Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friendship

"Friendship with a vision." For some reason that phrase has really stuck out to me this week. You see, for the last week all of us have been in Florida attending workshops and listening to talks put on for Navigator staff in the collegiate world. Many of the talks were about discipleship and a phrase used to describe discipleship was "friendship with a vision." Even though this phrase may seem trite to others, and as my husband said "as vague as it gets", that phrase still resonated with me. However, it also made re-evaluate some things in my life.

This last year semester has been harder in regards to time management. My priorities are 1) God 2) Ryan 3) Our home 4)Work 5)Bible training 6)Discipling women. This has been very difficult for me to wrestle with. When I look at this list 1 cor 7:34 comes to mind "An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband." I love my husband dearly. I am so grateful to God for our home and for my employment of teaching gymnastics. However, I now see the gift God gives single women, and I see the beauty of it.

With that said, I MUST also view this season in life I am NOW also as gift from God. I need to embrace it and use it wisely. I talked with many women this weekend to listen to what it looks like for them to do ministry with a husband. Thankfully, the answers were as diverse as the women. There seemed to be no "right" way. What I did hear though is to have one, to be faithful to at least one women and love her well.

So goes the phrase, friendship with a vision. My friend Alicia and I are going through the book of Ephesians this semester. Alicia is a student at SDSU who also happens to only live a couple blocks from my house. Yesterday she showed me this great restaurant that's an identical copy of Super Salad ( A restaurant my family loves going to even now). It was such a joy to talk about life, God, family, school all while eating amazing chili and biscuits. I love the way she can take a complicated idea in the Bible and phrase it so perfectly understandable. However, during the course of out time I remembered, I'm not just meeting with Alicia, I'm meeting every women Alicia ever comes into contact with. So I asked her "how would you explain the gospel?" She gave a great answer, but I challenged her to try and simplify it even further. I then asked if I could share with her 1 of the many ways you can use to share the gospel. I showed her the "Bridge Illustration." She listened intently and seemed genuinely interested in what I was sharing. To the point that at the end, she even asked if she could keep the illustration I had showed her! I then asked if I could train her to show this with others, and she readily agreed.

Friendship with a vision. I love hanging out with Alicia, but I also love that God has blessed me with tools and experience that I can then pass on to Alicia, to help her bless others.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blessings

Praise God! I (Val) now have jobs teaching gymnastics! Ryan and I crunched the numbers and realized we needed to be working 10hrs a week to keep our budget balanced. Along with all of you, the economy has also hit us pretty hard. We are so grateful for those supporting us though. It is because of you that I only have to work a few hours a week, rather then working 40hrs a week. It is because of you, and God's mercy that I can have the flexibility in my time to love the women on campus more freely, to pray with them, listen to their stories, help them learn to read the Bible for themselves, and to help them learn to tell others about Christ. We are all full-time missionaries in our lives and jobs, but their is something beautiful about being able to be there for the students during times when a typical 9-5 would otherwise not let me. Our God is a God who provides!

I love the women God has put in my life. I facilitate a couple hour long studies in the book of Mark. I know Harvest Bible did a session on this book so if any of you have notes or thoughts on this book feel free to send them over. It brings me so much joy to see these women deeply exploring the Bible at such a young age. These are the wives, co-workers, mothers, leaders, artists, and fellow church members or our future. How awesome it is to be able to touch these lives if even only for a season. I feel completely blessed. Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

First Week

Yahoo! 1st week of School, done and done!

Who: 6 staff and 3 students
Where: Campus of San Diego State University
What: Invite students to bible studies
When: 1st and 2nd day of classes
Effort: Intense, long hours, hot sun, much rejection
Results: Many women, few guys...

We've been praying and praying for men. We thought we had men from last year, but due to different circumstances they did not come back to SDSU. We started the year with two male students. Double what we started with last year, but still a number that's easy to be discouraged by. So here I am, living in a household of men. Seeing up front and personal how God is using this in their lives, in my life. It's easy to see the insurmountable odds and give up. It's easy to wonder "Why? Why after so much labor last year is it so difficult to see tangible results. Even after two days of recruiting God saw fit to give us only a handful of male contacts. I see Ryan struggle with this. Feeling like we're starting all over again in the male side of things and wondering if it will always be like this. I see disappointment in Tim's eyes, knowing that last year brought about so many more contacts. I have a talk with Gabe and we discuss how difficult it is to get financial partners excited about the individual, in a culture driven by numbers and events. I don't know all what is going on in each of these mens hearts, but one thing I see constant in all of them is determination and a hope in God, not self...Yet we constantly need to remind each other, our work is not in vain.

1 Cor. 15:58 Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Please pray for men at SDSU
For male labors who will follow hard after God dispite culture apathy
For finacial partners to get behind my team, and encourage them to look at quality...not quantity

Thank you for your prayers and we know that in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

So It Begins

School starts tomorrow!!!! Wohoo!

We're all excited here at the Buss house. Can't wait to see what God has in store for us, for the students and for the campus at SDSU. Please keep us in your prayers as we start out this brand new semester.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Empty

by Val


masochist

someone who derives pleasure from receiving pain


I wonder, can someone be a spiritual masochist? I feel like everything I do seems to put a block between me and God, and though I know all the ways to try and tear down this wall...I don't. So I hurt. I hurt myself spiritually. Why? Why am I so content being in pain and isolation from the Great Creator, the Lover of my soul? What sick pleasure do I get from this? Yet every day I continue this dance, twirling and twirling so I no longer see God.

