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Going and Growing

Hello all you wonderful people! November has been a really incredible month and I can't wait to share it with all of you. I want to start off by thanking all of you. When I think about all of the opportunities that I've been blessed with just this month to share the gospel with students through real spiritual friendships I can hardly believe how good God is, and how thankful I am for all of you for supporting me in that mission!

One of the main ways that I get to do that every week is through our Sunday night Core group! Core's are a small group men's study where we read and discuss scripture together. Hearing these young men, myself included, discuss the desire that God has for each one of us and the implication that that should have on our lives fills me with Joy. On top of all of that, through Core, many of these students have formed real lasting friendships. We have students from America, India, and China in our core, 3 entirely different worldviews and cultures and yet because of Core they know each other, and not only do they know each other but they also care for one another, love one another, and serve one another. Getting to witness the friendships that are forming on top of the spiritual truths that are being discovered every week is something that is so entirely encouraging to me that I can't even explain it to you fully, but I really do hope and pray that you find that encouraging as well. This is a video from one of our most recent Core meetings in which we played a silly game, and two of our core guys Michael and Guang faced off in an epic match of lung power.




Apart from core groups, I also get to study scripture one on one with each one of these students. Guang is a guy that I continually am blown away by the fact that I get to talk about Jesus with him every week. Guang is, like previously mentioned, from China. But China, up until a couple of weeks ago, only allowed it's citizens to have one child. Guang is the third child in his family. His family made incredible sacrifices for him to be allowed to live, and not only live but thrive, because of what they were willing to give, Guang became one of the best students in his Country and because of that the Chinese Government is paying for him to come here and conduct research with an American professor. Now, because all of that happened, every week Guang and I meet up for an hour, and we discuss how much God really cares for him and wants Guang to know him. Guang is not a believer but he's curious and kind, and our conversations each week are one of the things that I look forward to the most every time that  I think about it. While Guang's story is truly incredible, every student on this campus has a story and came to be at this university for reasons that I and possibly even they can't see. But I get to meet with them every week and talk to them about God and what it means to be a follower of Christ. That never ceases to blow my mind. And that is just the guys in MY core! Considering there are 6 different core groups at UTA alone that means there are about 50 students each week that have the opportunity to study scripture with someone who really cares for them and wants to see them grow in their relationship with God. 

Along with Individual studies and small groups FOCUS is thriving in it's large group communities as well! Just this past week we decided to throw a Thanksgiving feast for all of our international friends that we have met this year! American students were also invited but were encouraged to bring a traditional American Thanksgiving meal to provide for everyone else! The whole event was a joyous occasion, people making new friends, eating delicious food, and sharing what in life we are each thankful for! I think God really used this event to bless these students and give them not only a new experience but a group of people that really made them feel welcomed and cared for in this country! I know I for one thoroughly enjoyed it and I had several students afterwards tell me how it much that it meant to them!




Once again, none of this would be possible without your support! And I just want to reiterate how thankful I am for the contributions you have already made to make this vision a reality! It is because of this reality that I want to share with you something that I am really excited about! Focus is starting it's second annual Keep Focus Going and Growing Initiative! The Going and Growing initiative is a fundraiser that provides FOCUS with the resources it needs in order to operate at the level in which it is growing! God's kingdom is visibly spreading not only on this college campus but at college campuses all across the DFW area! Giving to this vision directly places valuable resources into the hands of our student missionaries. Resources like booklets for our Focus on Jesus studies that I personally am currently working through with 4 different students from 3 different countries! God is using the donations that are being given and I believe that he can and will do Far more than all that can be asked or imagined! I am so incredibly thankful for the contribution that you have made that has allowed for me to be on these campuses interacting with these students and so I ask for your help again! Keep this vision Going and Growing! If you feel called please consider giving to this years fundraiser Campaign! Your gift will have eternal impacts in the lives of these students. I can promise you that, because it did for me, and I see it happening in students lives every single day. If you are interested in how you can give to this campaign and be more a part of accomplishing this mission then please visit this website. www.anyfocus.org/itsworthit
Because it really is worth it!

Announcements/Prayer Requests

Sermons - Earlier this month I gave my first ever sermon along with one of  my good friends and fellow intern April Ashton. You can listen to the sermon here!


I also will be giving a sermon for our pastoral thinking class on December 14th and you are invited to come join! The theme for the sermon is "This is my Gospel" or essentially how has understanding the gospel impacted my life personally throughout the years. I would love for each one of you that can make it to be there, if not only just to see all of you and tell you thank you again face to face!

Going and Growing - Please pray about the possibility of giving a special gift to Focus, I can not stress to you how much I think your investment will be worth it, I have seen it already impact students lives radically and I can't even imagine what else God could and would do through this campus ministry with your support! Even if you can not give, please pray for the cause! There are only a few weeks left and we would love and appreciate all the prayer that is lifted up for the mission.
www.anyfocus.org/itsworthit

Finishing Strong - There is only a few weeks left until the end of this semester before most of the students return home for the holidays. Please pray for all of our leaders staff, students, and interns, myself included, that they would have the strength and the drive to finish strong, to use every possible opportunity for a  chance to spread the gospel and speak truth in to a student's life. 

Once again thank you so much for all of your love and support! I am always encouraged when I think about you and what you have done for this ministry and my own personal life. I can never thank you enough for this opportunity and I love you all very dearly. 
In Christ,
Austin.




Comments

  1. Austin, I am so encouraged by your story about Guang! It is an amazing opportunity to be able to befriend someone who has come from so far away and share with him something that is so vitally important to your life. I hope that your care and friendship help him to see how much God also cares about him and wants a relationship with him.

    It is really so exciting to hear that story and many others of people being touched by God as he works through friendships and community.

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