Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fruit of the Harvest

Freshman Bible Study in the dorms
Freshman Friends
Over the summer Valerie and I began to pray and ask that Jesus would give us a community of freshman men and women who would desire to know Him and who would make Him known in the dorms. These students are the answer to our prayers!  Each of these students are pursuing Jesus and getting grounded in His Word. We normally meet in their dorm for the Bible study, but the night of this picture we had them over to our house for hot chocolate, cheesecake or pie, and really focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was a special night of bonding, discussion, and fun after with a Nintendo Wii! 

Not only are we meeting as a community, but Valerie and I have the privilege of meeting with each of these students one-on-one to help them grow deeper in their walk with Jesus. They are eager to learn and to apply what they learn. We haven’t seen this kind of community at SDSU in a long time, and we are incredibly thankful to God that He is forming this community for His glory and Kingdom! 

We are also thankful for Jesus allowing us to be with these students as they struggle with issues of faith and hardships in life. We see the gospel of Jesus coming into these areas and transforming them to bring glory to Him!

A Big Ask and a Big Thanks
We would like to thank all of you for your support, both financially and prayerfully. We would not be able to have this ministry without your faithful and loving support!

However, we have a budget gap that we would like to ask you all to help us close this year. Because of this gap we both have part-time jobs, and though this helps it takes away from our availability to the students we feel called to minister to. We are currently only part-time with the Navigators and deeply desire to be full-time!

Would you prayerfully consider giving a special year-end gift by 12/31/10 to help us close our budget gap and return us to full-time campus ministry?

We are trusting God that He will provide for all our needs, and we are so thankful that He has given us such wonderful friends and family to support us! THANK YOU!!

As the Lord leads you, please visit for on-line giving options or click the link above.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A New Harvest!

Well, a new school year has started and we are on the ground running! What a month it has been so far; exhausting, yet encouraging. Over the summer we had been praying that the Lord would form a community of freshman men and women who love Jesus, want to know Him more intimately, and who desire to share Him with those other students around them.Over the course of this month we have seen the Lord begin to answer those prayers so faithfully! 

It started with one freshman man, who we will call "Tommy", whom the Lord brought through one of our returning students. As we started to get onto campus and recruit students, it became clear that God wanted to use Tommy as a seed from which this little community would grow up. Jesus began to bring us to students who lived in this man's dorm hall, and who wanted to know more about Him. During the first week of school, God gave us open doors into 3 dorms; so we went up with some pizza into those dorms to see whom the Lord would bring us. After that night we all had met just about everyone on all three of those dorm floors where we were at! It was an amazing night of meeting students and planting the seed of the gospel in those dorms. After that, we decided to have our first Bible study in Tommy's dorm. We felt that the Lord was leading us to go through a study called  The Story of God, which follows the redemptive thread of God in Christ through the whole Bible. It was a smashing success! The freshmen loved to talk about all that God had done, and His relationship with human kind. They are learning about the dignity of man because of how God created us in His image, the utter sinfulness and rebellion that we as human  naturally live, and the ridiculous mercy that God shows us all the time! The study has grown from just one man and a couple of women, to a few men and several women, recruited by the students as well as from us. Some know Jesus, and some do not yet know Jesus.

Our desire is to see these freshman men and women come to know Jesus, walk with Him daily, and make Him known in their dorms and lives. God has been so gracious to give us theses students to love and care for, and we are so grateful for the privilege to be sharing the gospel and the Word of God with these students! Even though this last month has been really tiring, we are very encouraged by what Jesus is doing on the campus, and in the lives of these particular students.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Tonight is our 1st Bible Study in the dorms. We invited over 20 students, so we'll see what happens. One of our students (Erik) has really stepped up to bat to get this thing going and we're so excited to see him going in there and starting this thing up. 

Prayer Requests
  • Students will show up both Christian and non-Christian alike
  • Erik (student) and Ryan will to lead well
  • Sean (student hosting) will be bold in inviting his friends to come
  • All of us would be able to connect well with students
  • Students will be open to the message

Saturday, September 4, 2010

5th Day

Grabbed some great time with some students over coffee. It has been so encouraging to hear their stories and to hear what God is doing in their lives. Was able to read the Bible with a student and showed her how to do a quite time. Another encouraging moment when was Gabe and I both ended up at the same lunch spot with different student without knowing beforehand. It's really comforting to be reminded that I'm not the only one doing this. So, even though we ate lunch separately, it was really encouraging to see one of my best friends over at the next table engaging with a student for God's glory.