I feel alone. I'm in a house full of people and I feel utterly alone. Not a word can I utter to the "friend that's closer then a brother."So no matter how many people I'm around, I feel alone.

I'm angry. Angry that the "good" I want for Ryan and I, isn't the good God has planned for us. I feel like I can't trust him. I don't understand. Why did he let me quit my teaching job? Why did he let us come to San Diego? I thought we doing the right thing. Is there a "right" thing? Was one choice better then an other? Why won't he fund us? Why has it been an uphill battle? Will it always be difficult? Why won't God let us get a job? And once we get jobs I'm so afraid that the job will keep us from being on campus. I feel like I traveled 300 miles to be on this campus and I would be utterly devastated if this job keeps me from it.

What is he trying to teach me?! To depend on him? To let go of idols? To stop listening to lies? maybe...probably...all of that and more.

But it boils down to...I just don't trust him. My very well being relies on God and I don't feel like I can trust him. He gives me every breath, every heart palpitation, every thought and motion of mine are a gift from Him....yet, I can't trust Him. He's never let me go hungry, he's never let me go thirsty. I have a home, I have a family and I have friends. Yet I don't trust him. He gives me gifts and blessing beyond number. He gives me health, clothes, and even flowers...yet I refuse to trust him. Where is this coming from? Why won't I trust Him? Why won't I talk to Him? Why do I keep him out? What sick pleasure do I get from all this?!! What is to gain from this spiritual isolation?

I'm afraid.

I'm afraid of what's to come. I see the future and all I see is grief and turmoil. I see heartache and pain. I can't see beyond that. Everyday my heart catches in my throat because I feel that this...this is the day will stop providing. I feel like everyone is born with a certain supply of grace and provision, but after that. Well...lets just hope you don't have much time on earth. I feel like our grace and provision has run out. Nothing is left for us.

So now, I must go and finish cooking dinner. To twirl and dance and continue spiritually cutting myself. Why? Because sometimes being honest with the God that knows everything, well it's too overwhelming. And for me, too emotional.

But after dinner. I will stop the twirling. I will stop the dance. I will sit with God and with His help, slowly take down the wall one brick at a time.

Because isolation from God, is the loneliest isolation there is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Home

by Val
So, we are now back in San Diego for the school year. It didn't really hit me how much I missed this place until we drove past SDSU. I think tears actually welled up in my eyes, which to me...seems really weird.

You see, I was at ASU for 6 years, 5 as a student and 1 volunteering alongside Ryan. Yet, I can't say I have the same affection for the ASU campus as I do SDSU. I remember a former Navigator staffer at ASU composed a good-bye video for her friends and donors before she left the ministry. I remember being struck by how connected this women was to the campus at ASU. Her video was so incredibly sentimental and nostalgic. I had to rub my eyes a few times just to make sure the video was truly talking about the same campus that I had been to for the last handful of years. You see, I didn't really feel any of that. I was incredibly excited to be off that ASU's campus, and done with the "political money maker" that I saw was ASU. The only sentimental I feelings I had were for the PEOPLE at ASU. However, I think I'm finally starting to understanding a little what she was feeling.

Add ImageWhen I think of SDSU I think of the countless hours Ryan and I have spent praying for SDSU. The miles on campus we've traveled while doing prayer walks regarding the campus. All the lunches and coffee times we've had with students in our short 9 month stint. It all adds up. The events, the Nav nights, the hangs. All for the purpose of proclaiming God's glory in one form or another. Our time at SDSU is intentional, focused and not centered around ourselves. I think that's what makes the difference. I was at ASU for the sole purpose of achieving my degree. No matter how much people told me, it was so difficult to to get out of that selfish mindset. But here at SDSU, there is not that constant struggle between self interest and the "interest of Jesus Christ."

I sorrowfully regret the time I wasted at ASU, focused in such a self-centered manner. But I am joyful for the things God taught me despite my disobedience. I'm beginning to understand more and more the sovereignty of God regarding where he places you in life, be it a college student, a Navigator employee, a resident of Arizona or resident or California. All of it needs to be put under the submission of Christ. My job is to glorify Him no matter what circumstances he puts me in, and to remember that he perfectly orchestrates every stage of life I walk through. It would be a shame to waste any of it on my own self-motivated interests. I want to be like Timothy...

Phil 2" 19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel."

I want to daily exchange my interest for the interest of Jesus Christ. I want to have a genuine interest in the welfare of the students at SDSU but also their professors, the janitors, and not to stop their but also for the barrista I see when I get my coffee, or the women that rings up my groceries, and especially my neighbors who live life just a few feet from my home. This is my continual prayer. I want to get so connected to this campus, to these people, to this community so much so that I hope my heart hurts leaving this place as much it did leaving the home of my family. A home is what you make for yourself. God gives it to me, but I have to learn to open my heart to it. Only when my heart is fully open, does it begin to be a home.

