By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
ORLANDO, FL (ANS – December 24, 2015) — Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), one of the world’s largest Christian ministries, died December 23rd due to complications from acute leukemia. She was 89.
Inspired by a passionate burden to help others find Jesus Christ and learn to follow him, Vonette and her late husband Bill Bright spent more than 50 years leading and building Campus Crusade for Christ to its current size of more than 25,000 staff members and 300,000 volunteers working in 173 countries.
Bill and Vonette launched Campus Crusade for Christ in 1951 at UCLA with the goal to “win the campus today, win the world tomorrow.” Remarkably, the campus ministry at UCLA is still the largest branch of Campus Crusade – a tribute to the Bright’s enduring legacy.
The Campus Crusade movement spawned other notable and highly impactful ministries including Athletes in Action, The JESUS Film Project, The Josh McDowell Ministry and FamilyLife.
When Vonette finished college she was a nominal Christian, and didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“I can remember when I first heard that if I were the only person in the universe, Christ would still have died for me, and that I could know and experience His love and plan for my life,” she wrote later.
“I immediately thought: If God has a plan for my life, I certainly wish He would hurry up and show me what it is.”
She was already in a relationship with Bill and held a teaching contract in her hand, but she had some confusion about her standing with God. “I was trying to figure out why I was put on this earth, and all I got for my quest was confusion.”
Vonette said she finally began to consider who Jesus Christ is, and she had to admit to herself she did not really know Him personally.
One day the significance of John 14:6 leaped into the forefront of her thoughts.
In that classic verse Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
The recent college grad came to the realization she had tried to live a good life, had high moral standards and been active in church, but something was still missing in her life.
Note: A memorial service will be held Jan. 8, 2016, for Vonette at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando in Florida.
Photo captions: 1) Vonette and Bill Bright. 2) Mark Ellis, Pam Christian and Dan Wooding, pictured at the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network studio in Orange, California. (Pam Christian was the previous host of the show with Dan Wooding).
About the writer: Mary Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) and also founder of www.Godreports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world. He is also co-host for “Windows on the World” with ANS founder, Dan Wooding, on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv)
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