Saturday, May 19, 2007


Tonight I'm down under, on the other side of the world... far, far away in lovely little Adelaide. It's been an amazing Saturday night here, the close of three incredible days sharing with youth and young adult leaders from throughout the city and the greater area who have a passion to see God raise up a new generation of worshippers throughout Australia. Tonight we closed the conference with the song "Mighty To Save," a fitting bookend to twenty one remarkable days that began with hillside filled with students raising up the very same song on Henderson Lawn at Virginia Tech.

That was three Saturdays and many nations ago, the beginning of a whirlwind journey that has absolutely blown me away. So three weekends ago it was Blacksburg and that unforgettable moment at VT, two Saturday's ago I was a part of the wedding of friends at a posh golf club near our house, and las
t Saturday, Manila (see pic) where Matt Redman and I led an evening of worship with over 1,000 mostly young people who were going after God with everything in them.

Manila fell in the middle of a crazy Asia swing that took Matt, me and our team to Seoul, Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo in the span of six days. Four of the great cities of the world, home to a combined 60 million+ people, over 20 million in Tokyo alone. Sixty million people in four cities! And in every place we found the church of Jesus Christ alive and well...maybe just a tiny band, but a worshipping community nonetheless, believing God for the salvation of their cities and nations.

Seoul was an exception, where the church that facilitated the events we were a part of gathers 30,000 in worship each week and is possibly the largest Presbyterian church on the planet. Matt and I led at two night events in one of the Olympic venues and found the young people hungry for God and excited about
a possible Seoul stop on the upcoming Passion Tour. HK was nuts, like NYC in overdrive, and we did two events in one night, both filling a second story church worship center in a high rise in the densely packed North Point area.

We spent less than twenty four hours in Manila, a rowdy Saturday night on the eve of Monday elections throughout the nation. Sprawling and emerging third world, Manila was captured in one image of bomb sniffing dogs having a go at our boxes of Passion CDs at the entrance to our quite nice hotel. But, The Philippines was amazing, a special night with some of the warmest and most beautiful people you will ever meet.

An early Sunday flight took us to Tokyo where we worshipped with over 1200 people in a church in Chiba, one of the largest gatherings for worship in the city. The church we met in was, once again, on the third floor of a building that was home to a casino on floor one and a bowling alley above. What a great place for a church! It was a really amazing night followed by a few days to chill in the city. From our 32nd floor hotel rooms Tokyo spread out to the horizon in every direction, an incredibly efficient and inviting urban mass where only 1% of the people walk with the Savior. That's a bit hard to swallow when you can't see the end of "city" in any direction, yet there are many Jesus followers there planting churches for the next generation and making the Gospel accessible to the young people of Tokyo. Something powerful is stirring, the wave is growing, and in time the tide of His great mercy and rescue is coming in.

Matt and his team shot back to the States from Japan while I dropped down to join new friends in Adelaide, the end of a three-week span stretching from VT to Australia's coast. And everywhere I've been the song of His great fame is rising up, everywhere the Kingdom is advancing, everywhere massive needs abound and much work needs to be done, everywhere God is unfolding His story. Everywhere, our God is mighty to save!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ashley's Home

You guys remember Ashley, the Florida senior who sent what might be the coolest e-mail of all time. Just after Passion 07 we received this at the Passion House from her:

Hi, I feel kinda weird writing this email. And i doubt if it ever gets to Mr Louie Giglio. I am a Senior at The University of Florida. I got a new roommate this semester and she is a Christian and I have never really been into the whole Christian thing because every pastor or speaker that I have ever listened to didn't speak in a language I could understand. I have believed in God and Jesus, but never really understood it because the preachers at the church that I have always been forced to go to every Sunday of my life. They speak all high and mighty and I never really felt connected, and I felt like God was only for the perfect people.
Well my roommate went to this Passion Conference over winter break. And she came back and moved into my apt and she was real and genuine about all her Christian stuff, like I have never seen before in a person. She said that God changed her at this conference, so i was like what are you talking about. And she told me. She told me about how God was cool, and how God really wanted a deeper relationship with her, and she wanted to really love God the way he loved her, so of course I was like well huh? She then said you need to listen to Louie talk about God, so I asked who Louie was, and she put on the Indescribable talk, and then we watched the Passport talk. And in the Passport talk you said that Christians do not have to just hope for the best at the end, that they do not have to do enough good stuff. You explained how to get to heaven in a simple way, in a way that I have never heard before. I actually got it, I got it that it is not about being so good, cause I am not a good person. I have screwed up a lot. But then you said grace, and talked about how is was different than other religions. Because God is a loving and a kind God who wants to forgive me. My roommate then explained that he wants to forgive me.
Now for one of the reasons I am thanking you. One, I am now a Christian. And two, my roommate said that she had never really cared about telling others about how much God loved her before she went to this conference. So though I am not sure who will ever read this. Please tell Louie thanks from me, for talking about Christ in a way that a college kid can understand. I know that Jesus has changed my life and as I get ready to graduate college in May, I am gonna be a different person. I am sorry this is kinda rambling but I just had to tell you that I now know about the Grace of God, and I have life for the first time in my 22 years


I will never forget the day her message came. And I'm not going to forget last Friday. Waking early for the last day of Thirsty, I happened to see this on my Blackberry and opened it.

Dear Mr. Giglio,
It is with a heavy heart that I send you this email. My daughter is Ashley, she wrote you an email that went on your blog and podcast Well, today May 3rd at 4pm we buried Ashley. She was killed in a car accident late on Sunday night. She lost control of her car and hit a light pole. She was the only car involved and had serious internal bleeding. She died in the arms of my husband at the hospital from unstoppable internal bleeding. But I have hope of seeing my daughter again. I have this hope because after years of praying for her, and watching her live a lifestyle in college that is known as the typical college experience. The last semester of her college career I saw a woman, not a college girl that I have never been more proud to call my daughter. I can point the thanks to you and Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Matt Redman, and everyone else involved in your Passion Conferences. Ashley fell in love with our Savior over the last 5 months of her life. She was so excited about graduation this week and moving to California to work her first real job. She had a life ahead of her. I miss my beautiful princess more than anything in this world.

But I just felt like you should know that she listened to as many of your talks as she could get her hands on and read your book I am not but I know I am and she was so excited about God and her new found faith. Words alone can not thank you enough. I may never meet you here on earth, but I know that someday I will be able to meet you and give you a hug in heaven, but only after Ash does. Thank you so much for praying for my girl, and your support of her as she was starting her new life. Also thanks for being a man of God who has a passion, and love for college students.

Your vision to share the gospel and getting college students to do the same made all the difference at a funeral today. Instead of being sad and scared for her. We were able to sing praise and worship songs today. Though there will be tears and I am so very heartbroken and crying as I type this, it is only because I will not hold her for so many years. And I will miss her for the rest of my life. I know I have said thank you a lot in this email, but because of you and Christa (Ashley's roommate) and people at the Bible Study that she was going to she was happier than I have seen her in a very long time. In the email she originally sent you, it said she had life for the first time in her 22 years, and please know she meant every word of that. She lived the last few months serving and loving and learning more about Christ. She will now spend eternity in heaven with Him so one more time thanks. I know this was long and I debated for the last 4 days as to whether or not to write you. I know you are a very busy man, but I also figured you would want to know.
Ashley's Mom

By the third line tears were streaming down my face, blurring the words, but not the sudden reality of it all. I had just received an e-mail from Ashley a few days before saying how excited she was to finally be through with college and headed to a "real job" in the Bay Area of California. And now she was gone.

I was crushed, but I found myself pumping my fist in the air, confident that Jesus Christ overwhelmed death and the grave. And just in the nick of time, He reached through the confusion and hopelessness and brought Ashley back to life again. Her mom was kind enough to allow me to share her e-mail and sent a photo of Ashley so we could all put a face with the name that has brought much rejoicing throughout the Passion world in recent months. Anna, please know that you and your family will be in our hearts and prayers as you begin the process of living without the daughter you so deeply love. You will see her again. And with our prayers we are praising God for matchless mercy...mercy that saved the day and carried Ashley safely home.

PS- You can leave a message at the Facebook group Ashley's mom has created here.