"Father God, open my heart, give me the strength. Help me to see the everyday opportunities you give me as blessings and not mundane circumstances. Show me how to love the students well and to use this period of my life for your glory. Help me to learn what it looks like to continually make this place my home"


Monday, August 10, 2009

Our summers end

By Ryan Buss

Dear Friends and Family,
First off, we want to thank you so much for all your prayer and support! You are truly a blessing to us and we love and value each and every one of you! As many of you know, this summer has been a summer where our trust in the Lord as been grown beyond what we even thought possible. We have had some pretty significant set backs in our funding (such as our salary getting cut back by 50%), but we have also seen the Lord provide in so many other ways this summer (such as a part time job to help supplement some income). We have had many encouraging meetings with friends and family, and God graciously gave us a community of believers to help spur us on to pursue the ministry He has given us!

Valerie and I have been challenged to trust the Lord, to patiently wait on His timing and provision, and to be steadfast and faithful in what we know to do in serving Christ. One of the prayers that I have had recently is for us to grown in our faith by having the "patience of the prophets", the "steadfastness of Job", and the "faith of Abraham". And I feel that we have grown in each of those areas!

Our time here in Phoenix this summer is coming to a close. We are leaving to go back to San Diego on Saturday, August 15th. We feel like our time out here has been fruitful, challenging, and encouraging. One of the neat things that we got to do was to spend some time with the two wonderful, new EDGE staff guys we will be receiving this fall semester! We are very excited to go back home to San Diego and to renew the friendships that were started last year! One of the most encouraging this for me this summer was to talk with a guy that I discipled last school year. He called me and we got a chance to catch up over what the summer has been like and what we had been learning from the Lord in His Word. Over the course of the conversation, he told me that we was coming back to SDSU so that he could get more training in how to minister to people more effectiviely and to continue to grow in His walk with Christ! The reason this was very significant for me was that just before he left for the summer, he was considering dropping out of school and enlisting in the military! Now he in coming back for the express purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ, getting a degree along the way! What amazing work God is doing in the heart and lives of the students at SDSU!

So, to sum things up, we have really enjoyed this summer with all of its hardships and joys! We are anxiously looking forward to being back in San Diego and being with the students at SDSU. Please continue to pray that the Lord would soften the hearts and minds of the students to be receptive to His gospel, and that we would get to see fruit being born at this campus! As always, this ministry is only possible through your continued financial support to allow us to be on the campus full-time ministering to the students! Thank you all for your support!

In Christ,

Ryan and Valerie Buss

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Building upon the imperishable, rather than the perishable"

This is Ryan Buss. I know that Valerie has been blogging for the last couple of months, so I thought that it was an appropriate time for me to blog! She has done such a wonderful job, I feel like she is tough act to follow. However, I will blog and hope that it is articulate enough for you, the reader, to enjoy and think about with me on this matter :)

I just had a quiet time with the Lord in Psalm 49. It is a wonderful Psalm written by the sons of Korah who have written several Psalms to our Lord that He included in His written Word. This Psalm comes at a very good time in my life as I ponder and consider the future for me and my wife. To be perfectly honest, our funding has been quite slow and hard going, and I have naturally been asking myself if this is the path that God would have us walk down. As I have been considering other paths and careers that I could pursue, God has been very faithful in our times toghether in His Word to remind me to wait patiently and to trust Him!

Every quiet time I have had with the Lord this summer at least one of those themes would come up and I would feel encouraged by Him to keep pressing on and to persever in this time of hardship. Today, it was about my career options in general and how I am doing exactly what I love to do, and what I feel passionately led to do! The Psalm is all about how every single person is under the same inevitability of death and how all of our strivings and pursuits will avail nothing if not with the glory of God in mind. Here are a couple of verses from that Psalm that I have been pondering and have been turning my eyes back to the lifestyle that God has led me into:

Psalm 49
vs. 10" For he sees that even wise men die; the stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others."
vs. 16,17" Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him."

These are intense verses, but they remind me of how transient our life is and how the stuff that we strive for in this life is often stuff that doesn't last and will burn away in eternity.

As I was reading, I was reminded of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians in [1 Cor. 3: 11-15]. He is exhorting the Corithians to build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, because He is the foundation that will last, not the perishable stuff of the world. So, I was thinking of what is imperishable according to the Word of God that I ought to build with upon the foundation of Jesus Christ?

1. God's Word [Isaiah 40: 8]
2. God's Kingdom [Revelation 22: 1-5]
3. Soul's of men

For me, the commands of Jesus that best fits these pursit are found in:

[Matthew 28:19,20] "Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age".

[Matthew 6: 19-21, 31-33] "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroys and where theives do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will also."

"Do not worry then, saying 'What will we eat' or 'What will we drink' or 'What will we wear for clothing'? For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father know that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

For me, I see that we are to actively pursue making disciples of Jesus Christ, and that building upon the Kingdom of God with the souls of men [1 Peter 2:5] [1 Cor. 3:16] and knowing Jesus through His Word [John 15:7,8] are the most important things in this life and will last, even after we die! If you are looking to impact the world and leave your mark here, you will fail. If you desire to see people impacted for eternity and to know the Creator of the Universe and the Lover of our souls, that will last!

I tie this all back to what I am doing with my life, because sometimes I feel like it has no impact and that I am wasting my life away with pursuing fundraising and ministry and such. But then I read Psalms like this and take a trip with the Lord through His Word on the stuff that lasts, and am convinced that I have the sweetest job in the world; I get to see people impacted for eternity and I get to spend time with the Lord in His word as a job! So, all the fundraising and trusting of the Lord is just a step I need to take to be able to do what I believe God has led me and my wife to do!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Battle

Everyday we as Christians go into battle, every minute I'm at war.