Later that night we had a bonfire over at Fiesta Island and a handful of students came that probably have never opened their Bible up ever. It was so cool to see our students conversing with them and showing the love of Jesus to these new people. Also, just the fact that these new students felt comfortable enough to even show up was awesome! I'm so proud of how all the returning students have been really engaging these new students.

Today we will be doing more tabling at the the tailgating for our 1st football game. Most of us are feeling pretty tired, so please pray that this last activity of the 1st week will really be worth the time and effort. Even if God brought just 1 hungry student to our table today, I would say that it will be worth it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

4th Day

Yesterday and today are going to be more times trying to meet-up with students. Listening to their story, seeing how how they're doing and, Lord's willing, opening up the Bible with them. Last night we went to a carnival on campus put on by the school. It was overwhelming to see the sheer number of students that go to this school. It's like a small city! My friends and I were standing inline for one of the rides and were able to talk to one particular student for 30 minutes or longer. We talked about spiritual things for a little while but then the topic swayed elsewhere. However, for me it was just a great reminder of how confused these students are. Many of them truly are seeking direction, purpose and peace. Please continue praying that we will be able to engage in deep conversations with students more and more as the days go by.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3rd Day

Ryan, Gabe, Dave and I (Val) had some great times with students over coffee and lunch today. My friend and I did a prayer walk on campus this afternoon and it was super encouraging. I love these students!! I feel like we're meeting more and more students everyday. Now, we have to just have to be diligent in continuing to pursue these relationships. We also had our BBQ today which in past years was the big recruitment event. However, this year I felt so much pressure released when Ryan reminded me that tonight was just many of the events we planned to meet students at. Unfortunately, I had to work beforehand, but Ryan said the house we had the BBQ at had students coming in and out all night. But mostly it was just nice to hang out with all our student friends. Tomorrow we'll be grabbing pizza with students and then going to a carnival sponsored by the school. This will be the 1st time Ryan and I actually go to this carnival cuz it's so late at night, so we're not sure what to I'm sure however you pray...will really help! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2nd Day

I forgot how fun it was to meet new people...and how tiring. :). We might have some contacts in some dorms...maybe Chappy, Tenochca and UT. Please keep praying that we keep building relationships with these students. We brought in pizza into these dorms and it seemed to go pretty well. Excited to see what else happens. Ryan's going to be reading the Bible with a guy tomorrow and I'm going to be getting to know more of the ladies over coffee and such. Please also pray that we'll ask the right questions and that God's love would just flow out of us onto these students.

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st Day

We finished our 1st day of tabling today and God gave us a number of contacts on the guys side! That is so encouraging because it always feels like pulling teeth to get any interest from the male student body. Ryan was also able to take some students to do some evangelizing on campus. So far, this has been a great start, but please keep praying for us. We invited some students to play board games at one of the student's houses, so please pray that we begin to develop our relationships with these new students. Tomorrow will be a big day for tabling, so please also pray that we faithfully pursue each student that walks by our table. So in conclusion...

  • Praise: Tabling went well
  • Praise: Opportunities for the gospel were opened
  • Praise: Guy students signed up for Bible studies
  • Request: God would give us more contacts tomorrow
  • Request: We'd develope relationships with students tonight
  • Request: We'd faithful pursue students tomorrow

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Tomorrow starts the 1st day of the '10-'11 school year at SDSU. Please pray for us, for the campus and for this battle over souls.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Session 1

Tonight was our kick-off for our summer study. We went over the importance of why we should have an answer to people's questions. 1 Pet 3:15 "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect," A familiar passage to most but It was so good to be reminded that our job is to be faithful to provide the answers, and that our job is NOT to change people's minds. Changing minds and harts is thankfully the job of the Holy Spirit.

During our time together I felt we had some good discussions and shared our questions and concerns we had related to the subject. One of the students brought up similarities of the Biblical worldwide flood account to many other stories of floods in ancient cultures and writings. Many people would like you to believe that that similarities of the flood stories therefore points to the Bible being a copy of ancient writings. However, another student shared how that would completly make sense since the flood was an actual event. These various writters did not copy each others writings but rather each wrote about an actual event as it was passed down and in some cases changed from generation to generation, hence the differences in the accounts as well. However, where as the other flood accounts are vague and at times non-nonsensical the biblical account is direct, detailed, informational and has direct ties to the whole thesis of the book. The Bible shares the flood account in almost textbook like detail compared to the other flood accounts.(for more info on these flood accounts)

It was so cool though to talk through things like this with the students tonight. I loved it!

