June Winner: Randy Raysbrook

We put out a call for submissions to see how you were using your Epica books, journals and albums and the response was overwhelming. Every day we are amazed with the creativity of our clients and the chance to share in your photography, art, and writing. Thank you. Without further delay it is a pleasure to present the June 2009 winner: Randy Raysbrook


A few links to Randy and his organization:
The Learning Journal
About the Raysbrooks’

Excerpts of an article titled Engaging People in Spiritual Conversation by Gwen Sellers. reprinted with permission from Randy Raysbrook.

“You remind me of Socrates and he’s my hero,” or so one student told Navigator Randy Raysbrook. Around the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus, Randy has been known as “the guy with the big book.” He has been asking students to write their thoughts in a large, leather-bound journal as a way of getting to know what’s on their hearts.

Randy has been with The Navigators for 26 years and is currently working in the Metro Mission. “Part of my job is to help The Navigators learn new ways to teach and learn, to create new ministry environments that are interactive, creative, and that connect with people,” Randy explains. “We need to continually learn about our audience. So I asked myself, since I had done campus ministry for years, ‘Are students the same today?’ And I know they’re not. So
that’s why I got this,” he says, pulling out his infamous journal. This particular large, handcrafted journal is made in Florence, Italy, and only one U.S. company is allowed to import them. “I think they’re magnificent,” Randy says, “So I bought one of these and I wanted to use it creatively while I was answering the question, ‘How have students changed?’ I want students to teach me what’s deep in their soul. So I knew a provocative question could start a good conversation.”

Journal and pen in hand, Randy begins the process. He walks up to students, targeting the nontraditional ones least likely to participate in any church-related activity, and asks permission to ask them a question. Showing the student his journal, he explains its Italian origins and his desire to use it for student thoughts. Before they agree to answer his question, Randy warns students that it is one they may not want to answer. He then tells them the two conditions to which they must agree: They must be brutally honest saying “exactly what’s on your heart,” and they must allow their answers to be read by other people.

“If you could write a note to God and tell Him anything you want, and He
would read it, what would you say?”

We congratulate Randy for his work with the students of the University of Colorado and in the community. Randy thank you for sharing your story, engaging people and inspiring them to think and self-reflect.

2 thoughts on “June Winner: Randy Raysbrook”

  1. This is such a great idea, I love it! I want to begin to do the same thing. It is honoring…to have someone really care what we think. Not only that, but to want to keep it, written in a beautiful book. Only God knows where these conversations could lead….giving the interactions into His hands, watching what He does…and being fine with nothing more than a conversation, and showing interest in another person.

  2. There’s similar projects going on with moleskine notebooks but of course epica journals are more elegant. The look of these letters on the paper is excellent and lends an old world feel to journal writing as oppossed to the current electronic blog writing.

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