“There is a time for everything…” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Time To Teach…

–New Staff & Interns–

November brings our annual core training session for Keynote’s new staff and interns. We had five great people this year; it was fun to get to know them and a privilege to serve them. I taught several classes in addition to coordinating the training as a whole by arranging the schedule, teachers, and materials.

Before our new staff arrive here for the core training sessions, they do several computerized self-study lessons on a CD-ROM that I put together a few years ago. I was very encouraged by this comment about the CD from one of our new staff:

This CD is awesome.  Thank you Denise, for putting this together. Just tonight I was pouring over it and finding much needed encouragement.  God is blessing me through your work!

–Senior Staff–

The Institute of Biblical Studies (IBS) is Campus Crusade’s theological training for staff.  Since it can be challenging for Keynote touring staff to get to these classes, we decided to hold an intensive one-week Church History course here. I completed IBS a long time ago, so I was the teaching assistant for the professor. Basically, that means I helped him with administrative things like keeping track of the progress students made on their assignments. It was fun to sit in on the class (without having to do the assignments myself!), and rewarding to help develop our senior staff.

Here’s a fun fact: our IBS professor wrote the script for The Scarlet Thread of Redemption, an evangelistic media show for Russia that I worked on in 1993!

…A Time To Learn

I’m almost finished with my latest class at the local extension site for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This Introduction to the Old Testament course has been a lot of work — reading the entire Old Testament plus the four books pictured here, writing a journal on my Bible reading, and three quizzes and a final exam! But it’s been worth it, because I have a much better understanding of the “big picture” of the Old Testament, seeing themes and connections that I didn’t before.

…A Time To Go To Brazil!

Yes, I’ll be taking a  ten-day trip to Brazil in January! Three other Keynote staff and I will help my dear friend Janiê  Sucupira train student musicians.  Janiê directs the new music ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ in Brazil. I’ll save the details for my next letter!  :-)

…And A Time To Celebrate Birthdays!

Keynote is 40 years old! It all started in 1966, when Dr. Bill Bright invited a student band from the University of Minnesota to join the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ. Happy Birthday, Keynote!

It doesn’t seem possible, but I just celebrated my 50th birthday. My, my, where does the time fly!!

In My Personal Ministry

One of my responsibilities throughout the year (including during the Summer Project) is to coach one of our new staff women as she finds ministry partners to provide her financial support. Heather Jabornik (see photo) has been a joy to me in our weekly coaching phone calls as I’ve seen her grow in the Lord and as we’ve built a long-distance friendship (she’s from eastern PA). I asked her to write a short note to you:

Heather“The Lord has allowed Denise to be such an incredible friend and source of encouragement in my life during this time of support raising. I am seriously so stoked every week when we talk for…oh, I don’t know, 2 hours at a time? Yeah, that sounds about right. She is always so kind and gentle, and willing to listen to me blab about anything from witnessing to my parents to dyeing my hair bright red and blonde. I love her to pieces and sincerely cannot WAIT to move to Indy to hug, talk, laugh, and rejoice in the Lord together in person!!

“Oh, and she’s really great at graciously cracking the whip too.”

Thanks for enabling me (through your gifts and prayers) to minister to Heather!

12th Annual Keynote Summer Project Begins June 15th

The college students are arriving for the 2006 Keynote Summer Project! We’ll have four Keynote student bands, and we’re also partnering with two other ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ. The Impact Movement, the ministry to African American students, is putting together an evangelistic urban gospel band. Here’s Life Inner City is piloting a traveling dinner theater designed to raise awareness of ministry needs in the inner city.Part of my role in the summer project is the same as during our new staff and intern training in the fall: I schedule classes and teachers and help prepare the teachers and communication coaches (or “comm” coaches) for their jobs. The main difference is that during the summer project, the whole process is bigger and more complex!

I’ll also be a comm coach myself for one of the bands. Two coaches are assigned to each team to help the students learn stage communication skills through daily public speaking workshops called comm drills. During these drills, each student talks about a subject of their choosing, receives suggestions for improvement from a coach, and then practices those tips by speaking again.