Summer Study

Next six weeks we're going through "Defending your Faith", by RC Sproul with students staying in the area this summer. Please that our time will be fruitful, intentional, and refreshing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SDSU '09-10...check

Finals are over. Graduations commenced. Students are leaving. School is done for this year at San Diego State University. However, Ryan and I are still here...and so are at least 3 students.

In fact, these 3 students are driving at this minute 40 minutes east for 2 weeks to be part of a time of training and encouraging in the Christian walk. These 2 weeks are known as Summer Training Programs and are put together by staff from The Navigators. We are so excited for them and ask that you keep them in your prayers for these next two weeks. Please pray that the things they hear, learn and experience in these next 2 weeks will stick with them for the rest of their life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Sometimes life and ministry feels a little like this picture. Trying to balance the two precariously on top of one another, hoping the wind won't topple it all over one day

I remember once as a student at ASU our friend Emily showed us this video clip of a man trying to spin plates on poles. He would spin one plate and then go to the next and do the same. However, in order to keep the plates spinning he'd have to keep going back to each plate again and again. Exhausting work, and in the end the plates always end up falling anyway.

From what I remember, the plates represented our tasks and responsibilities. Somewhere along the line we decide that God can't do all this on His own, that He needs our help if He's ever going to get anything done around here. So we began taking on burdens and responsibilities to "help Him out."  Burdens and responsibilities that our not ours and that He's never asked us to carry.

In life I have the tendency to "spin plates." I create busy work for myself to help justify my presence and create for myself some sort of man-made identity. I "spin plates" to try and gain worth and value. It's funny though, because whether I have a roomful of plates or just one plate I still find myself spinning them and becoming completly exhausted in the process. I know that this is not God's way of doing things. He has never asked me to spin these plates. He gives me responsibilities and asks me to be faithful to things He's called me to, no more, no less. Yet, I find myself constantly worrying about all the things I cannot control.

The ministry at SDSU this semester has been so encouraging. Both men and women are growing in their walk with God, their vulnerability with each other, and their perseverance to press on despite set-backs. However, somedays all I see are the ways that I supposedly have failed them. The "what-ifs" and 'if-onlys" sneek in and I begin to doubt whether God is really using me.

The semester is coming to a close quickly. I want to savor these last few weeks, instead of wasting my time worrying about them. I want to learn how to serve these students, not fix them. To love them where they are, and not push them to where I think they should be. To challenge them in what God's leading me to tell them without feeling like I'm failing if they're not ready to listen. I want to stop pretending I have any kind of control and just let the Holy Spirit do His work. Most of all, I want to pray like I've never prayed before. Because I feel only then will I see my plate spinning act as what it really exhausting performance to an empty room.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Ps 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Growing Community

Isaiah 37:31 "The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward."

"...taking root downward..."

Winter break is officially over and we are now entering into mid-terms! Over the break we had been praying that the Lord would continue to knit our hearts with the students’ hearts and that He would reconnect us with those students in a way that fosters community this semester. We have already begun to see the fruits of those prayers on the campus! We are blessed to see the Lord bring women and men who desire to know Him and His word, and to be engaged in a community with one another on a regular basis. On the men’s side of things, we have seen God put together a men’s Bible study that meets during the week, which is looking to encourage one another to true, Biblical manhood. We are diving deep into our lives in order to “...spur one another on toward love and good deed…”, and to hold one another accountable to studying God’s Word and engaging with our non-Christian friends about Jesus. We are excited about the transformation that the Lord will do through this study!

God has blessed the women in the ministry with a real sense of community with one another. There are 2 women’s bible studies that happen during the week, each one unique in the way that the women relate to each other and to God’s Word. Valerie is helping to train 2 of the women in the studies to lead women of their own toward Christ and on to maturity in Him and His Word. She is also discipling 2 others in a deeper, more intimate way. It has been so encouraging to see the women become friends with each other and to seek to include other women in their lives and in the studies!

