Eyes on the Arizona Mission Offering: Christian Challenge, pizza and the gospel

By Lori Pruit | Aug 30, 2023

Chuck Craig (center) participates in a prayer walk on the Central Arizona College San Tan Valley campus with members of Pinal County Cowboy Church and Christian Challenge.

Do you ever wonder if the missions gift you turn in on a given Sunday really makes a difference? It does!
As this story unfolds, you will see that God’s path is always a perfectly planned journey and that path is always leading people to Him.

We begin about 19 months ago when two believers, Chuck and Teresa Craig, watched as their son was called home to be with the Lord. While ultimately a wonderful thing for this young Christian man, it left his parents understandably hurting.
So, in an effort to heal, they moved to Arizona.

God was working His plan!

Through the Lord’s leading, Chuck attended an Arizona pastors’ conference and met Steve Dokka, associate pastor of Pinal County Cowboy Church in Casa Grande and Christian Challenge campus missionary.

Soon, Steve invited Chuck to work with the Christian Challenge efforts at the San Tan Valley campus of Central Arizona College.
Chuck’s assignment was to work alongside a new and eager intern, Michael Vega.

Through Mike’s classes, he met a young woman named Nicole. He invited his fellow student to come eat pizza and learn more about Christian Challenge.

Mike Vega, Christian Challenge intern and nursing student at the Central Arizona College San Tan Valley campus, talks with a student at a table hosted by Christian Challenge.

Nicole told Mike she was gluten intolerant and not able to eat the food. Mike let her know that if she came, there would be a special personal pizza waiting just for her.

Later that day, while Mike was busy with other students, Chuck saw a young lady coming down the hall.

“I invited her to come and enjoy some pizza,” Chuck said. “She told me she was gluten intolerant. I smiled and said, ‘Well, your name must be Nicole.’ She was surprised that I knew her name.”

After hearing how Mike really did provide a pizza just for her, she was impressed with his thoughtfulness. But it didn’t end there.
Soon, Nicole shared her story … Chuck shared his. She felt like a nobody … Chuck said he knew someone who gave His life just for her.

God was working His plan, paths had intersected, and Nicole gave her heart to the Lord.

“Christian Challenge’s efforts were organized and focused,” Chuck said. “And because of this ministry, Nicole learned she was loved and then came to know Jesus. Christian Challenge brought us all together so the gospel could be shared.”

And God’s plan didn’t stop there.

Representative photo

Many other students have come to know Christ through Christian Challenge at the Central Arizona College San Tan Valley campus. This includes two culinary students who simply stopped to eat a meal that Christian Challenge provided, but when they left, they had embraced the good news of Christ.

When you give to the Arizona Mission Offering, God is working His plan by using your obedience.

“We thank and praise God for those who give and make it possible for moments like these to happen,” Chuck said. “There are many more who need to hear about Jesus, and it is without question that the investment of believers here in Arizona makes it possible for the love of Jesus to be shared on college campuses.”

The fields are white … give, walk the path, and watch God work His plan.

Editor’s Note: Chuck Craig died unexpectedly this summer while on vacation in Wyoming. Please pray for his wife, Teresa, and Pinal County Cowboy Church, thanking God for Chuck’s dedication in serving Him.

Lori Pruit, a freelance writer living in Casa Grande, is a member of Pinal County Cowboy Church, Casa Grande.

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