War against my flesh: Rom 7:18 "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out."

War against the sometimes "cultural norm": 1 Peter 2:11"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul."

But above all...

War against a real, true spiritual evil: Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

But how often do I take a moment and really contemplate this fact? Not only that, but how often do I realize the dire significance of this war?

Hardly ever

However, it all goes back to what I truly believe. If I truly BELIEVED we were in a war wouldn't I be more proactive in how I live? That is why I'm taking this minute of contemplation, to help me refocus and remind myself of this battle. Because If I truly believed that this war was happening; then on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute to minute basis I would be consciously putting on my "armor." Eph 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

Just to remind you what our armor is...
  1. Belt of truth
  2. Breastplate of righteousness
  3. Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
  4. Shield of faith
  5. Helmet of salvation
  6. Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
  7. Prayer
Out of all of these, prayer truly seems the most abstract. Paul doesn't try to put it into a metaphoric word picture, he just states at the end of this section to pray. Pray about EVERYTHING!

I've really wanted to expand my prayer life this year. I've read some books, talked to some people, tried a few new things and learned alot during this journey. However, it just baffles me both how powerful prayers is, and yet how underused it is in my life.

At Harvest Bible the main topic of discussion was based on prayer and one of the pastors read some excerpts from "Do You Pray?" by JC Ryle. This was a great article that I'd recommended to all of you. Anyways, It really reminded me what a amazing gift prayer is.

Lately, in my personal life and in my relationships with people I've been more aware of the spiritual battle going on. It's actually kinda scary at times, to know that circumstances beyond your control are at work in my life and the lives of people around me. However, a verse that comforted me today was Psalm 140:7

"O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, who shields my head in the day of battle-"

I'm not alone.
God is fighting my battles.
God is fighting the battles for my friends.
But above all NOTHING is out of His control.

All I have to do is pray. Pray and remember ALL of us are in a battle. Are you ready for battle?


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fireworks

Only a few hundred feet, that's how close were to the barge in the bay that shot off the fireworks.For the 4th of July we headed to San Diego, our home, arguably the largest vacation spot in the US right now. We had a really fun road trip with Gabe and Paul, our (brother and brother-in-law respectively). It was pretty sweet.

Once in SD, we grabbed some Woodstocks pizza and chilled. It was really cool to show Gabe around town knowing that this will be his home in just a matter of months. Sometimes I get so excited I just want to show him EVERYTHING. I have learned to love the city and campus God gave us so much that I can't help but want to share it with everyone. I'm so excited to share that same passion for our home with Gabe, my brother and one of my closest friends. My prayer is that my love for the people in SD will grow more and more like Jesus' love for people.


The next day, Krystal, a friend of ours from the ASU ministry drove down with her sister Maxzi from her home in Long Beach. Now that was a blast! We had so much fun just hanging. It was so good to be able to just sit and be ourselves with no agenda or expectations. I met Krystal (now a Sr. in the nursing dept) in a freshman bible study a few years ago. It was my first "go" at leading a bible study and I remember thinking many times what a blessing that study was in my life. It's been awesome to see Krystal and the others girls grow in Christ throughout the years. If anything reminds me why I am in college ministry it's those girls. I'm still close to many of those girls and they "refresh my soul in Christ" everytime I see them.

We hung out at a park for a bit with some of the Molascons. Watching Dave play with his kids, I'm reminded how grateful I am to have him as our campus leader. You learn so much from a person when you see them interact with kids. Dave is such a great dad, he plays with them, treats them with respect, and even disciplines them gently when they're not quite getting it. I can't wait to get to work with him and his family again this fall. My times with his wife Heather last semester were amazing, and I really hope our relationship just continues to blossom. She's an amazing women.

Afterwards a couple students came over, along with our teamate Ann (now newly engaged). I almost forgot how much I enjoy hanging with the students and our teamates. They really have devolved into great friends. God has totally blown me a way with the friendships he's already given me in SD. I think I just needed to step away for a moment to fully appreciate the relationships God has given us. It makes me even more excited to see what other relationships God has in mind for us in SD

Now the fun part. We decided to jump on the trolley to go downtown by the harbor to watch fireworks. It was a first time on the trolley system, so it was pretty exciting. Thankfully our friend Jenelle, an expert in the arena of public transportation, came along. Jenelle's friendship this year has been such a gift from God. Both her and Alison have really made me feel loved and excepted in my new home. So it was even more exciting to hear that she is pursuing an opportunity to join staff with the Navigators over in Maryland. How cool!

Anyways, we walked around the harbor and ended up only a few hundred feet from the barge that was to shoot up the fireworks! We were so close it was amazing. It was, bar none, the best fireworks show of all time. All I could think afterward, was how thankfully I was for the people around me that shared in the experience, and how exciting it is to think of who God will allow me to experience it with next year.

Ryan and I can't wait to continue the work at SDSU this fall. Please continue keeping us in your prayers. Fundraising, as you can imagine, is extremely difficult in this economy. However, we've decided that unless God very bluntly directs us in a other path, we will be back on the campus of SDSU come this fall. We need your help to do that though. Even $10 a month makes a huge difference because no gift is too small. We can't do this without help, so help us to continue building relationships at San Diego for the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Waves

by Val
Last week we took a "vacation". Funny how our home is perfectly situated for such a thing. We had such an intense time during the beginning of summer with our training in CO and our meetings with people in AZ, I was completely peopled-out when we got back home to San Diego. I pretty much just curled up for the week and relished in my introvert side. However, a couple high points of the week was our trip to the beach, a half-day with Jesus at a coffee shop, and a trip to an amazing farmers market.

