date for our retirement.
Our retirement date is set for July 1, 2020!
This 2019-2020 school year is our "transition year", as we are transitioning things over to Jake Loftis (our amazing staff guy who is now the director here in the Omaha area), and also to our wonderful 20+ volunteers. It is already proving to be a busy, and also an emotional year for us, for though it is an exciting transition for us, it is also an emotional time for us as we make this big change.
We will continue receiving our salary checks from Cru until the end of September 2020, and are asking our financial supporters to continue on until the end of September 2020 if possible. Cru will give us a three-month additional period of pay after our retirement date, but only if the funds are in our account.
A New Name: From a Quiet Place
In anticipation of this significant change in our lives, we are making a change to the name of this online blog space. Just as the previous title - Our Cru Communique - reflected our calling as staff, our new title - From a Quiet Place - is a reflection of this transition time in our lives. Our lives are far from quiet, as this year at times seems busier than ever! But yet, in the midst of it all, we are seeking to still our hearts and listen closely to God as He leads us into next steps of following Him.
We'll be sharing more in the months to come about this transition time - sharing prayer needs for Cru Omaha, and for ourselves, and sharing the things that are on our hearts as we will be stepping into retirement next summer.
You are invited to come back here to read a variety of posts during this "transition year", and beyond. Thanks so much for your friendship, love, and prayers for us.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
|Sharing a copy of our Cru Communique newsletter that we emailed in February to friends and financial supporters! We hope you enjoy reading this, as well as other posts here! |
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
It is a highlight of our year when family comes home! And this year, we were so incredibly blessed to have ALL of our family home for Christmas! And when all are home now, that means 25 of us all together ... four daughters, two sons, four sons-in-law, a son's girlfriend, ten grandkids, a granddaughter's husband, and another granddaughter's boyfriend!
Twenty-five of our family + Gary's older single brother, and we were 26 around our table(s) for Family Christmas 2018 ...
We gathered at our home on Saturday, Dec. 29th, out-of-town family from Dallas, San Francisco, Brooklyn, and McCook NE, joining us and our two daughters & families who live nearby.
It's such a treat to be together, and also that we can still all fit around our table(s) for Christmas Dinner. The six youngest grandkids eat at a table set up in our living room, but they join us for a family photo "around the table" in the dining room, and also while Gary/Dad/Grampa shares a short Christmas devotional before we enjoy our feast.
Our special Family Christmas Day together continued until 1 am the following morning ... gift-giving, games, a fun snack/appetizer spread in the evening, and more games ... so much joy and laughter, and many memories made. We are grateful to God for His blessings. Life is full of trials and hard times for all (including for our family), but also filled with such special gifts from God. We are filled with thanks for His gift of family.
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December was a very full month for us, as it usually is for everyone. Preparing for having family home, and also continuing with all the activities of Cru on our various campuses can make for a very busy time. But also a very blessed time.
Gary was in Dallas (Nov. 27 - Dec. 2) for the Annual Leadership Gathering of all Team Leaders with Cru, both with the college campus ministry and the high school ministry. While there in Dallas, he also was able to spend time one evening with family ... our daughter Cristy & Mark, and their family. And also blessed to go to a special Christmas Concert at Dallas Baptist University where our granddaughter Crystal and also her boyfriend Braden, attend. Crystal and Braden are both pursuing music-related majors while there, and had a part in the very special concert.
Back at home again, our days were filled with Christmas prep, a fun visit from our daughter Carrie & Tyler and their two children who now live in McCook, and various special musical and band programs that our four grandkids who live nearby were in during the month of December. We also greatly enjoyed time with our CityGroup (small group with our church, Citylight Omaha) at a sweet Christmas Party, and also an invitation from a couple within the group to be their guests at an amazing Christmas performance of the Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs.
And also, our weeks were filled with Cru ... staff meetings, student meetings, and all the day-to-day administration of Cru Omaha. We finished off the year so grateful for all that God is doing in students' lives. And also so grateful for blessing us with having Jake on our team. It is a joy to serve together with him, and with our 25 volunteers who make Cru Omaha a reality.
Students gathered on our various Cru campuses for Christmas parties near the end of the month. Here are photos of two of those fun gatherings ...
|Cru Christmas Party at Central High in Omaha|
|Cru Christmas Party with Fort Calhoun students|
And now, we are into another calendar year of family, Cru, and more! Thanks for visiting Our Cru Communique blog, and we wish you a very Happy New Year!
Friday, November 16, 2018
Our fall season has held quite a variety of things. From weekly staff meetings, to meetings with volunteers and student leaders, to the weekly student meetings on our seven Cru high school and middle school campuses. Fall is always a very full season of Cru activity and energy!
Our month of September was maybe even extra full for us, as we were also preparing our volunteers and student leaders to cover for us while we would be gone on our vacation trip from Sept. 27 through Oct. 16. It was unusual for us to plan a vacation trip near the beginning of a school year!
