Bible & coffee
Campus Coffee Break - CNU InterVarsity News
March 2010
Dear Friends, 
We're ready for spring here in Newport News (and if you received an unusual amount of snow for your area this year, chances are that you're ready for spring, too).  But, we want to catch you up on some things that have been happening this winter!  Read on to hear about the good work God is doing.
In Christ,
Eric & Beth Gambardella
Ponderosa BuildingChapter Retreat - A Restful Tradition
Getting away from busyness to encounter the Gospel

February 12-14, 2010 we retreated deep into the woods of Chesapeake with around 90 students.  This year we said goodbye to Camp Rudolph-a Christian camp near Emporia, VA that has faithfully served CNU IV on retreats for the past 8 years-and hello to Triple R Ranch. Triple R is a well known camp among Tidewater area churches and schools, and recently built a new facility capable of housing over 130 people. We were one of the first groups to use the new Ponderosa building, and the students especially loved its warm fireplaces and beautiful lofted ceiling.

Its fascinating to us as leaders how much the atmosphere affects the feel of a retreat, and Triple R certainly had a positive effect.  The carpeted floors allowed for students to find comfy corners in which to study Scripture and open spaces in which to play board games or "Ninja" - a game the students played every chance they got (see picture). An attached kitchen made it possible for us to keep the coffee and hot cocoa flowing as students hunkered down to listen to a series of talks on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Ninja gameOur messages were based on a series of sermons by Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Pres. in New York City. In his sermons, like his book Prodigal God, Keller discusses how the elder brother in the story is also far from the Father in heart (not just the younger brother). Similarly, we all stray from God in mainly one of two ways- in squandering and slavery like the younger son, or in arrogance and ungratefulness like the elder. But, fortunately for us, the Father can also be called prodigal-he is recklessly extravagant in showing his love for his children and redeeming them. 

We also, with the help of several students, created a visual walk-through of the text. On Saturday night after hearing Eric speak, the students walked through a dimly lit side-room in groups of 6. Encountering 9 stations, they were instructed to view pieces of art or interact with tangible objects that pertained to the story. The walk ended with a life-size cross, where students laid their "crowns" at the feet of Jesus.

I (Beth) would say this was a pivotal moment in the retreat for many students.  It was exciting, as a staff, to envision something so different from the norm and then watch it come to fruition. But more than that, I saw the Spirit take our physical work and move a step beyond what the objects themselves could do. At the end of the evening, I returned to the room to clean things up-but there was still a student there, bowed before the cross, praying. It humbled me to see just how powerfully the Spirit was weaving all of the elements of the weekend together. I love to see Him take our feeble attempts at ministry and make them into a masterpiece!
Alumni, Parents & Churches - Save the Date!
Alumni Reunion 2010 and moreCNU Homecoming

We're excited to announce that we'll be hosting another alumni reunion in the fall of 2010!  Our gathering in 2008 went so well, we've had people asking us when the next one would be. 

In conjunction with the reunion, which falls on CNU's Homecoming weekend, we'll be having a large group meeting that is open to anyone who supports CNU IV. 
This is especially for alums, parents and members of local churches-we invite you to come out to the campus and be a part of what we do each week, joining us for worship and fellowship.

Alumni: We will need a lot of help to put on this event. If you're interested in helping with any aspect-planning, food, worship, etc., please contact Beth at or call (757) 630-9668.


CNU  InterVarsity Reunion : October 28-30, 2010
(Come for one thing on one day, or stay the whole weekend - more details to follow)

Thursday, October 28,
8:00pm: InterVarsity Large Group, DSU Ballroom on campus, led by current students

Friday, October 29, 
10:00am: Brunch hosted by IV, followed by an optional tour of the campus
Evening,: Alumni Dinner Reception hosted by CNU

Saturday, October 30, 
All day: Homecoming activities hosted by CNU and Homecoming football game
Evening, Location TBD: InterVarsity alumni dinner and worship service, hosted by alumni

The Great Provider
God provides for His people through His people

Piggy Bank
Its amazing how we can know certain things are true of God (that He is mighty, that He is the only one who can provide for all of our needs) and yet not really believe that these characteristics will bless us personally ("I know He clothes the flowers of the field, but will He really help me?") 

In December we sent out a letter explaining the depth of our financial need as we do ministry full-time.  Not even a full day after making our needs known, we were overwhelmed by quick and encouraging responses from so many of you!  We were confronted with our own lack of faith in God's goodness-but can now say with more confidence than ever that the Lord really does provide for His people, through His people!

In just a few months, He has poured out more than $15,000 in new funds!  We're able to use half of this money now to take a substantial raise for the first time in our staff career!  The rest of it we'll save and use over the next few years to ensure that we can sustain our new pay level over time.  We are so grateful! Thank you to all of you who gave, and are continuing to give. We have been reassured of our calling to the CNU campus and spiritually uplifted by your letters and emails. 

As the Lord says in Psalm 50, "the world is mine and all that is in it...and the cattle on a thousand hills" (Ps 50:10-12).  We are blessed to be the recipients of all that He owns and has charge over. Thank you for being generous with the resources God has given to you!
Prayer Requests & Praises
1. Praise God for his provision for our ministry, both financially and spiritually!

2. Ask the Lord to sustain student leaders during mid-term season and to give them a safe Spring Break.

3. Pray that the students Eric and I disciple would be humble, teachable, and willing to be challenged spiritually.

4. Ask the Lord to guide the staff and Vision Team as we select the leadership team for the 2010-2011 school year.
Supporting InterVarsity @ CNU
If you are interested in extending your partnership financially,
  • Or, mail a check designated to "CNU" to: 
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA
Attn: Donation Services
PO Box 7895
Madison, WI 53707

As always, you will receive a receipt for tax-exemption purposes. 

About InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at CNU
CNU IVCF is an on-campus club that provides Bible-study, worship, teaching and fellowship for Christians of all denominations and ethnicities. Our aim is to be a witnessing community - a group that nurtures students' spiritual lives: maturing and growing those who are already in relationship with Jesus Christ while also teaching and pointing to Christ those who are still seeking the Truth.
For more information, visit our website at
Eric -, Beth -