This is not a post about events, but I wanted to share it anyway.
This past weekend, my husband and I made the very familiar trek to Williamsburg. We have been there more times than I can count, but this time was a little different. This time, we were going to say goodbye and celebrate the life of someone we both hold very dear to our hearts.
When we were in college, we had the privilege of being apart of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). Cru is a ministry found on college campuses big and small that focuses on community building around the Gospel specifically through small group Bible studies. Mark and I actually met through Cru – he was the life of every gathering and wore pink…I was hooked from the start. I also met 2 of my favorite women on the planet at Cru (love you Kara and Em).
Our campus pastor during our time in college was Bruce West. He was incredibly down to earth and had a huge heart for students especially through one on one discipleship. He met with and challenged my husband every week for 4 years. He gave Mark his first opportunities to preach, write small group lessons and lead a small group. Mark is now a pastor, so this was an incredibly helpful set of tools to learn. He gave me the opportunity to plan parties and socials for Cru (which is obviously right up my alley). He met with me just about every week during my last 1.5 years of school and pushed me into leading my first Bible study (even though I was scared out of my mind). My first small group experience was so incredible. I met so many Godly women who I respect and love. They gave me the chance to teach them and I learned so much more from them than they could have ever learned from me. I would have never chosen to lead, but Bruce knew that I was ready. Bruce taught Mark and I how to connect with people where they are in their lives and tell them about Jesus. We are forever grateful for the Godly influence that he had on our lives and our ministry.
At the end of May, Bruce went home to be with Jesus. He was killed in a biking accident while serving as a Marine Corps Chaplain in Japan. He was 41 years old and is survived by his wife (of 17 years) and 3 kids (15, 13, and 9). I am so grateful that I was able to go to Bruce’s funeral this past weekend for a number of reasons. I was reminded of how he lived his life (“in a manner worthy of the Gospel” – Phil 1:27). The message and saving power of Jesus was shared more times than I can count. Probably the thing that was most amazing was to hear Bruce’s wife Maryann talk about him and then clearly and boldly share the Gospel and the reminder that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). Being with Christ is much better than being here, no matter how good your life is. While it was sad to say goodbye, I know that it is just for a little while. The funeral also gave Mark and I an opportunity to re-connect with some of the men and women that we “did life” with in college. We all went out to eat at Chili’s after the funeral in honor of Bruce (since we went there every week as a group in college). We shared some wonderful memories, but we mainly just laughed a lot and enjoyed each other just like we always did in college. It was such a wonderful way to celebrate his life and all the ways that he ministered to us during our crazy college years.
I just wanted to share this with you because it was on my heart and mind. I feel like you all should know about the good, the sad and the crazy in my life. All of us our running a race in life, but Bruce’s just happened to be at top speed (he was an amazing runner, so I am not really surprised). I hope that my race is as fruitful for Christ as Bruce’s was. Thanks for letting me share.
Here is a fabulous picture from our fall retreat my sophomore year of college:
Bruce is on the right and his 3 blond kiddos are in the front (or in my friend Kara’s arms). I am the giant one in the back hugging my friend Emily. Mark is the crazy one in the front acting like a statue.