Thank you for taking the time to read this blog today! As I move into the new year I am reminded once more what a miracle it is that this year, through supporters like you, God has provided well enough for me to live and work full time as a campus missionary. That is a gift that I will never be able to thank you enough for helping to make happen. I'd love to share with you just a little bit of how your donation is affecting lives in the month of December.
To start off with a little celebration, at the end of this semester we threw a Christmas party for our students to attend. We played games together, ate food together, worshiped God together and all around just had a really great night of fellowship. Together we thanked God for what he had done in the year thus far and also just enjoyed the company of one another. Below are a few pictures from that event. These are mainly students whom I have gotten to meet with and study scripture with and call them deeper in their relationship with the Lord. God has blessed me deeply through these friendships and I'm so excited to see how God will use each one of these people as they continue in college and into their adult life.
|Some of the students in the core group for commuters that I help lead. You gave these students a place to come and learn about God with their peers when that place didn't exist before.|
|Same group, Sillier faces!|
|These are some of the guys that I have gotten to live with this year. I love each one of them dearly. It's amazing how God can put broken people in the same vicinity and make brothers out of them.|
|This is our male student leader team this year. These guys volunteer their time and effort to help make disciples of Jesus. I'm beyond proud of them and love the fact that I get to meet with such quality men of God every week.|
Speaking of our leader team! I don't often write about it, but just in case you didn't know, Focus is on 9 different college campuses in the DFW area, with UTA being only one of them. That means that we have a lot of student leaders.
Every year we get our student leaders together for what we call corefa class. Our students are so faithful to want to come and learn and grow as disciples. Every time I think about it I'm overwhelmed. A lot of student organizations, ministries included, have difficulty maintaining even limited student involvement. But God has really blessed us because these students not only commit around 15 hours every week to helping build disciples and facilitating Christ centered communities, they will take even more time to come to an event like this so that they can learn and grow how to be doing those things even more effectively. Please pray for our student leaders this year as we go into the new semester. They are all so faithful, and they all are dedicated to making Christ known. Pray for them in their conversations with the students that they are shepherding and pray for them in their ability to make wise decisions and seek wise council as they continue to grow. God is doing amazing things.
For the remainder of December most of our students head home for the holidays to go be with their families. During that time I am allowed some time to go and do the same. During the break I went and visited my family in Florida.
During this time I was also able to read quite a bit. Every week for the past semester the staff has been making its way through a number of different books. The saying Leaders are Readers is one we uphold in our community. I've been so thankful for each and every single one of those books as my understanding and my knowledge has been stretched. Most recently I finished a book called the Signature of Jesus. I'd highly recommend it! The author, Brennan Manning, does a great job of calling the reader deeper into trust of God and invites all of us to share in what he calls the Signature of Jesus, or really and truly looking like Jesus to the rest of the world. He goes into great depth about how we could do this and I found it to be very helpful in my prayer life, in the way that I think about myself, in the way that I counsel others. Since finishing that book I've begun listening to a lecture series from a Seminary up in Canada called Regent College. The class is over Church History and I've already found it to be both fascinating and edifying. Please pray that I would continue to be a good student and learn from those who are wiser than me.
We have our Winter Camp retreat coming up in just a few days! During this time all of our students from each of the campuses will come together at Sky Ranch in Van, Texas. Together we will grow in closeness as a community. We will experience and share in the presence of God in prayer and worship together. And we will learn from several guest speakers about what it means to be the People of God. Pray for our students as winter camp is often a turning point in many of their lives. I know one student in particular who expressed to me just yesterday that he senses God is calling him to give God all of his attention but he isn't sure how to do that.
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support, you each hold a special place of love and indebtedness in my heart. I can't say it enough, I believe God is doing miraculous things through Christian community on college campuses. I believe this generation will be the church leaders of the generation to come and that God will change the world for his purposes when students who learn how to serve God all of their days now, go out into the world and live it out. That is the vision to me, disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples all for the glory of our God and Lord, revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Thank you all!