Austin and Jeanne Thompson

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We are Austin and Jeanne Thompson, serving on the Bridges national leadership team in Austin, Texas. Bridges is Cru’s ministry that focuses on the evangelism and discipleship of international students.

Why international students?

One million. There are one million students and scholars from around the world traversing the halls of American universities every year. One million future leaders of the world are here. Now. They are at our doorsteps, and they are often lonely and isolated. Who will befriend them, help them figure out life in the U.S., or invite them into an American home? Who will share the love and hope of Jesus with them?

Students from regions in the world with the least access to the gospel—China, India, the Middle East—are here now. Will you partner with us to welcome them, to share the love of Jesus with them, to help them grow in their faith, and to launch them out into the world as ambassadors for Christ?

Our story

After serving among university students in East Asia for nearly ten years, we were preparing for a routine home assignment back to the U.S. in the winter of 2019. A few days before departure, we were given the news, “Your visa this year will not be renewed.”

Just like that, we found ourselves back in America with no backup plan and no real sense of God’s next step for us. Fast forward one year to 2020, as we began to dream again about where the Lord might be stirring our family to go next, the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the planet and obliterated whatever future plans we were beginning to make. The gulf between us and the ministry we once had—between us and the dear friends and colleagues of ours in East Asia—felt even more unbridgeable.

God’s leading, one step at a time, brought us to Bridges to reach international students. During our years in East Asia, we lived as international students ourselves, learning language, experiencing culture, and building relationships. The script is now flipped as we find ourselves the hosts. How much, though, has God prepared us to empathize with the realities of living and studying abroad, outside one’s home culture and heart language?

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