The Lord has blessed me with being able to disciple 2 men this year. Each of them are a gift from the Lord and I enjoy every minute that I spend with them. Both of them are at different stages of spiritual maturity and it is a challenge to help both of them to continue to grow in Christ, to deepen their habit of spending time in His word, and to talk to others about Him.

Another encouraging aspect of this growing community of students is that once a week we gather on campus to have lunch with each other. This is a really unique opportunity for the students (and us as staff) to relate to one another and to others around us in a very relaxed, natural way. It has become a huge success, and we are praying that the Lord will use this time to draw others to Himself through this little lunch community.
Isaiah 31:31 "The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward."

“…bearing fruit upward”

Not only do we have a group of students who are beginning to really enjoy being in a community with one another and who are setting habits of studying and applying God's Word into their life, but we are rejoicing that the Lord is growing His ministry here in natural ways!

As I look back over our time at SDSU, I can see how the Lord has answered so many prayers and petitions so faithfully. Often times it seems as though you can't see the impact the Lord is allowing you to make in people's lives until you sit back and reflect over what He has done over time. We have seen a woman's ministry grow by leaps and bounds, with several different Bible studies happening on the campus with women who are committed to one another as they are committed to Christ and His Word. We have seen the men's ministry grow from nothing to having a solid core group of men who are also committed to knowing Christ and making Him known on the campus!

It is so humbling to be is such close quarters with the work that the Lord is doing in each of these student's lives, and it makes us so grateful for having the privilege of being able to give our lives away for the sake of the Gospel with these students!  

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spring '10 update

by Val
We are in full swing here at SDSU, aka State. We are studying Hebrews in our our Nav Nights, our large group Bible study on Thursday nights on campus. It's been challenging to delve into a book with such rich and complex meanings. However, I've been so encouraged by the depth of the discussions and applications the students have come up with.

Men's and women's studies have started up again. Monday nights the men get together on campus and have been learning about biblical manhood. Coincidentally enough, my friend Jenelle, a recent grad from State, is leading a study for the female students on biblical feminity. She also had the great idea of having both genders get together next Monday night to disucuss what each gender group has been learning. We offered up our house for that night since we now have more sitting space, thanks to the new couches Lee and Deb Maschhoff donated to us, so I am so excited to hear what the students have been learning.

On Tuesdays God has allowed me to coordinate two women's bible studies and we just finished 2nd Timothy today. As Navigators we put such a high calling on discipleship relationships, so for me it was so beautiful to listen in on Paul as he gave his encouragement to Timothy, a man that Paul was training in a discipleship relationship. My prayer is that all these women in our ministry would experience discipleship in some sense while in college. Both as the person being discipled and as the one doing the discipling.

Speaking of disciplship, God has given me two wonderful ladies this semester that have commited to being in a dicipleship relationship with me, and I give thanks for them to God everyday. I love these women and I hope God can use me in their lives to use the Word for "teaching, rebuking, correcting and training [them] in righteousness so that [these woman] of God may thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Marvelous Grace of God: Brokeness for His people

[Hosea 2:6,7 "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. She will pursue lovers, but not overtake them; and she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now!'"

Lately I have been reading and studying the book of Hosea, and I have been struck by how much of the gospel is presented in this book! I have only gotten through part of the second chapter, yet I have seen the whole of the Gospel shown and exposed in this wonderfully rich and deep book! As you may know, Hosea was a man commanded by God to marry a women who would be a harlot, and who would have children of harlotry. This marriage relationship was to be a visual representation of God and His people; God being the husband, and His people playing the harlot.

In the second chapter, God talks about how He will expose the nakedness of His adulterous wife (Israel), take away all her lovers and idols, and cause her to be thirsty and hungry. Basically, He was going to strip away everything that Israel would run to other than the Lord and would  prevent Israel from going to these other lovers "...I will hedge up her way with that she cannot find her paths..." God desired that His people find their satisfaction in Him alone, and to rejoice in His marvelous, perfect provision. He wanted there to be a marriage relationship with His people of mutual delight, but instead His people played the harlot with other nations and strange gods and idols.

Therefore, God took all of that away from His people in order to draw them back to Himself, and to show them that He is all they need or could ever possibly want. And this is what God is faithful to do for us! He desires that He is our Great Desire, and for us to delight ourselves in Him. He is faithful and good to strip away all of those other lovers we seek after who do not love us back, those strange gods whom we willfully and blindly obey who do not communicate to us nor do they provide for us! These things are different to different people, but what is the same is that Christ is the true Bridegroom, who has purchased us with His blood, and who perfectly loves us, provides for us, protects us, and delights in us!

