Friday, April 20, 2007

Glory In The Midst of Tragedy

I'm sure each of you has heard what's been going on at Virginia Tech. I'd like to share a couple of things you probably don't know about the situation.

In 2004 X-nelo, the Keynote band we used to be in, played a concert at Virginia Tech. I don't have the statistics for how many people were in the audience or how many students prayed to receive Christ that night. But I do know God's Word is alive and doesn't return void.

Let's just imagine that at least one person was affected for eternity at that X-nelo concert. Then let's imagine that he or she was one of the people killed in the massacre this week. How would you feel about the ministry we share? Selah. Pause for a minute and think about it. How do you feel about ministering with us?

This imagining is closer to the truth than you might think. Four CRU (Campus Crusade) students were killed by the gunman on Monday. I don't know if they were at the X-nelo show three years ago. But I do know there have been thousands, (thousands!) of students who have heard the Gospel at Keynote concerts. What do you think the chances are that they are all still alive? I'm thinking very slim. Some of the students who heard the Gospel, some who made a commitment to Christ, have gone into eternity. I don't know of any personally, but statistics and probability could be used to prove that at least one student who made a decision for Christ at a Keynote event is now in heaven with Jesus. So I ask you again. How does that make you feel?

Remember the Keynote band, The Boyds, that went to Lebanon just before the revolution when so many Lebanese were killed by their fellow countrymen? The Boyds played in schools and led over 2600 young men and women into the Kingdom. What are the chances that all of those children are still alive? Very, very slim. Doesn't it make you stop and think?

It does me! And here's what I've been thinking over the past couple of days-- I am SO grateful for each of you partnering with us. Often we close our letters with something like "We couldn't do this without you," or "Partnering with you." Those aren't platitudes to make you feel good. That's reality. We couldn't do this without you, and you are partnering with us in bringing light to those without hope, to some who have very little time left here on earth.

I also think of Herr Schindler in SCHINDLER'S LIST. "I could have saved one more," he moaned as the allies come in to rescue those Jews he was able to save by buying them from the Nazis. "This ring-- one more. This car-- ten more." Although the Jews surrounding him try to console him because he did so much for them, he is racked with regret that he didn't do all he could. It's as if he eyes can see the spirits of the Jews he could have saved who died at the hands of the Nazis.

There is so much more to be done.

Last week Chasing Elvis, another Keynote band, came back from Eastern Europe where they played for Muslims and atheists. A highlight was hearing from two young ladies who accepted Christ last year in Albania. Their lives are CHANGED! These young women met the God of the universe who made them, and this year they glow with the Hope of their salvation. I love these stories of changed lives-- it's why we do what we do. But this week I've been thinking about all the students at our past concerts who haven't responded to Jesus' gift of salvation, and my heart cries-- "Just one more Lord. And another. And one more."

Without you, honestly, we couldn't carry on. The enormity of the task would be too heavy.

Blessings to each of you-- Cathy (and Tom)


Here are some quotes from the Virginia Tech Campus Crusade Staff team. You will have to copy the web addresses and paste them into your browser windows since I don't know how to make links.)


19.Apr.2007, 1:07 a.m. EST

By Tony Arnold, Campus Ministry PR

Thank you all for your prayers. They are both felt and very needed. Molly ( taped 2 interviews Wednesday--one with CBS and one with ABC. Each one took almost 2 hours. The interviews were emotionally exhausting for Molly and anyone involved. Molly is a freshman that is involved in the ministry of Campus Crusade at Virginia Tech. She lived next door to the first victim of Monday's shootings.

Watch Molly's Story

You can now watch ABC’s interview with Molly ( It mentions her involvement with a Christian Bible-study group. Some members of the film crews, producers and correspondents have been visibly moved by Molly’s story. I’ve received calls from New York and D.C. from producers who have been overwhelmed by the raw footage or the comments of those who participated in the interviews. I've had some incredible conversations with media people.


19.Apr.2007, 12:40 a.m.

Taken from Cynthia Thomas’ blog ( staff member at Virginia Tech (There are more posts by Cynthia on this site. Just click on the titles under "Tragedy" on the blue bar on the left.)

At 10 tonight we met at the chapel for prayer and praise. I split off in a group of 5 girls, and none of them were really ready to pray I think. We prayed for the victim’s families. One student who is attending a summer project with my husband and I to North Africa this summer, Tony, came and told me that he had received a support check in the mail that day from one of the Cru students killed. Wow. We were all really… I don’t know it was just a “wow” moment.

I stood outside with my husband and a student, Tim, and talked about how we were, and the student said something that I thought just summed up how I was feeling too. He said, “I mean, things were so great…” I just said, “Yeah they really were!” A lot of us are grieving the loss of the way it was, and unsure of what “normal” will be. Afterwards, I was talking with one of the girls in my Bible study, Jessica, and she was very grieved but unsure of why since she didn’t know any of the deceased very well. Two of the girls she leads have been greatly impacted, losing one member of their Bible study and another member being traumatized by finding two of the dead. She mourned for them, feeling completely clueless of how to minister to them. I can relate to that. I feel like that too.

Two members of the Billy Graham rapid response team were here, and we all prayed for Jessica, which I really appreciated and I think she did too. Oh, by the way, something I forgot to mention about our noon prayer time today. As we were finishing up our prayer time, Jeff, our director, says on the bullhorn, “now Franklin Graham is here with a message for anyone who wants to listen.” And there was Franklin Graham not 10 feet from me! To be honest, I was a little starstruck. I thought to myself, “Heck, yes, I’ll listen to what Franklin Graham has to say!” Franklin Graham shared with us a little from scripture, specifically John 3:16 I remember, just telling us that God loved us and was in control, but he had no answer for why this happened. If I could see over the photographers that were standing between us and him, I’d probably have enjoyed it more, but all of us were really honored that he came to minister to us.

I think that was when it really hit me how big of a thing this is internationally. I mean, its a big thing for us in Blacksburg, but I’m realizing its a big thing for everyone in America, and around the world. It’s strange to be somewhere where history is in the making. Well, it’s for the birds if you ask me. I’d give anything for life to be as it was a week ago.


Here is how our students were touched by this tragedy:

  • 4 students who were involved with Cru at Virginia Tech were killed in the classroom shootings.
  • The student who found the 2 bodies in the dorm room shooting was a student involved with Cru .
  • We have a student who was one of only 2 to be able to walk out of his classroom without being shot. As you can imagine, he is very shaken up after witnessing what he did.