11.23.2008 Jamie Abrusci - going on staff with The Navigators


11.23.2008 Grace Summit Message - Jamie Abrusci from GraceSummit on Vimeo.

Mike Marette: In August of 1991 – Cindy and I moved here. The house next door seemed like it was vacant… It turns out they had moved in and gone on vacation – so we moved in about the same time. They had a son named Jamie who was about a year older than my oldest son.
In 1996, Rick and Carol Reynolds started coming here and they had two daughters, one of whom was named Ruthie.

We have a special day – we will be hearing from – Jamie and Ruthie – they pretty much grew up in our church and will be going into full time ministry with the Navigators – We’d like to give them a chance to share.

Jamie Abrusci: It’s good to be back – good to be here. There are a lot of new faces here – and that is exciting – but many of you don’t know Ruthie and me.

I’d like to share a brief history –– Here is Ruthie, and Riley, our son, and Sophie – our daughter. Shermie is part of our family too – she lives with us and is a student from China.
This next picture is from our dedication service before we left.

Ruthie and I have a bit of a different history – a much different background. Ruthie grew up with her family in Africa – in Zaire (DRG) – and I grew up right over there on Marguerite – and then our big move was next door to Mike Marette. The one thing that is similar, even though our paths were different – we were both active participants in the church, but later on really came to know the Lord deeper. Ruthie put it well recently: We were the Lord’s all of our lives, but it was not until later that He was ours.

Ruthie grew up with a bigger world-view than I did – She has a heart for the world – I have a heart for here in the U.S. Late in my senior year of high school was when I submitted my life completely to Christ – and not long after that I felt the pull to full-time ministry. That was about 10 years ago – and it has taken this long to figure out how this might work out.

Ruthie had a desire to move back to Africa – and I wanted to stay here. We decided to just submit to whatever God would have for us.

We grew up here in this church – I went off to college – during the summers we would work with the teens. We moved to Los Angeles to work with the Kairos church there – and then we moved back and worked with the high school ministry here. Then we went to Ashland and became Resident Directors. The Navigator motto is to know God and to make Him known. The rest of our calling is a bit unique. Two years ago, when we started this process, there weren’t that many doing what we plan to do – but in that time many have started doing this.

We have two critical verses –
Eph. 4:4 [There is] one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

This verse really hit me. I don’t know how many of you have studied the book of Ephesians – to me it is like an abridged version of Romans. Chapter 1 through part of 2 – here is who you are in Christ and what it means to be saved. Half-way through Chapter 2 and into Chapter 4 – need a pause – there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile and God is the God of the whole world. The God of the Bible is the God of all people. Our passion is to go to all people. So our passion is to reach all people. So we get the opportunity to love and minister to people from China, Taiwan, Africa, the UK, Canada – it is a beautiful thing the Lord is doing.

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

Why this is part of our passion? – For the longest time – a lot of people have seen the first word – GO! Many do what Ruthie’s parents did and GO to Africa or GO to the Ukraine – and the Lord has blessed us that many from around the world come to us at Ashland. People are flocking into the US like crazy – international students coming to universities. There are over 200 students at Ashland. From the Middle East, China, Taiwan – name a continent and they are there.

GO! And yet stay! Go to the world without leaving your front porch. That is our calling – Some pictures of what we have been doing – this is what we do and who we are – the students. This picture – one of my favorites – one of the first things we went to – the Lord brought the two ladies on the right into our lives – a South Korean (Sunny) and a Japanese girl (Konatsue?) – they were some of the first international students we got to minister to – and then this picture – 2.5 years later – last year – Ruthie’s birthday. A lot of the international students planned it. This was the first event they did for us. If you have ever spoken with an international student – it takes a long time to develop their friendship – and it became – “You are now part of our lives and community”

Last year at Christmas – Shermie and Raven – both from China – Raven is an interesting guy – here he is being baptized. He had moved in about a month after the others – an Access student – meaning there for English Studies only.

