During the summer of 2000 we took a group of American college students on a cultural exchange to learn Arabic and build relationships with Middle Eastern college students. Walking on campus for the first time, we were confused by the lack of students. Had we come at the wrong time? Quickly, we discovered that the cafes in closest proximity to the campus were actually internet cafes. A quick scan of the work stations showed us where the students were–behind computer screens surfing the internet. Except for attending our daily Arabic class, we never went on campus again.
How could we cross cultures with students while they were glued to a computer? Thankfully, what we initially saw as an obstacle God knew would become the passion of Rich’s life’s work. Rich began saying that we needed to figure out “this internet thing.” He was right. In the last decade social media has become the greatest tool since the printing press, radio and television combined to bring the life-changing message of the gospel to the world. God was inviting us to be a part of His plan to utilize this tool.
In 2001, Campus Crusade for Christ challenged us to move overseas to lead their campus ministry in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. While there, Rich helped develop Everyarabstudent.com for students in the Middle East and Studentstan.com for students in the Russian speaking parts of Central Asia. We quickly saw over 100,000 unique visitors per month. And that’s when our digital ministry started moving really fast. — need updated content