Ryan and I love just staring out at the beach. For me, I love watching any moving body of water. The tranquility and serenity of it...it's amazing. But the ocean especially, it kinda just washes over me and my worries. When staring at the ocean it's almost impossible NOT to think of how big God really is. A God so huge he can hold this mighty ocean in the palm of his hand...So powerful he spoke the very waters into existence.

Jer 5:22
Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

Is 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?

As many of you know, Ryan and I will be in AZ most of the summer, funding and looking for summer jobs. However, though we may be very far from the ocean, this summer I'm praying that both myself and the students at SDSU will not forget tlook at the ocean. To look and remember how great and powerful our God is. We know that he keeps the ocean waves from prevailing, so why don't we trust him keep our personal troubles from prevailing. I worry so much and I know I need to discipline myself to trust God with my worries. To know that yes, the waves will roll...but they will not ultimately prevail.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Path

Well, today we have to forge a new path for our summer. The previous path for our summer was to...
1) Go to Colorado for a week of training.
2) Go to Arizona to spend a couple weeks updating partners and thanking them for their support.
3)Go to California to help train students at a summer training program (STP) on relationships.
4)Go back to Arizona to meet with potential partners.

Well...our number 3 got blown out of the water.

Today we learned that the number of students attending the STP was far lower then expected. Also, our funding has been a difficult journey and never quite made it to 100% for the year. Because of that, our salary for a month or so has been cut back quite significantly to offset holes in our budget from last year. Because of these two factors we decided instead to go straight back to Arizona to find summer jobs and also to possibly meet with new people to share our vision and need.

This was an incredibly hard decision for both of us. However, we are praying that in the long run this decision will help free us up financially in the fall so we can be completly available to the students at SDSU.

We are completely financially dependent on the financial gifts of family and friends to allow us to minister full time on the campus. Their gifts enable us to be completely available to the students at SDSU with our time and resources. Without their gifts one or both of us will have to take a step back from the ministry in order to get part-time jobs. There is nothing wrong with an outside job, but we know from experience how draining it is on a person, a marriage and a ministry when one's time is pulled between work, marriage, community, and ministry.

We are praying for 38 new monthly partners this summer. Monthly commitments ranging from $10-$500, whatever God lays on one's heart. Would you consider partnering financially with us in the endeavor to proclaim Christ to this next generation? Please click on this link or email us at rpbuss@gmail.com.

Please free us to proclaim Christ to the students at SDSU without financial hindrances!

Please pray for us as we look for temporary summer jobs until we are freed up financially to minister full time with the students at SDSU!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Fabulous Five





We started the semester with just 5 students. Thank God that it was these five. These students have been such a blessing to us, both in the ministry and in their friendships. It would be difficult to fathom San Diego without these gems.

God has blessed the ministry at SDSU above and beyond our expectations. Yes, we started the year with only a handful of students, but God grew that little group 4 times over. It was so awesome to each of these students grow in Christ, and continue growing in their friendships with others and one another. It was a privilege working with these students. Lord's willing these students will stay in the San Diego area for another year, which is exciting for us personally, because that means our friendships with them have the possibility of growing even more.

Our theme verse for our ministry is Luke 10:2 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. These students have exemplified what it means to be laborers for Christ.

With the semester at SDSU now at a close. I just wanted to take a minute to show these students off.

Thanks guys for all your perseverance. Your friendships and laborers in the Lord mean more to us then you'll ever know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Community


By Val,

"This isn't real. It'll be hard going back, because here you have people who understand you...who get it and understand what you do." -Kristine Maschhoff

Ryan and I recently got back from our last training (called a summit) as EDGEr's. EDGE is a 1-2 yr commitment to ministering on a college campus with the Navigators. Our EDGE class recently ended it's 2yr commitment with over 70 members (shown at top). I've had mixed feelings about this class because I entered into it a year late. However, out of everyone I talked to regarding how this summit feels, I resonated with Kristine's comment the most. True, unfortunately I did not get time with everyone in my class. However, there was such a sense of camaraderie, acceptance, and partnership. All these people, in some form or another, have experienced the same things concerning college ministry as Ryan and I. Like Ryan and I, they've all experienced the fear of funding, the excitement of starting the semester, the disappointments of students flaking out on you, the hardships of creating community and the heartbreaks that come when you commit to living life alongside these students.

These 70 people created a safe place for me last week. I felt like I had community, friends, a place to belong. But...in many ways it wasn't real. Ryan and I go back to SDSU in a couple months, still struggling to fit in our church, fightning to find community, and inching our way towards true friendships. However, this summit gave me hope. Hope that SDSU can feel that same sense of community through the unitied purpose of advancing the gospel. That we will really be a ministry that picks each other up after falls. That everyone in the minstry will feel a sense of belonging. I pray that for our students....But I guess even more I pray that for Ryan and I. For how can we create community for our students if we ourselves aren't investing in our own community?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Off We Go...!

By Val
"Off we go, into the wild blue yonder flying high into the sun"....um. or something like that.

