1951 Campus Crusade for Christ begins

In honor of Campus Crusade for Christ’s 60th anniversary this year, we hope that the stories captured here over the next few months will not only remind us of what God has done in the past, but encourage us to trust God and ask Him for more, so that—as Bill Bright used to say—“the best is yet to come.”

Leading up to Bill and Vonette Bright establishing Campus Crusade for Christ on the campus of the University of California, Bill was a businessman who owned a candy shop. Vonette was a teacher. The newlyweds were very involved in their church. Through their church, the Brights would go with and even lead groups of young men and women to visit jails, skid row missions and hospitals.

While doing such, Bill noticed something: They had to wait their turn at these places because manyotherchurcheswerevisitingthepeopleinsuchfacilitiesaswell.“Itoccurredtome,”he said, “that there were no waiting lines to reach college students or the top executives of the city.”

Then, one night while studying for a Hebrew exam in seminary, Bill explained that God gave him a vision to help reach the world for Christ and help fulfill the Great Commission in his lifetime.

He believed his call from God was to start by reaching the leaders of college campuses in the United States and later the world.

When Bill told Vonette his ideas, she was excited to be married to a man who wanted to change the world for Christ. But how to start, they wondered?

Pray.

His slogan became “Reach the campus for Christ today—reach the world for Christ tomorrow.”

Bill decided to leave seminary, even though he was close to graduating. He wanted to pursue his dream.

They invited several trusted friends and mentors, such as Henrietta Mears, their Sunday School teacher, and Billy Graham, the famous evangelist, to be on the board of this new ministry.

Then they started looking for college students who stood out as leaders at the University of California in Los Angeles.

They met with women at the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house. There, Bill told the young women about his encounter with Jesus. More than half of the 60 ladies present expressed an interest in receiving Christ.

The Brights hosted a follow-up meeting at their house the next evening. They encouraged the young women to invite their friends. Top athletes and musicians attended, and also the editor of the school paper.

Soon more than 250 UCLA students—including the student body president—attended subsequent meetings.

The fulfillment of Bill Bright’s vision had begun, and thus, Campus Crusade for Christ was started.

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JESUS Goes Into the Chilean Mine

by Christian Maureira Campus Crusade National Director of Chile
Hello, team and friends! I want to share with you about the last two very intense weeks as we have worked on the project to take the Word of God and the JESUS audio version to the mine, but it has really been worth the effort as it is food for the soul. This long history of the miners that passed two months has been without doubt the longest survival experience for people trapped underground.
This all started on the 5th of August when [part of] the San Jose mine collapsed … The news was not good as it was only six months after we had experience the very large earthquake and tsunami. With a population less than other countries in the world, problems like this seem much closer to you and much more like it is part of your own family.
After two weeks without news from the miners, we could only think the worst. The government had made every effort, but it was reasonable to think that the miners were lost, above all considering the distance where they were located, some 700 meters (2014 feet) deep, with a difficult future to be rescued. But God had other plans, and two days later (the 17th day), contact with them was made. Obviously we were all very happy and we celebrated the miracle that they were alive.
As Campus Crusade, God guided us to think about how we could help these men and this was how we took the iniative to contact some churches in the north, leaders and authorities about sending the JESUS audio into the mine. It wasn’t easy in the beginning because of some apathy in the Christian leadership and a lack of a sense of urgency, together with the restrictive control of the rescue team. But God in His sovereignty provided that we were able to gain contact with the daughter and the brother of one of the three Christians who were trapped there.
During several weeks, I was in contact with them, and I explored the possibility of sending them audio material. Finally, I traveled to the mine with 33 MP3’s containing the JESUS audio version and an ample portion of the Bible. I was there for two days, and we sent the MP3’s through each family member who was there.
Jose Samuel, my contact in the mine is an extraordinary man who has really surprised me. The psychologists, who are giving help from the surface, have recognized that he has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support for the rest of his co-workers.
He sent me a letter that grabbed my attention for his incredible clarity of thought. For example, some parts of the letter are:
“I want to express my appreciation for this great blessing for me and my co-workers, it will be very good for our edification.” [He is talking about the MP3’s.]
“I am well because Christ lives in me.”
“We have prayer services at 12 [noon] and 6 p.m.”
“I ask all of you for prayer not only for us here, but for all the lost people in the world.”
At the end of the letter he signed off with Psalm 95:4: “In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.”
Let’s continue to pray for the salvation of these souls. Thanks for being a part of this.