My comm coach partner and I will also

  • help all of the students on our team write a personal story about how God has worked in their lives;
  • help decide who will share a personal story and/or a gospel presentation in concert;
  • help those students prepare what to say and how to say it; and
  • coach all the band members in their movement while on stage.

It’s always fun to watch the students grow in their communication abilities throughout the summer. And often when they feel stretched in their speaking abilities, God is also at work stretching them spiritually! Please pray that God will use me and all the staff to minister to our project students.

You Just Never Know What Impact You’re Having…

Keynote’s bands are getting ready to go back on the road after working in their new members (including people who went through the training sessions I coordinated in November). When our bands go out on tour, they seek to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving the results to God. And many times we have no idea what those results are. Recently a former concert host was kind enough to write and give us a peek into the impact Keynote had on the life of one student.

In August 2002, a young Christian named Allison left her college dorm room to take a letter to the post office. She heard music, and thought “Somebody’s radio is really loud.” She soon passed the source of the music: a Keynote band playing in a campus amphitheater. Allison stopped to listen, and as a result got involved in a Campus Crusade Bible study and began growing in her faith. Since then, she has been on two Crusade summer projects, one stateside and another in East Asia. Allison has a heart to reach her own ethnic group, Hispanics, and is now a student leader on her campus.

Thank you for helping influence students like Allison! As you pray and give for my ministry, you enable me to train the musical missionaries we send out on tour. May God bless you for the impact you are having for His kingdom!

Staff Development Day

I am coming out of a particularly busy season here at Keynote. I coordinated our annual fall training for new staff and interns, and also helped the rest of the Staff Development Team prepare for our November 16th Staff Development Day. Keynote is a group of missionaries committed to communicating the message of God’s love. But how do they keep pressing on? As our team was planning this day long event for our staff, we could think of no better way to spend our time than to saturate the day with God’s incredible love for us.

We had a few speakers talk about different aspects of God’s love, and set up a few interactive rooms to give people a picture of how much God loves them in a variety of ways. We had an extravagant room set up to represent “God’s lavish love” (complete with chocolate fountain, luscious fruits and thought provoking artwork); a dark room with thunder sounds to set the stage for “God’s love in the storm;” and a room decorated with kids’ pictures and stories from Keynote dads to portray “God’s fatherly love.” Guided through the day by talks and activities, our staff heard repeatedly that God loves them completely, unconditionally, passionately, and personally.

Here’s what one person said about the day:

I wanted to begin a note to tell you how incredible this day is. Quiet stillness, solitude all seem elusive to me in this season and storm of life. Today is a sweet refuge, a balm to my pain, tangible arms wrapped around me so tight that I cannot wiggle free even if I wanted to.

The “storm” room — well, it was an expression of my journey — with the full range of emotions. Thank you for the content AND the dark, thunderous setting which made me feel a sense of solitude despite being in a room full of people.

Thank you for all the work you guys put into creating this experience and day of living and drinking of the love of our Father. Thank you for sharing your journeys through your creativity as well.

May the Lord keep these truths burning ever deeper in our hearts.

I am convinced that continuing to build into the lives of our staff is critical to the mission of Keynote. It’s hard to quantify with statistics: “20% of our staff are 33% more encouraged to continue on in the mission as a result of our training” doesn’t really work. But as I hear feedback from individuals in Keynote about how our training and development opportunities have helped them, I know we’re making a considerable difference to the kingdom. Here are a few recent comments from staff members:

“I was hit by the fact that God is crazy about me — I had a good cry, needless to say, being blindsided by grace.”

“I was reminded of the way God speaks His love to me. It definitely reawakened my intimacy with him by renewing our ‘language’.”

“Realizing how much I operate out of a root of performance. God used that day in a major way in my life…I so want it to go from my head to my heart — that is my prayer.”

“It was cool to think of God’s loving me in the little things of day-to-day life. Sometimes I forget that He truly cares for me throughout all my days.

It’s so encouraging to me to know we’re making a difference in the lives of our staff. Thanks so much for what you do to support my work with Keynote and help me pour into those who are taking the gospel to the ends of the earth!

(Thanks to John & Andorra Pescio for allowing me to “borrow” much of the text from their Christmas newsletter.)

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