We prayed, planned, and saved up our vacation days, and our money, to visit our son in NYC, and he had suggested that we come in the fall instead of during the heat of summer! So ... that's what we did! We also planned our trip around the time of the beautiful autumn colors in New Hampshire and Vermont, as we drove up there after time with our son.
The highlight of our trip was our 5-day stay in NYC ... we loved our time visiting our son, Lance! The first day we arrived in the city, we also got to see my (Cherry's) brother and sister-in-law, Steve & Beverly, and one of their daughters, Izzy. Meeting up in Chinatown was such fun!
After our days with Lance, we drove north of the city to spend the weekend with Steve & Beverly ... such a treat! Then we headed up through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and into New Hampshire for a few days, and than a few days in Vermont, before we started the journey home. We had planned and hoped to be in NH and VT during peak fall color season, and amazingly, we hit it just right! It was simply gorgeous, as you can see from the digital scrapbook page below!
Our route back home took us by Niagara Falls, and then a very special overnight visit in Michigan with one of my (Cherry's) dearest friends from my childhood years in Japan. Though Debby and I have only seen each other three times since our childhood, our friendship continues, and it is always such a blessing for us to spend time with Debby and her husband Dave.
Just five days after our return home, we hosted three visiting Cru staff leaders for three days. Our amazing Cru leadership try to visit staff regularly, giving encouragement and support. Bill came from Orlando (representing the leadership at our Cru headquarters). Scott (from Denver), and Nicole (from Dallas), are our new regional leaders who oversee and give support for our Cru Omaha team.
You can read more about their visit, and see more photos, by clicking here.
The first weekend of November held our annual Cru Harvest Party, hosted by a sweet, generous couple from our church, Citylight. Some students from four of our seven campuses came together for a fun evening of hot dogs, smores, games, hayrides, and an inspirational time around the campfire.
You are invited to read more, and see more photos about this evening, by clicking here.
Thank you so much for your interest in Cru Omaha, and in our lives as a couple and with our family! We love to give you these little updates, and we are so grateful for your prayers and support!
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Officially, the calendar still says it's summer for awhile yet, but in reality, the season has already made a change. The focus is now a new school year, both with our families, as well as for us who work with Cru. So here is one last post wrapping up some of our summer memories ... with family, and also with Cru.
We had a very special treat the first week of July ... a visit from our daughter Cristy together with her husband Mark, and the younger two of their four children, Luke and Brianna. Our grandkids are growing older, so two stayed behind: Crystal, with her summer job at DBU where she attends college, and also Abigail, who is now married and preparing for her first year of teaching after college graduation this past May! It's hard to keep up with everyone growing up and that also means that we are growing older, as well.
It was a wonderful time with family home! Then mid-way through the month, we headed off for Chadron State Park, in the northwest corner of our state, for a week of v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n. Our bigger trip of the year does not come until the fall season this year, but we knew that we needed a "week off" during our busy summer. We decided to stay fairly close to home, and reserved a cabin at one of Nebraska's state parks.
Our week away was just what we wished for, and more. Just the two of us ... resting, enjoying the beauty from our cabin deck, reading, extended devotional times ... it was glorious! And another special treat was driving back home to Omaha/Fort Calhoun via a stop in McCook. It was very fun to stop to see Carrie & Tyler, Cruz and Eva just three weeks after they moved into their new home there. We loved our visit with them, and getting acquainted with their new life there in McCook.
July and August have also been filled with Cru activity, as our involvement with students continues throughout the summer ...
Just a few days after our trip to Chadron State Park, we, together with some of our students, had the opportunity to partner with a group who serve the homeless in downtown Omaha once a week throughout the year. It was eye-opening, and heart-breaking, and such a joy to serve together providing a meal to nearly 175 of Omaha's homeless. You can read more and see photos by reading "Cru Summer Update" at CruOmaha.com.
Then at the beginning of August it was such a joy to have Jake & Chelsea, Eleanor and Audrey, over for a mid-morning breakfast gathering just five days after they returned from their month-long Cru mission to Tanzania, Africa. They, together with three other Cru staff, led a group of 16 college and high school aged students to love and serve students in Tanzania. We loved to hear many of the exciting things that happened, along with hearing about the challenges that were also present. You can read more and see photos of their trip by reading "Tanzania Summer Mission" at CruOmaha.com.
And now, as we near the end of August, schools have started up again, and we are very much involved meeting with our volunteers, our student leaders, and on campus in student meetings. On one of our campuses (Omaha North) a few of the students (above) joined us in a prayer walk around their campus at the start of this new school year.
Would you join us in praying for each of our campuses this year, as well? We desire to keep in touch often this school year, alerting friends and family to prayer needs, and also sharing what God is doing! You can check back here at GaryandCherry.com, as well as at CruOmaha.com for updates throughout the year.