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Please pray for Christian Union's ministry at Penn.
Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

This feels like a season of anticipation. Even in normal times, when you work in a college ministry, as July turns to August you begin to get excited about waiting for the return of the students. There is something amazing about the promise of new lives that God can begin to change. And this year the promise feels even greater. For some of these students, it has been more than a year since they were on campus. At Stanford, for example, the class of 2022 left as sophomores in March 2020 and will return as seniors next month after a full 18 months away. That is a lot of time to dream about what God can do in the midst of faithful people gathered together in person!

This makes me think about the most powerful story of anticipation — the promised coming of the Messiah. The people of Israel had to wait a much longer time than we do — generations passed from the promise in Isaiah until the birth of Jesus. Imagine gathering your children around a campfire and repeating that familiar promise year after year while you waited: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

This month I was reminded of how God is involved in the little details of our lives. One of our graduating seniors asked for an alumni mentor to walk beside her during this transition. Because she asked later than the mentor/mentee match period, I found myself scrambling to find a good match. At the same time, another young graduate had to step back from her already assigned partnership. Providentially, the mentor who was left without a partner lives in the city where our young graduate looking for a mentor is headed! A new pairing was made and this young woman has someone to walk beside her. God’s timing and plan is perfect!

As our ministries prepare for an exciting back-to-normal fall, please pray fervently for these priorities:

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” – Psalm 86.12

Graduating students recently gathered at Franklin Field for the first time in 2 years to participate in Penn’s commencement ceremony. It was a bittersweet ending to our students’ undergraduate tenure. I am thankful for their resilience and grit during these past 15 months. The class of 2021 will be sorely missed! As we celebrate graduation and the end of another school year, please pray for:

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” – Psalm 106.1

As the semester comes to a close, there are so many reasons to be thankful. Christian Union Martus has completed a seamless leadership transition and our new exec and ministry team leaders have started their tenure with energy and focus. From Scripture memorization, campus outreach, social activities, daily prayer, and a strong finish to Bible courses, the students have been incredibly resilient. God has shown Himself to be faithful again and again. We are taking tentative steps to have in-person meetings at Panera and various spots around campus. And our students are beginning to think about the fall term and how we can strategically reach incoming freshmen. As we approach graduation and the summer break, would you pray for:

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him…” Psalm 103.15-17

There are glimmers of hope. It is still winter in Philadelphia as I write this– and this week is particularly wintry– but there is the promise of renewal. It is in these almost-but-not-yet days of spring that a day of 32° and snow is followed by a day of 65° and sun. Maybe that is appropriate for Lent: it is a season of lament, but the hope of Easter morning is on the horizon. It is most definitely winter, but spring is coming! Praise God for His lovingkindness to us. We are incredibly creaturely, undeniably mortal, and yet His steadfast love is eternal, and He is leading us to dwell in His presence forever. That is the ultimate hope to which all other hopes point. As we press on to that day, please pray for:

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

Psalm 95:1
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

There are always reasons to be thankful for God’s goodness, mercy, glory, and love. And there are seasons when His grace breaks through in such tangible ways that our hearts rejoice, where our voices sing out in praise. After a series of snowstorms, the sun broke through the clouds this past week. After a semester of isolation, there have been opportunities to meet freshmen face-to-face. After months of an eerily quiet campus, there are tentative steps taken on Locust Walk. Throughout this season of myriad challenges, God has been gracious to us! He is our hope and our salvation, and worthy of all our praise. Please pray for us as we enter a time of mid-terms, student leadership transition, and continued integration of freshmen into the CU Martus family. Particularly pray for:

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and friends of the ministry,

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

The theme at Christian Union Martus for this spring semester is Christian unity and perseverance. A personal theme has been summed up in a word: fight. Fight for unity, for hope, for joy, for the proclamation of the gospel, for that which is good and beautiful and true. Fight for each other. Mindful that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the enemy of our souls, we utilize the grace that God provides. Students are tentatively returning to campus. Freshmen, who have spent a semester attending Penn from their homes, are moving into the Quad. The commencement of the semester still comes softly, with many restrictions in place and many students deciding to study from home. But there is hope that a breeze will blow into the upper room and bring God’s reviving Spirit to Penn’s campus. To that end, please join us in praying:

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. - Luke 2:10–11

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and other friends of the ministry,

This story of the shepherds and the angels has always been a favorite. Maybe because the scene is so vivid. Or because it was such a stark contrast between field work and supernatural glory. This is definitely a season where we needed the reminder of God’s Advent power amidst the extraordinary ordinariness of Covid-tide. Of course, it would look a little different: God’s power breaking through a Zoom call, or an angelic host gathering above a rather lonely Franklin Field. God’s breaking into history is our hope. He came through 2000 years ago in the birth of Christ. He is trustworthy to come through again when Jesus will return and bring restoration and renewal to all things.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and other friends of the ministry,

In the past few weeks, we have heard from so many partners in the gospel here at Penn. Thank you for reaching out! It is a joy that we can pray together and proclaim the gospel, even if it is via Zoom. While we still await the days when we can meet with students at 1920 Commons or in one of the high-rise lounges, our Bible courses, Leadership Lecture Series, and discipleship meetings continue online. There are so many reasons to be thankful. CU Martus is thankful for the calling to which we’ve been called — to make disciples among the students here at Penn. Christian Union Martus is making a difference in students’ lives, and for that we are grateful.

Dear CU Martus Cornerstone Partners and other friends of the ministry,

On a beautiful fall day like today, I am reminded of God’s tender mercies. They are new every morning. From a beautiful blue sky to coffee, to the blessings of my family…God shows His abundant mercy in myriad ways. Thank you for praying with and for CU Martus. The ministry faculty and leaders continue to serve, gather, and equip students. When students finally do return to campus, it will be the same…only different. A new dorm construction project is nearing completion near 40th Street, the grounds look pristine (probably due to very little traffic), and the shops along Walnut Street are getting a face-lift. While the students are not on campus, they are a mouse-click away, and I am so grateful for them and their ministry to their peers at Penn.