Let us allow Christ to be the One we turn to for our Delight and the satisfaction of our Desires; and let us run to our Husband (Christ) and allow His to strip away all of our false lovers and strange gods who only use us and have mastery without love over us! Praise be to God that now, in Christ, we can call "...Me Ishi [Husband] and will no longer call Me Baali [Master]." (Hosea 2:16)!

Written by: Ryan Buss

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Marvelous Grace of God: Lean Times for His People

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 16 "You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man live by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord."
 Vs. 16 "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end."

These are verses that I have been meditating and thinking about for the last couple of months. The Lord directed me to this passage last November when Valerie and I were in the midst of some very tough circumstances in terms of our funding, finances, and the ministry. He wanted to answer my questions about why He was allowing us to be in such need. He wanted to show me what He was doing in the midst of our lives! To me it seemed that I was in a wilderness place, and that all I strove to do somehow failed or never bore any fruit. It was indeed a very humbling season for me, but one that I am, even now, beginning to look back on and see the fruit that is being born out in my life and walk with Jesus. Here are some thoughts about this passage which stood out to me as I have been meditating on it:

"You shall remember..." The Lord greatly desires His people to remember. Everything. Especially how He led, how He provided, how He protected, and how He took a people who were not a people, and made them His people! To remember how the Lord has acted in our lives is to give God the glory for the past and to renew our hope for the future!

"...all the way which the Lord has led you these forty years in the wilderness..." The Lord is the one who led into the wilderness, and who led while in the wilderness. He is the one who took me into a very dry and humbling time, but He is also the one who kept me there and taught me during that time. I can look back during that time and see how the Lord led me, even in the wilderness!

"...that He might humble you, testing you..."The Lord has a plan for why He brings us into places of difficulty and hardship; even if that plan is to humble and test us. But this is also the grace of God because the scriptures say "God opposes the proud, but give grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5). He also says this is Isaiah 66:2 "For My hands made all these things, thus all these things came into being. But to this one I will look, to him who is humble, contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word."  The Lord looks to the humble and hears their cries, and give them grace. We are such a naturally prideful people, that it is actually a gracious thing to have the Lord humble us, and to help us have a sweeter and more dependent relationship with Him.

"...He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know..." Sometimes the Lord lets us be hungry, that we might be fed by Him. In order to see the miraculous ways of His provision, He will cause us to be needy. What an awesome thing to be fed by the Lord and to have Him meet our needs, for He is perfect, and will perfectly meet all our needs! Nothing satisfies like the Lord does.

" do good for you in the end." Moses reminds the people that God led them into the wilderness,  caused them to be hungry, fed them, humbled them, and tested them so that He might do good for them in the end! All of God's works in our lives, both good and bad, helpful and seemingly harmful, are all designed by a good God to do good for us in the end! We may not understand why the Lord does something or allows something to happen to us, but we can, and should, trust that it is good. If the Lords harms it is because we are in need of pruning and refining, if the Lord blesses it is so that He may be glorified by the lips of stubborn and unrepentant people and exalted above all else!

Obviously there is so much more that can be said about these 3 verses, but that is all I will write for now. The reason why I wrote that it is the marvelous grace of God is because it is often in the lean times that we can clearly see His grace toward His people. The more that I see His grace in my life, the more I fall to my knees in adoration and praise of this most marvelous, awesome God, who would give me, a depraved sinner, the gift of faith in Christ! May I become less, and He become greater!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I had know idea what a visual person I was until my camera decided to break. Since then, as you've noticed I have had no will whatsoever to blog. For some reason when I read my blog and it has no pictures it bores me to tears. I mean, I read other peoples blogs that don't have pictures and I'm fine with it. However, pictures really inspire me to write. In fact, I frequently put pictures in my QT journal, my Bible study notes and my whole prayer log is filled with pictures of people I pray for. Weird I know, but it is how it is. So...much to my surprise and relief my wonderful brothers decided to give me a new camera for Christmas. Secretly I think it's a way to for Gabe to ensure he will have pictures for his newsletters :). So long story short, I hope to keep you updated more frequently with the work God is doing over here at State (aka SDSU).
PS. I didn't take this picture. Found it on-line but I found it pretty inspiring.