I helped him carry some of his stuff in late at night one night and soon he came to a Bible study and that night came to Christ. He was in the lobby and some guys invited him and he had nothing to do, so he came. The study ran from about 6 pm until 2 am. I was about to run them out when Raven asked, “What does it take to become a Christian?” In Beijing, Raven had gotten his hand on the Bible – had read it through a couple of times – and he just needed someone, like Philip and the Eunuch – to explain it to him. He became a Christian that night and this is a picture of him being baptized. I had the opportunity to disciple and mentor him – but since I’ve left the University, I’ve had a lot less time to do that. That is one of the reasons we are trying to move back to Campus full-time.

Meghan – grew up in America – became a member of a church for her own reasons (the church she was attending had a scholarship if you were a member) – and had a lot of knowledge, but no faith – and Shermie – who had a lot of faith but little knowledge. The cool thing is, after about 2.5 years for Meghan and a few months for Shermie – they both came to know the Lord.

James – and Cindy –
Cindy – the heart of our ministry – she never came to know the Lord – but they did come to our Bible study to learn English. Ruthie got to work with Cindy a lot. Working on English – Ruthie edited her papers – and worked with her on her thesis. Converting from Taiwanese to English. We have a copy in our house because Ruthie’s name is in it as a resource. The reason it was so hard to see her go – she never came to know the Lord. She may have been Bible bashed a few times.

James – same story – had heard the gospel a number of times – but did not come to the Lord.

Gloria – we hope to visit her someday.

Rachel – one of our longest friendships – neither came to know the Lord, but she is close to our heart and I pray for her that she might come to know Him. Rachel was integral in getting us involved in the international community. She was our head teacher – teaching us simultaneously – 4 trying to teach us Chinese.

We are going on staff with The Navigators – partnering with Ashland University’s Center of Religious Life. We will take what is there – developing an international ministry for students on campus. That will be our job – to work with them and develop a ministry for them – fulfilling their basic needs – helping them get their drivers’ licenses – and taking them to Wal-Mart. That entails a lot of fund-raising. I appreciate that the church has agreed to help us out.

The Navigators are similar to GCM – GCM seeks to plant churches, but Navigators – began as a naval ministry (Dawson Trotman) – and as WWII finished – it began to spread to different ministries. It has spread from military to campus to urban/city missions. We will focus on campus. Navigators is in over 106 different countries – they have a ministry where they reach out to local churches and teach and develop discipleship classes. Edge-Corps – we will be working on an international ministry on campus.

IN September, we went out to Colorado Springs for fund-raising orientation.
Explain fund-raising…
JA: The fundraising is based on two things – churches supporting us and individuals partnering with us – supporting us financially and prayerfully. All of our support comes from support – I no longer work at the university – I’m at Verizon – have been for 1.5 years. The main reason we are raising support – I thought working with Verizon would allow me to focus more on the ministry, but it has taken me out of it. Raven and I meet about once/week – but haven’t been able to do that as much as I would like.

What are your goals – what will it take to do your support raising and when do you actually get on staff?

Goals-wise – I would love to be done tomorrow. Our goal is to be fully-funded and supported by fall of next year. We have training in May or June – I’d like to be funded by then.

For a family like us – it takes 75-100 families supporting us on a monthly basis.

So, Jamie will be trying to get a hold of many of you in the church.

If you are working with Navigators – is there an amount that needs to be raised before you can be full-time?

Yes – the point of going out to Colorado – helping us to set a budget and give us a plan to attack it. We need to be 100% supported before we can go on campus.

If we support you – do our funds go through Navs?

We have a private account through Navigators – what we raise goes to us through them.

Let’s pray for Jamie
Lord, we lift Jamie and Ruthie up to you and their heart to serve You. Thank You for their service to our church and their involvement when they were in high school here. I think You how Jamie has had an influence here for a long time. Ruthie also. Make them successful first in their fund-raising – they can’t do their ministry fully until they are supported. It is a large task – especially in these tough times. Thank You for bringing him here today.

As a church – we will be putting them in our budget – if you would like to find out more – they will be here between services. Even though churches support them – the reality is – in today’s Christian world – what they will tell you – you would think – their support comes mostly from churches? That is not the case – 80% comes from individuals. So there is a need for individuals to support missionaries.

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