Ryan and I had our 3hr hour, gruesome, no bars held interview on Tuesday. It was to evaluate whether we could continue on in staff with the Navigators. The interviewers dig through all your past and find all your juicy secrets which you then have to flesh out with them. Okay... Maybe it's not that bad. BUT you do have to go through different aspects of your past and discuss what you've learned, how you've healed and if further action is required in order to help us to become spiritually and emotionally healthy missionaries.

God was soooooooooo gracious. We talked through some pretty difficult stuff and they asked some tough questions but through it all we felt our interviewers were so loving and full of grace. Coming out of it Ryan and I felt so blessed to be a part of an organization that cares so much of the well being of their staff.

So the short end of it is they gave us the green flag. Staff in Training here we come! Staff in Training is the next step in our training to be full fledged Navigator Staff. It is generally a 2-3 year commitment and is more focused on training. Our desire, if God allows, is to one day open a Navigator program at an untouched campus and this is one step closer to that dream.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Our trip to AZ

by Val,
Well, we're back in cool, strangely cloudy San Diego. We've been back for almost a week but we were so tired from "break" that I think today is the first day I actually don't feel like huddling in the corner and pulling a blanket over my head when I think of doing any kind of work.

Arizona was refreshing but also very tiring.


Family
It was so wonderful to stay with my parents. They are one of the most generous people I know. I can seriously say they would give you "the shirt off their back." It was also really good to hang out with my brothers at night just shooting the breeze. I forgot how much I miss that kind of community. My brothers are my closest friends hands down, outside of Ryan. I just love being with them. God is doing amazing things in their lives and it's way cool to see.

Also, we got some time with Ryan's folks and saw Robbie's AMAZING french horn recital. It's always so good to see Ryan in his "element." It brings me so much happiness to see him around his family. He knows he can just let loose and be "Ryan" when he's around them. His parents are amazing and so supportive. They did such a wonderful job raising him to love and fear God. They have such a deep love for all their children. I feel so blessed to be included in their family.

Friends
We were able to spend a good chunk of time with our close friend Matt. He's one of those special friends of Ryan's, that I actually feel almost as close to as Ryan does. For those of you married or in a relationship you know that I mean. It's a very special gift to have a close friend who is a genuine friend of both parties. It's also really comforting because you know you don't have to make small talk with this person. With matt I know the three of us can just hang, watch some shows, play some crazy games or talk about whatever is on our minds. Now that was a special treat. In so many ways he truly is like a brother to us.

We also hung out with the ASU Nav staff which is always good. We both feel so close to every member of that staff team. Their friendships are invalueable. It's also good to remember that we're not alone in this. Listening to the ASU staff I was reminded that our struggles are not new. Other people are going through the exact same things as Ryan and I. We are not alone. That was good to remember.

It was also really cool to catch up with some people I haven't seen since high school. That's was really sweet.

Ryan and I were also able to get some time with different students over at ASU. When I meet with girls I know that there is a purpose around it. That purpose is to help them love Jesus more. However, I always hope and pray that those relationships I have with girls will someday blossom into something more. Into a true friendship. When it does, it is such an amazing gift. I feel that God has done that with me over in AZ and I pray that he does the same in SD. Regardless, anytime I've ever invested in a girl in any capacity, God lays it on my heart to pray earnestly for them for the rest of their lives. So it's such a joy to hear from them how those prayers are being answered and to hear what God's been doing in their lives.

Meetings
God gave us TEN meetings with people, to share are hearts with, regarding the work we are doing in San Diego. It was so great for me to hear what God's been in their lives. It was also an amazing encouragement for the both of us. Especially to hear from the Burtches, who have spent years trusting God and persevering in faith. What a special sight it was to see two people who have gone through so much still following God's leading. It was also so good to get some time with the Paasch's. God has been doing some amazing stuff in their lives, if you want, you should check it out (http://gracetotheendsoftheearth.blogspot.com/ ). Anyways, it's was great to hear their honesty, their struggles and their stories of how God provides.

One of the most encouraging things for Ryan and I at this stage is to hear those "war" stories. Those stories that remind that this world is not for us, yet we are compelled until our last dying breath to share our hope in Jesus with others because He's worth it. We are soldiers here, and yes, God promises his provision and demonstrates it regularly, yet he also promises suffering. He promises it. That's some deep stuff for me to think through.

Exhaustion
Well, I think I tallied all the meetings we had with people this week, planned and spontanious, and I think it added up to 27. That's alot of people time for a self-proclaimed introvert. When we got back to San Diego I was SO exhausted! Thankfully we have a protective and wise campus leader. He's let us kinda take it easy this week. Which has been nice.

I feel pretty refreshed now and I am looking forward to celebrating Jesus with my husband tomorrow.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The AZ








So..we're heading out to AZ today.





We'll see how it goes. Alot of what we'll be doing is re-connecting with old friends. However, I know that we'll end up sharing with them what God is is doing through us over here in SD. I pray that God would stir even just one old acquaintance to get excited over what we do, and that they would partner with us. I hope you all will join me in this prayer.

Other then that, I know it will be a great to time to re-connect. Show off my hubby ;-). and get some time of prayer and fellowship with people from all different walks with Jesus. I'm excited!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Quieres Comer?


It's been weird/cool trying to step in my role as a wife. One of the challenges has been to learn how to serve Ryan and how to serve company when they come.

