University of Michigan
Just before Luke left for CSM, he had a longtime friend approach him and tell him he would never find community in Chicago or Cru in general.
“We had a few disagreements on how united the community the Cru created could be,” Luke said. “He was very doubtful and very discouraging about that. Getting here, I was excited because I trusted Cru, but a little demoralized.”
Initially, because of the sheer size of the CSM student group and his introverted qualities, Luke worried his friend’s accusations would be true.
Two weeks into the mission, he lost his key card to the Lofts and his Ventra pass on the subway—a $150 fee all for going to work. In a fit of frustration and vulnerability, he posted about these losses in the student GroupMe, expecting only prayers. He felt most people still didn’t know who he was.
“To my surprise, some people of the mission raised more than enough money to cover the costs, just by small donations,” Luke said. “By the end of that night, I was given an envelope with $20 more than I needed. They had to turn people away.”
“As someone who didn’t really feel like people really knew me, people still cared intensely for my well being,” Luke said. “It’s significant for a lot of reasons, but it gives you a little taste of God’s love.”
During one of our first week at CSM, Hannah tripped while at her internship at the zoo and had to be rushed to the hospital, and though her commute to work and the hospital was very long, she was quickly accompanied by other students from the mission. She arrived back to the Lofts with crutches and and a hindering boot around her left foot, and in a city like Chicago—where walking is a requirement—she feared she’d be constantly left behind in every group outing. Already she feared her capabilities of fitting in, and was worried her injury would leave her further isolated.
“I was so surprised at how the community rallied around me,” she said. “I had a group of guys offering to take turns and carry me around the city, to church, to our meetings,”
Hannah was not expecting the community to rally around her the way they did.
“It’s been a very humbling experience, but I’m glad for it."
The Ohio State University
On the 12th floor of the Dwight Lofts, where all of CSM resides for their ten weeks in Chicago, rests a large, empty room with mostly white walls. It’s the Dwight’s Graffiti Room, where residents of the Lofts can go with the single purpose of defacing the walls and expressing themselves.
And this CSM student has helped to fill it with bible verses and Christian sayings, bringing light to an originally negative space.
“It all spawned from a funny conversation with a friend of mine at OSU, talking about how I’m such a small person but what if I had a kid that was giant?” Inde said.
And, though Inde has no children, he has found quite a few of what he calls ‘giants’. Basically, Inde, an introvert just moving into OSU from a community college, wanted to find a new way to meet people and make friends.
So he challenged himself to meet and talk with a new person every day—and ask them to be his “giant.” He asked them to describe their ideal world, and them give him life advice. Through this process, Inde also reignited his faith, which he walked away from years ago. He says he’s only “really” been a Christian for six months, because he met so many people through the “giant” process that pointed him to God.
At CSM, he met with a new “giant” every night, challenging them to write a quote on the wall before he interviewed them. At the end of the project, himself and his giants left a trail of light behind them.
“It’s been a really cool experience getting to talk to students here,” Inde said. “I miss being able to be the KGP to strangers, but it’s so fun being the Satisfied booklet to the people here.”