This afternoon at 1:45pm EST, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, Vonette Bright, went to be with the Lord. She was 89.
Vonette joins Bill Bright, who went to Heaven in 2003. Her family, along with the staff and friends of Campus Crusade for Christ mourn her passing, but rejoice that she has entered her reward.
I wonder what she’s doing right now. I first met Bill and Vonette in 1995 while attending my first staff training in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Bright interviewed me for a radio program he began shortly before. I worked for Dr. Bright for a few short years on his radio and Internet projects from 1997 – 2002. While most of my memories of the two were of Dr. Bright, Vonette shared with him a most important character trait that I think of when I think of them—graciousness.
I’ve met many Christian leaders in my walk with the Lord, from pastors of mega-churches, to media leaders, and those committed to the cause of Christ. All shared a love for the Lord and commitment to the Great Commission that was second to none. But my personal experience with Bill and Vonette showed me that all important character trait that I so often lack—graciousness. Even when it was undeserved, Bill and Vonette always demonstrated graciousness to those around them, even to me.
My last visit with Vonette was in 2012 when she came to Mongolia to take part in the Mongolia Campus Crusade for Christ staff conference. I did not attend the conference as I was working with AMONG Mongolia on television programming for Eagle TV. My director, Steve Posey, was also in town and we shared a private lunch with Vonette, telling her stories about our ministry and what the Lord was doing through the TV ministry to build up the church in Mongolia and win Mongolians to Christ. I’ll never forget that at one point in the conversation Vonette teared up and said, “Bill would be so pleased.” At that moment I felt honored that the co-founder of the ministry that I’ve come to love gave such a blessing to our work in Mongolia.
The lives of Bill and Vonette Bright have touch millions of people around the world. Because of what they started, hundreds of millions of men and women the world over have come to faith in Christ. As true partners in ministry they saw the Lord do remarkable things through the vision they shared. And after Dr. Bright passed away, Vonette continued along that path, sharing her faith, blessing the staff, and following Jesus will her whole heart.
The ministry of Cru takes a new turn today. But it’s down a road originally chartered by Bill and Vonette—to do all we can, and more, to help fulfill the Great Commission. That is their legacy.