After ministry to students in Canada and Uruguay, Denis and Vickie came to Bakersfield in 1997 to help train all of Cru’s North American missionaries going abroad. After this cross-cultural training became a summer-only training, the LaClares began serving with Bridges International, Cru’s ministry to international students. Denis serves on the Bridges innovation team, designing evangelistic tools such as Honor Restored (600,000 screen views) and more recently, Power Over Fear, which can be downloaded right on your phone at godtoolsapp.com/en/
In addition to ministering to international students at Cal State Bakersfield, Vickie helps provide member care for 21 of Cru’s short and long-term missionaries in the Middle East. She helps them with transitions – from when they initially apply all the way to when they return (usually between one year and twenty plus years later)! She also coaches them in culture and language learning, working through team conflict or personal issues and connects them to resources like counseling when needed.
The LaClares have 3 children — Jesse, an engineer in Irvine; Mia, a sophomore at Trinity Western University in Canada, and Will, a sophomore at Stockdale High.
Leslie Barnes has served with Cru, formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, since graduating from Arizona State University in 1971. She did evangelism and discipleship on university campuses across the US for nine years before moving to the Philippines where she trained new staff coming from around the world. After thirteen years she returned to the US to train Cru staff heading overseas. During that time, she was an active long-time member of the Oaks Community Church, and cherishes the church's continuing partnership and prayers.
In 2004, Leslie started with Bridges, Cru's international student ministry. She served at USC in Los Angeles for six years and then returned to ASU to start a Bridges ministry there. In the last ten years, she has watched the international student population at ASU grow from about 3,500 to more than 15,000, from 100-plus countries.
In the past sixteen years Leslie has shared the Gospel with many students, often their first time hearing of Jesus. It is a joy to take students to church for the first time, share the love of Christ, and give them their first Bible. Some have chosen to follow Jesus, and many more stay in regular contact. An important part of her ministry is discipling new believers.