|Our student leaders grouping up for a picture before going out on to the campus to help incoming students into their residence halls and invite them to campus events!|
|This is from a board game night that we had the day before our first Focus Thursday Night Fellowship. There was around 75 students there playing games and enjoying community. This is in comparison to last years picture at the same event.|
Our ministry has never been about numbers or attendance, and I pray that it never will be. But if these students continue to come around they will be discipled in a one on one setting by either one of our staff or one of our student leaders and the Gospel will be multiplied on this college campus and bring a whole lot of glory to God and that is something that gets me beyond excited. Ecstatically joyful. Thank you for your investment in this ministry. You may never have an accurate scale of the impact that your gift is making on these college campuses, but at UTA alone there were over 100 students there last night who heard the word and experienced the love of The Spirit flowing from their fellow peers, and I can testify first hand just how impactful of an experience that is. It is in many ways the reason that I am where I am in life today. Please be praying for these students that God would grab hold of their hearts and draw them deeper into a relationship with him through either this community or another Christian community that they may join over the school year.
Some things that you can be praying for
1. Core Groups - We had our first large group fellowship and that was truly an amazing gift from God, but the core of our ministry either happens in one on one discipleship or in our Core Groups. Cores are typically gender specific, smaller sized groups, in which students can come and engage scripture together, share life together, worship together, and serve together. It is in these groups that truly deep friendships are formed and students are offered a platform to ask questions about God and faith that otherwise they feel they have not had an opportunity to ask before. Core Groups are where brothers and sisters are made, friendships that will last a lifetime. Please pray that those students who attended on Thursday might also come and be a part of one of these groups and be further brought in to Christ centered community.
2. Studies - I already have three studies set up for this year with guys ranging in background and beliefs, but I will be walking through scripture with each one of them and attempting to point them towards Christ and a life lived for Him. I don't always have the words for these students, but I know that God does. Please pray for wisdom and for God to use me to bring glory to Him.
3. Specifics - The core group that I will be leading this year does not have a room yet on campus and because this core is supposed to be specifically targeted towards commuter students (students who live too far away from campus to stay for our evening cores) we really want to have this group on campus for their convenience. After I post this blog I will be returning to campus to speak to the faculty of UT Arlington and attempting to secure us a place to host core regularly. This core starts Wednesday so we really need to find something soon!
A Few More Things
If you are a supporter of Focus, whether that is through financial giving or through prayer I want to personally invite you to Focus' 20 Year Celebration event on October 8th in Dallas. It will be an evening full of celebrating what God has done in the lives of college students and alumni through Focus over the course of the last 20 years. I would love to see you there. You can RSVP here! https://anyfocus.org/celebrate20/
Every month we will be having a student in our community sharing a testimony of their experience in Focus! This is the one from this month; please read and enjoy.
"I came to college knowing about God but not knowing God. I didn’t grow up as a Christian but went to youth group with friends in high school. As an overachieving perfectionist I saw church as a place to prove myself. Religion was a set of rules explaining how to be “good”. As is all too common, I had completely missed the point of Jesus.FOCUS quickly turned my attitude about God upside down. Seeing so many people who were willing to say “these are my flaws. I’m not good, but God is” was life changing for me. These people clearly knew God and had a relationship with Him. Yet they weren’t perfect and weren’t pretending to be. It’s still difficult for me to remember that I can simply accept God’s grace; He wants me to have it. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not responsible for earning grace on my own. God has a sense of humor. Shortly after leaving UTD, God called me to Thailand. I now live in a country that is 95% Buddhist. I am immersed in a culture that is obsessed with earning merit. I see the Thai people worship idols and give offerings, and it breaks my heart. Then I look at my own life and see that, in my own way, I am trying just as hard to earn merit. God is so strategic. He puts you exactly where you need to be. He knew I needed to be in FOCUS. And now he’s brought me to Thailand to minister to people who share the same heart struggle as me. FOCUS changes students’ lives and then sends them out to minister to others. And because of that, I truly believe FOCUS will reach the world."
- Michelle Nelson (University of Texas at Dallas, Graduated 2014)
A video from an event that several college ministries partner to put on. It is a dinner and dance party that is open to all international students. The name of the event is the Big Howdy and it is always a fun time, as demonstrated by these guys from India demonstrating their dance moves.