Virtual Reality meets Spiritual Reality

“How do we show others what God is doing around the world?”

That was the question we asked ourselves last summer.  We know God is moving in all
nations. We hear the stories. We know the people. We’ve seen and it and experienced it ourselves. But how do we show and tell others—even entice others to go themselves?360 - Bible Study

I had the privilege of helping to spearhead a project that leveraged a new technology—360-degree Virtual Reality cameras!

We had men and women travel to dozens of countries—to capture the sights and sounds of God’s people on mission.  My favorite scenes include a circle of dancing Christians worshiping in Africa… college students being college students at the Opera House in Sydney Harbor in Australia… and being in the middle of a Bible Study in a “security-sensitive” country.   Goosebumps.

360 of Netherlands

There is another scene of a woman riding a bicycle in the Netherlands.  Two things to note: First, we show footage of her riding—but two minutes later, she completely wipes out on the bike! (We edited that part out).  I nearly had a heart attack as this ‘B-roll’ footage captures the expensive equipment hit the pavement.  Fortunately, she and the camera were both perfectly fine.  Second, I had taken that same city path three years ago myself, on bike, when I went to Tilburg.  I began to cry as I watched it—remembering how God was working through these faithful Missionaries sent from WMU & GVSU for His Glory!

VR DomeIn late December, I was at our annual Cru Winter Conference in Indianapolis.  We set-up a booth/dome for students to watch this video with VR goggles.  Students in the long lines kept waiting to watch it because they wanted to experience the technology.  Afterwards, the comments centered on seeing God’s people globally and how they were inspired to go themselves!  We heard those same thoughts not only in Indy, but also from the eight other Winter Conference locations across the United States.  Thousands of students have now seen this video and we are prayerfully excited how God might use it to “send laborers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:38).

Thank you for being a part of this grand mobilization of students across the world.  We are taking the Gospel to so many places!  It’s Jesus’ Life-Changing Message that compels us to keep going until everyone has heard!

You can watch it from your desktop browser and scroll around—but I think it’s best from a smart phone. (Just hold your phone up and then look around).  Don’t forget to look up and look down and all-around too!

HERE ARE THE LINKS!

The 360-Degree Virtual Reality Video

And some Fun B-Roll footage…

 

 

 

Fall Retreat Update

Here are some photos from the weekend.

Group Picture:

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Talking about Jesus:

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Discussion Groups reflecting on the talks:

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Sunday Morning Worship Stations are spread throughout the gym… interactive stations that let people reflect on God and the themes of the weekend.

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Eight Words That Changed A Life

Bryce, a senior in Cru, talks about how God turned his life around.  In his own words…

“Over 2 years ago, I walked into Cru and thought the people were a joke.  I thought Christians were gullible for believing this lie—that God existed.

In high school I would drink, vandalize, get high and chase after girls all while getting good grades— being the ‘perfect son’ in my parents’ eyes.  I never trusted God with anything.  I even started going to church to try to impress my parents.  Money and women were the two things I held close to my heart and God was asking to let him have control over them, but I clung tighter to them.  Being the “good moral person” was hard.  I was tired of being told that I suck by a book with a bunch of rules.  I questioned why I believed in this God and why I would try to follow all these rules that I was constantly breaking.  I decided God didn’t exist.  I became an atheist.

I started dating an atheist girl.  She and I were having sex, sharing life together, and close as could be.  After some time she broke up with me and I was crushed. No longer loved. No longer wanted… My heart ached and longed for those feelings again. So I looked to numb those feelings of emptiness and pain by living a lifestyle with lots of alcohol and women.

This continued through high school and into my sophomore year of college. then I was invited to Cru. I didn’t want to go, but my buddy was persistent. At Cru, the band started worship. I didn’t want to sing. Everyone stood up so I followed suit because I didn’t want to look like an idiot. It was pretty boring standing and not doing anything. So I started to read the lyrics as they came up on the screen. One of the lines read “God is bigger than the air I breath”. BOOM! It hit me like a ton of bricks on how big that was. Those words shouldn’t have been that mind blowing because I grew up hearing God is everywhere. So I knew God was big since I was a little kid, but those lyrics made my head explode. Those 8 words told me in a moment that I was wrong about God. I went to my friend afterwards and lit him up with questions, asking him who this Jesus was and what it looked like to be a Christian. That night I started to feel my life being pulled out of the destruction I immersed myself in.  My heart got a taste of who this God was and his love toward me. My heart jumped with joy!!”

Over the past 2 years, Bryce has learned how to walk with God, equipped in his faith to do evangelism and discipleship, and has led friends to Christ, raised up a Community Group of freshmen and is now training them to be spiritual multipliers as sophomores.  He is graduating this May is planning on entering full-time ministry.

 

http://www.leskowski.com/newsletter/Leskowski-Ministry-Update_2014-01.pdf