When I was little I spent a huge chunk of my childhood at my Nana's and Tata's. They ALWAYS had people visiting them. Along with that, my cousins, my aunt and my great uncle lived with them for most of my elementary school life. On top of all that, my family would come over almost everyday. There were always people at their house. And with people, there was always food. First thing my Nana would ask when we stepped in the door, "quieres comer nina?" (do you want to eat?). Even if we weren't hungry who could say no to warm cream of wheat in the morning, with so much sugar that you weren't sure which were the white flakes of the wheat and which were white sugary goodness. Or her amazing sandwhichs. Masterpieces on magnificant white bread (a no-no in my parents house) with huge slabs of tomatoe, heads of lettuce, hearty bologne and that oh so good slice of all-american cheese. And these were just her everyday foods. Don't get me started on her chile rellenos, tostadas, tacos, tamales, burritos, toritillas and rice, just to name a few. My nana was always cooking, and when she wasn't cooking she was serving. She was always the last to eat and she ALWAYS, ALWAYS served my Tata first. She was hospitality and love in human form. She was never stressed and always did it with joy no matter how tired she was.

Alot of that rubbed onto my mom. When I was little, everyweek my famly would invite a family over after church for lunch or sometimes even during the week. Countless biblestudies were held in their home. As we got older my parents didn't do so as much because they treasured the nights we could all get together as a family and they didn't want to steal away from that. But even when our lives became chaotic I remember my family would always be ministering to someone. Serving someone. There's not a time in my life that I can remember where my mom WASN'T serving someone. Either taking friends home from school, chaperoning field trips, opening the house for movies and games...the list goes on and on. Selfless, sacrificial and genuine. That's my mom. My Mom is an amazing hostess. She'd ask if you wanted a glass of water even before you fully came in the door. Ryan LOVES going over because he knows that no matter what time it is he know's he can get a hot plate of food. Sometimes I would wonder if our friends would come over for me, or for my mom :-).

So that's the legacy of servanthood I come from. Very daunting as I look at it now. Both ladies served/serving the Lord with all their heart. There were both similarities and differences in how their servanthood played out. The question now is, what will that look like for me? Will God bless me with this same heart of servanthood he bestoyed on my Nana and Mom? I hope so. I feel blessed as it is for God to have given me such wonderful examples. Wonderful examples of joyous serventhood.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Conference


On Febuary 20-22 300 college students from Arizona, California and Hawaii took time to remember. To remember God and his faithfulness in our lives and the lives of the men and women in the Bible. It was called the Remember Conference and was held 45 min. outside San Diego. It is an annual thing, this being Ryan's 7th conference, and at each one God has used something durning the conference time to grow him more into the likeness of Christ. Knowing the impact of these conferences we rallied some guys and girls from SDSU with us to this conference. Crazy enough, even though one of the students was adamint about not going...God softened his heart, and much to our excitement and surprise he ended up going with us. How cool!

We also led a workshop focusing on scripture memory. During the workshop we shared a ditty like "song" to remember 2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come." Much to our suprise, on Sunday the conference speaker up front asked Ryan to quote this very scripture. To everyone's delight Ryan turned to the students and 40 voices rang out "singing this verse". It was hilarious, but really cool.

God led Valerie to some sweet, sweet time with girls from both SDSU, and some of the girls she used to meet with at ASU. It's amazing to see God's growth in these young women! What a privilege to be part of their lives. Ryan also had some great bonding time with the guys at SDSU and much to his surprise...his brothers. 2 of Ryan's brothers, and both of Val's brothers came to the conference. What a blessing from God. It was so relaxing and encouraging to spend some time with family, especially now that we hardly see them.

Valerie had prayed that God would grant her time to catch up with all the girls that God had laid on her heart. He did this over abundantly! She had amazing quality conversations with every girl and then some. What an awesome answer to pray. Also, we both felt like we bonded much closer with the students at SDSU and in fact had some of the guys came over last night to play games and they stayed till 1AM! It is really cool to finally begin to get to that compfortability with the students.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fear

Why do I fear men?
There are 89 verses in the Bible about fearing God...
yet I choose to fear men.
Can man say any of this?

Job 38
4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?

8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt'?

12 "Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,

16 "Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?

17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

Can any man know all this? of course not! So why do I cower before a "mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes?" (James 4:14) Why do I freeze up at the thought of meeting new students? Why does the idea of sharing Christ with a stranger feel a little like walking down a dark alley? Why is my fear of man greater then my fear of God?

Fear of man, lack of fear for God. I've been struck by these thoughts this last week. I am commanded to proclaim His good news to everyone possible. Not only that, but it should be EASY to speak up for Him because of his greatness and even all the amazing thing's he's graciously done in my own life. Now, It is pretty easy for me to shepherd the hearts of women, to train them, guide them, even do all I can to help them grow. However, it's so difficult for me to evangelize to them on campus. How can that be?

Where's the synagogue? Where's a place of meeting? Isn't that where you could find Paul preaching? Isn't that where Jesus taught more often then not? Yet there are no bright lit up signs saying "Share the gospel here." But you'rw probably thinking "what does it matter where?" right? All I have to do is find one stranger, engage them in conversation and share the good news with them. Why is it so hard? I mean that's something Paul did on his DOWN time (acts 16:13) "On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there." Paul went to find a place to relax and pray. Instead he ended up sharing the gospel with this group of ladies where Lydia converted and became a faithful follower of Christ. All on his "down" time. *sigh*

This is the first job I've had where I can't evangelize to my co-workes, because they are already saved. It's kinda weird when I step back and think about it. So who do I go after then? neighbors? Just met them 2 months ago. Friends? haven't made too many of those yet. Peers? I don't know if I'd call students my peers. So who? strangers! That's all I have. One small step into conversation and magically they are no longer strangers. Yet it's so difficult for me to get over this bump.

