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Keep Focus Growing

Hey Everyone!

It is so weird to even stop and think that in just two weeks the semester will be coming to a close. What an amazing past couple of months it has been. God has answered numerous prayers and I have gotten to meet and have some really amazing conversations about Jesus with students from all sorts of backgrounds. I wanted to write you this blog to update you on what I have been up to in the last month and all the ways I see God moving here at UT Arlington.

The number one thing that I've gotten to do is spend a lot of time with new guys in our ministry. In the first several months of college ministry it is difficult to tell who will actually be sticking around and so as a campus pastor it becomes one of my main roles to get to know all of them that I can and let them know that they are cared about and are wanted. Last year what seemed as an initial setback was the small amount of male leaders that we had at the end of the year. For whatever reason when it came to prayerfully deciding which students would and could really help disciple their fellow peers the ratio was 4 to 1 with girls to guys. Meaning while we had about 8 girl cores this year our guy cores were down to just 2. Disheartening if you think in terms of numbers, but I believe that God was just telling us to be faithful with what we have been given and watch him work. So this year I've met with a lot of new college guys and had countless conversations about life, loss, family, relationships and how allowing God to be Lord over all of those things can change our lives in a way that can hardly be comprehended. So we prayed, "God move powerfully in the lives of the young men that you have placed underneath our care, and if you see fit, send us even more."




From coffee shops. to disc golf courses, to camping trips I just try to be a part of these guys lives. As a result I've not only gotten to hear each one of these guys stories I have been blown away by how God has drawn each one of them here. I study scripture one on one weekly with 7 of these guys and just help mentor about another 4 of them weekly as well. Some are just now learning about God, others have been walking with Him all of their lives, and others are coming to ministry with a lot of questions about God's role in their life. But each one of them are together, in a real community where they not only engage scripture, but also serve one another, and interact with other people who also have God's Spirit in them as we all minister to one another. Just a few names for you to pray for from the guys that I have been able to meet with this semester include Kenny, Saurav, Brock, Cody, Daniel, Yuhao, Matt, Richard, Yafet, Colton, Emmanuel, Jacob, JB, Brady, Bryan, Peter, Truett, Pico, David, Josh, and many others. Please pray for these guys and when you pray, pray for each one of these guys to not just become leaders in college ministry but also and more importantly that they might become sold out disciples of Jesus ready and willing to change the world for His glory.  Thank you for your support. 

One really encouraging thing that happened this month is that I received an email from my dear friend named Guang. Many of you may remember Guang. We studied scripture all last year but at the beginning of this year he had to return to China. Although he never proclaimed Jesus as Lord and would not to this day call himself a Christian it was and continues to be obvious to me that the Spirit of God is working on his heart and plans to redeem him one day as well. When he left he returned to China with a bible in hand and memories of his times in Christian ministry. I just wanted to share his email with you here.

"Dear Austin,

Two months have passed in a blink and I am sorry I didnt write earlier. I send a mail last week however to the wrong E-mail address. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday. Also I am glad to tell you I have got a job in Beijing and now occupied by working on my thesis and dating with my girlfriend. 
 Though we cannot hang out like before, however as an old Chinese saying “天涯咫尺”, which means To true friendship, a distance of Pacific Ocean is like standing face to face. I can still feel the connection. Those happy moments we spent together, and with our core brothers, other FOCUS fellows are still vivid pictures in my brain and they came to my dreams. I looked at the street view of Arlington on Google earth once when I badly miss my friends there. I had the photo we took at winter camp put on my desk. Whenever I took a glimpse on that I can feel that my friends are concerning about me, supporting me. Sometimes I listened to those songs we sung together at FOCUS night (All Glory be to Christis still my favorite), they are so beautiful and consoling. 
Life is never perfect but I am not unsatisfied, I take everything I own as precious treasure, including the friendships and the Christian teachings received in USA. Though I have not convert myself to Christianity or other religions, I am constantly drawing wisdom from the Bible and Buddhism and Daoist Classics. I am not sure where my spiritual belief would eventually go to, but I am lucky to have met with you guys and know a new world.
I wish everything is going well with you, your family, your friends. Take my greetings to Travis, Nathan, Sarah, Picole, Grant, Brien, Rien, Block, Truett, Matt, Daniel, Stephen, Nandu, Jonny, Amir, April, Krysten, Rachel, Kelly and all the other fellows (I guess I have some wrong spelling here, you know whom I am talking about). When I wrote down the names, their faces came to me one by one and it feels so good. 

Best Regards"

Thank you for having an impact in Guang's life. Please pray that he would come to know the Lord and truly become a brother of all of ours.


A couple of other things that I want to mention...
Keep Focus Growing Initiative!
God has used College Ministry in DFW to change so many live's in the past 20 years. Not only a positive experience but a community deeply committed to  real disciple making is what students are encountering when God brings them on to these campuses. There are people who I have never met who 20 years ago prayed for me. Prayed that God would change my heart just like he changed theirs. And I am now praying the same. There is no telling how long I will be a part of Focus but I believe that what God is doing in and through this ministry will have a lasting impact that goes far beyond my story or my involvement. There will be those who will come after me and who will be greater than me in making Christ known and I am beyond excited for those moments and days because in the end all of the glory goes to Christ. This is why I am humbly asking you, my financial supporters, the people who have already invested in this ministry far more than I could have ever expected to consider giving a special gift to Focus this year so that Focus will continue to be around for another 20 years. We have plans to start college ministries on several new college campuses in the next several years and reach an ever increasing number of students with the Gospel of Jesus and what that means for all of us. Your generosity has already exceeded anything beyond what the world would see as generous, but consider this a humble petition to prayerfully giving even more in the form of a one time donation for the sake of changed lives, dedicated to God. That is what this is all about, no more, no less. I can not say enough how thankful I am for you, but I also can not speak loudly enough to proclaim how I see God using this ministry. Please consider this as an investment worth making.  You can make your donations at www.anyfocus.org/next20

To end, every month we have  a student from one of the various campuses share their testimony with our supporters so that you can see real stories and be encouraged by how your investment is making a difference. I love all of you and I pray that you have found this encouraging. The Lord knows how encouraged by the love I receive from each one of you. I look forward to updating you in the next month. Thank you for everything.

In Christ,
Austin








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