“The biggest thing I learned was that there is tremendous poverty in the United States. I think I’ve always known this to be true but being faced with this reality was really overwhelming at first. Seeing people living under tarps with no clean water, surrounded by trash and devastation, was hard. I have seen similar things in my travels to Central America, but never anticipated the damage from a storm six months prior to be so pervasive in the United States.” Lauren (pictured right), a 23-year-old intern with Cru at Virginia Tech, was in Little Cambodia, nestled in the town of Rosharon, Texas, 32 miles from Houston.

Throughout March, the Campus Ministry of Cru mobilized more than 1,000 college students, staff members, and volunteers to spend nearly 11,000 hours providing Hurricane Harvey relief work in and around Houston. As one of 75 Virginia Tech Hokies forgoing the beach this spring break, Lauren opted instead for back-breaking, all-day manual labor—demolishing damaged homes, picking up debris, digging post holes, laying new foundations and pulling nails out of old wood.

“I would want the average Christian to know that there are people in our own country who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are people living in unthinkable poverty who are extremely open to receiving help and hearing about the hope that we have in Christ. If you have the ability to give financially, wonderful! If you have the ability to invest spiritually, even better.”

“I love to get down and dirty and work with my hands, and that’s why I came on this trip,” Lauren says. “But I’ve been surprised that the real work isn’t picking up trash. The real work isn’t building ramps or anything like that. The real work that needs to be done is that these people need to know Christ.”

Lauren’s passion to tell others about Christ is contagious. A former athlete, she was a party girl in high school. Emptiness accumulated in her life, culminating at a party her senior year. She sat on a bathroom floor, drunk and full of regret. “This wasn’t how I wanted to be at all,” Lauren remembers thinking. “That night, I was like, God, I need Your help. I need to put my worth in something that matters.”

A few weeks later, as a college freshman, Lauren walked into a Cru meeting at Virginia Tech. “When my life was transformed by the love of Christ, my eyes were peeled off of myself in a way I’d never experienced before,” Lauren says. “I started seeing people completely differently—as souls.” Pray for college students and those who live in poverty in the U.S. who need their lives transformed by the love of Christ.

Thank you for your involvement locally and globally in helping transform our lost world through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yours in Christ,

Steve & Robin

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