So here I am, in a new land, with new people, and in many ways a new culture. I am a full-time missionary. (Weird. Hard.) There are no natural day-in-day out relationships that I can be praying about evangelistic opportunities for. Nope. Either I go up to a person, meet them, then share Christ, or nothing at all. It's such a weird dynamic.

So as you can tell, this week has really been a good challenge to me in regard to sharing the gospel. So often it's easy on collegiate Nav staff to focus on the disciplining and bible studies rather then the evangelism and planting of seeds. We are going through Phillipians in our large group times and it has been especially convicting for me to hear the words of Paul, "What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel." He's in prison, yet he's still proclaiming Christ to even his prison guards. How am I serving to advance the gospel? What am I doing on a daily basis to proclaim His name?

Pray for me as I draw supernatural courage from the Holy Spirit. My goal is to meet at least one new girl a day this week. By next post I should have 7 new names I can pray over (I already have one and I just started today). And then next week, who knows, maybe I'll up the anti to 2 girls or maybe 5? All I know is that I have to take some step of faith no matter how small. Because if I don't, I'm just giving into fear of man.

Who are you fearing today, man...or God?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Friendship


By Val
Wow! January 14th was the last blog entry, almost a month ago. Sad day. I guess we have been just so busy with school starting up again and all. Plus, I always think these blogs have to be these great epiphanies or these huge informational bulletins so I sometimes shy away from writing them. But honestly, when I read my friends blogs, I just like hearing where their heart is. What they're thinking and how they are doing. It warms my heart to hear about their lives. So here I go.

Oh San Diego, where do I start. I never thought I'd feel this empty home sick feeling. Me! The girl pulling at the bit at every turn. But yea, I really do miss everyone in AZ. It's crazy how much community there I really had. Especially since I had just gotten to the age where I was beginning to explore the beautiful gift of friendship God has given to me in my mom.

Anyways, so yea, it's tough finding friends, especially when we haven't been around most weekends. But I feel like I've always struggled making friends. I feel like it's never been easy. I still remember in 7th grade, I would come home devastated because I didn't know how to talk to the people in my class. My mom just said "smile, and ask how they're doing". That's it! But these simple words became "abracadabra" for me in opening the door to friendships. However, these friendships were shallow because I wasn't willing to put myself out there. If any of my friends asked ME how I was doing I would throw on my mask and become whoever they wanted me to be. Over the years God has taught me how to take off this mask, but I still realize what a long process takes to make these transparent friendships.

My friend Laura and I were "friends" since we were 6! But we never become true friends until we both started going through rough patches and began trusting each other with our junk. That wasn't until COLLEGE. That's like what? 12 Years? I totally hope it won't take me another 12 to learn that lesson here in San Diego. But it was worth it. I know that we will be friends until the end because we have walked with each other through all our junk.

Then is my whirlwind friend Loren. We went from outright hate for each other to BFF status in like 2ish years! Crazy! What was the difference? I think it's because she taught me how to really listen. How to not judge others, because it's only by God's grace that I'm not in their position. I think God also taught me alot about humilty in those years. Loren was so faithful though. So loyal and trustworthy. I thank God everyday for her, and what she taught me about friendship and what she continues to teach me.

Then there's my roomates, Becca, Alicia, Katy and Amber. God did a powerful work in me through them. Before that, I always considered myself a tom boy because my brothers were always my best friends. I just didn't think I could have alot of female friendships in my life. However, each one of these girls stripped me bare of these lies in their own ways and in God's perfect timing. I still remember to this day walking with Becca down campus one day from a bible study. And afterwards thinking..."wow! I really liked talking with this girl. You know, I think I actually like talking with other girls". Of course Alicia, Katy and Amber are not typical girls, yet I've loved them all the more because of that. They are so eccentric and individualistic. It's amazing just to be around them. They have taught me so much about life and just learning to be myself. I love them so much I can't even put into words!

Then there's those precious three girls that God put in my life at just the right time. Giving me hope and a passion for what I'm doing right now. Krystal, Maggie and Lauren our precious, precious gems. I have loved their friendship, insights, passions and honesty. I would not be the same person without them. All of them so so beautiful both insided and out. I'm just so sad that I'm not there as they continue to blossom into the women of God that He has called them to be.

Ah yes, and my heart friends. Sarah and Michelle. Even typing this..I just miss them so much. It's so beautiful to be able to share hard life stuff with someone who not only cares about you, but also looks out for you AND most importantly understands personally why this God stuff is so important. I love these ladies so much I tear up just writing about them. They showed me what true heart friends are. True heart friends are women who love God so much that they're love just spills out onto others. Thanks girls. I look foward to all that God has in store for us and our friendships even though they it looks much different now because of distance.

So, it's no wonder that it's hard for me to make friends. The bar is set so high already. But I know God will do it all in his timing. I just have to wait on Him and remember that he is far better then anything I know or ask for. Or as my new friend Jenelle shared, God asks us "Aren't I better then...." even if it's something as dear to me as a new heart friend. So yes Lord, you are far better then even friends.

Psalm 119:76
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.