Between the Turkey & the Cranberries

Between the Turkey & the Cranberries

Posted on November 03, 2016


It was a dark, rainy night last November. A young Chinese girl named Anna just came to America to study at IUPUI. She had been here in Indianapolis for a few months but had not met many people. She was lonely and was longing for friendship.  

It was then she heard about a Thanksgiving dinner an organization named Cru was hosting. “Come hear all about Thanksgiving, eat a full traditional meal and learn why we are thankful” the sign said.  

Anna quickly signed up and arrived at the event despite the rain and chill in the air. She walked into the room and immediately saw turkeys, cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pies and many other dishes.

Keith & Natalie Back began to explain the history of Thanksgiving and what kinds of foods were represented. Keith mentioned he would be sharing his story of why he is thankful. This sounded good to Anna as she always liked hearing personal stories.  

Five minutes later, Anna sat down with a heaping plate of all different kinds of new foods. It was then that the night began to change for Anna.  

Keith got up and started to talk about his life. “Fear has always been a part of my life, ever since I can remember.” That resonated very much with Anna as anxiety was a consistent part of her life. “Maybe there are people in the room tonight who feel constant pressure to live up to expectations that their parents have put on them. Maybe there are people in the room who don’t feel loved and have been longing for true love.”  

Anna was really listening now.  

“Tonight you can have the opportunity to put your faith in a God who loves you unconditionally. A man named Jesus came to this Earth to die for you so you can have a life radically transformed by love, joy and peace.”  

Comment cards were passed around that night after Keith finished. On the card were two boxes: one to check if you wanted to put your faith in Jesus, the other to check for coffee if you had more questions.

As if Anna had been waiting for this moment her whole life, Anna quickly checked the first box as she surrendered her life to Christ.

The evening wrapped up, but Anna was afraid again. She was afraid her card might get lost when they were collected, so she rushed up to Keith with a beaming smile saying she wanted to personally deliver the card.  

Anna’s life has been forever changed since this night last year.  

This year, Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30 p.m., Cru is hosting their annual Thanksgiving dinner at Roberts Park Church in downtown Indianapolis. Grace Pastor Ron Stohler will be speaking at the dinner. There will be a hundred of different “Anna’s” at this event that long to be talked to during the night. As partners of Grace, Keith & Natalie are inviting you to help change lives this night by simply showing up and loving on these students.

Interested? Learn more here.

Questions? Contact Keith at  or 440.465.4892 (mobile)

Keith and Natalie Back serve with Campus Crusade for Christ reaching college students all over the Great Lakes Region and also locally on the IUPUI campus with international students. Their mission is to turn lost students into lifelong laborers for Christ. If Keith and Natalie can reach them for Christ here at IUPUI, upon graduation they can go back to their countries with the life changing message of Christ.