Maddie first got involved with Cru two and a half years ago when she first came to West Chester as a Freshman. In fact, one of Maddie’s biggest deciding factors for coming to West Chester was due to all the positive things she heard about our Cru movement. Maddie explains, “I knew I wanted to come to a school with Cru because I saw the huge impact it had on my older sister.”
Maddie’s first time at Cru was at one of our Wednesday night weekly meetings. She describes her experience as being extremely welcoming; she shares, “I just remember being overwhelmed in the best way and knowing that this is exactly where I belonged. Everyone is so welcoming and instantly takes you in for who you are. You walk into Cru and feel at home.” Maddie remembers the rare experience of entering a new place, yet feeling such a deep sense of belonging. That rare feeling motivated her to keep coming back!
Throughout the past two and a half years of Maddie’s involvement with Cru, she has found many ways to invest in our movement. Along with attending our Wednesday night weekly meetings, Maddie has become a valued student leader that has impacted many other students within Cru. On Monday nights, Maddie co-leads a Sophomore girls Community Group alongside another student leader, Annika Soderberg. In addition, she is a spiritual discipler for two younger girls in Cru, and she co-leads our Freshman servant team.
Out of all the ways that Maddie is involved with Cru, she really cherishes her position as a Community group leader. Maddie explains, “I love getting together with Annika and planning and picking apart scripture to teach on.” She adds, “I also learn so many new things from what the girls in our community group share. It’s not just teaching them, it’s learning as well.” Along with learning and growing in her position as a Community Group leader, Maddie also loves the opportunities she gets to connect and build relationships with girls that she leads. She emphasizes, “It’s been seen such a blessing to get to know all the girls; some which don’t even come to the Cru weekly meeting and just come to our Community Group.”
As Maddie has been whole-heartedly invested in Cru, she’s had MANY experiences that have both grown and challenged her life and faith in Jesus. A super significant experience for Maddie was when she attended a ten week, Cru Summer Mission in Ocean City, Maryland. Maddie claims, “Summer mission, as a whole, has taught me to truly surrender in the midst of everything; through deciding to go, to raising money, to balling my eyes out on the first day because I didn’t want to be there, to experiencing the whole summer mission.” Throughout Maddie’s time on Cru Summer Mission, she truly encountered a complete transformation. She emphasizes, “It was a literal 180 turn-around to the person I was Freshman year of college.” As Maddie developed an amazing community of life-long friendships, grew in her personal relationships with Jesus, and learned how to share her faith with anyone and everyone, she went from not wanting to be on mission, to not wanting to go home.
Maddie believes that Cru has helped her grow into a completely different person than she was in High School. She grew up attending church with her family and was involved in a Bible study with her friends, but she claims that Cru is what has helped her more deeply understand what it means to live out her faith in Jesus. Maddie shares, “We went through the Bible and read the word, but I didn’t really comprehend it or understand the weight of the words in the Bible.” She adds, “I didn’t understand that the Bible is where you find truth, not the lies that have been surrounding your thoughts.” Maddie’s many outlets, through Cru, has greatly grown her understanding of God’s word. She explains, “In High school, I was a control freak and anxious all the time. I always went off my own strength to control situations. I was always thinking about how I could make things better for myself or make my dreams happen.” Maddie adds, “But, since coming to Cru, I’ve learned how to properly read the Bible and apply it to every aspect of how I act, think, and live.”
Cru has been a vital part of Maddie’s college experience and she believes her time at college would look a lot different, had she never gotten involved with Cru. Maddie willingly shares, “I honestly think I would be lonely. I wouldn’t have the community that I have now, where I’m able to be completely honest, without people judging or looking down on me. My friend’s Christ-centered perspectives flow from them and into me.” With Cru as a resource, Maddie has experienced immense growth in both her relationships as well as her faith in Jesus.
In many ways, Maddie holds a deep love for Cru. What she loves most about Cru is the abundance of relationships it has provided room for her to develop. Maddie states, “My Cru friends have changed the way I live out my faith, how I pray, how I read the Bible, and how I act it out in my daily life.” Another one of Maddie’s favorite things about Cru is her opportunity to be involved in Cru discipleship. Cru both encourages and provides a place for students to experience spiritual discipleship from students and staff members that are further along in their faith and can help students grow closer to Jesus in a very personal way. Maddie shares, “Discipleship is so intentional and such a good place to be vulnerable with someone, one on one. It’s a constant person that you know will always want the best for you and have the best wisdom and advice.”
Overall, Maddie’s involvement with Cru has very positively shaped her entire college experience. Most importantly, the relationships that Maddie has gained has more personally connected her to Jesus Christ. She boldly proclaims, “The Lord has used my relationships within Cru to show me the image of God.”