CCU Families: Passing the Faith Along

CCU Difference #5: Urban Hub

Volume 6 | Issue 3 | Fall 2010

CCU Families: Passing the Faith Along

In 1999, John Chesnut (’83, ’87) first set foot in the Muslim country in Eastern Europe where he now serves. The physical needs of the people around him, recovering from the ravages of war, were overwhelming, but even more consuming were their spiritual needs. Those needs led John and his wife, Ruth (’82), to move there with their four children the next year.

But for John, the pull to work in such a culture came two decades earlier while he was a student at CCU. “I heard a presentation by Tom Claibourne (’79) about work being done secretly in Eastern Europe, and I felt the challenge to be involved in that work in some way at some point in my life,” John remembers. “In fact, my whole experience at CCU presented me the challenge of serving wherever God might lead.”

That service found expression in many different ways. John and Ruth worked with CCU in the College Relations department before moving to work with TCM International and then preaching ministries in congregations in Ohio. But the interest in the work of God around the world, particularly in Eastern Europe, remained strong.

In the 10 years that John and Ruth have been working in their present location, they have found many ways that the lessons they learned at CCU have contributed to their work. “In the Come Alive program, Roy Mays (’73, ’83) and Cindy Willison (’73) taught us the principles of Teach, Train, and Trust,” John states. “They also modeled those principles, and we have found that those ideas have been very powerful in shaping our work with the people here. We have always had the goal to turn things over as quickly as possible to the national Christians once they have been equipped to accomplish the task.

“Another helpful principle I learned from Roy was ‘Feeling follows function.’ Both Ruth and I have remembered that many times as we dealt with the frustrations and disappointments that come with working in a culture as resistant as a Muslim culture can be. It has reminded us that we need to keep doing what we’re called to do no matter how we feel at the time.”

John and Ruth’s connection to CCU has taken on a new dimension in recent years. Their daughter Hannah is in her senior year here, and their son Caleb is a sophomore. In addition, one of the young men who was among their first contacts in their country of service is also studying here, hoping to use what he gains here to continue to make an impact in his country.

“I hope that the school has the same impact on them that it had on us,” John offers. “In fact, I already see the enthusiasm for the Word of God growing in their lives. Having a solid foundation in Bible and ministry will serve them no matter where God leads them. In the current world economy, many people are seeking employment outside their field of study, but the education they receive at CCU is not limited to any one field.”

Both generations of the Chesnut family represent the mission of CCU. They are a few of the many who have been and are being prepared to serve the church and shape the world.

by Paul Friskney
Field Chair of Communication Arts, Division Chair of General Education