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The Light Shines In The Darkness

Dear Friends,

Thank you for taking the time to read this month's update. This last month has had it's fair share of difficult situations. I've had several conversations recently with different students who are facing the consequences of sin in their life. Students who report feelings of loneliness, depression, anger, and sexual brokenness. And yet in the midst of all of this, it has been so clear to me how God is working to show himself to each one of these students. I'm reminded of the beginning of the book of John starting in verse 4 where John describes Jesus in this way. "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
Even in the midst of all of our sin and hurt, Christ still reigns, and he loves us enough to pursue us even as we feel lost, or run away ourselves. There is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
What I've been so encouraged by recently is witnessing how God has used and is using the students in our community to bring the light of Jesus to those who are experiencing those emotions listed above. I have seen young people pray for one another. Encourage one another. Befriend one another. Speak truth to one another. Bear the burden's of one another. Challenge one another. Even as the students cry with one another or hurt with one another a resounding message is made clear. You are not alone. God sees your hurt, and he has sent me to you to help bring life. We are all sent to one another to uplift one another in encouragement until the day of our Lord's return. And this can all be very hard. The need for the gospel is evident. This world needs hope, this world needs a different way of life. Praise be to God for his son Jesus who provides for us a better way, and a new life. I'm so encouraged by our students who have made such an intentional effort to be like Jesus towards one another, and I pray that you are encouraged by that as well. Your gifts and prayers have served to help build this community on this college campus. And the community has become one in which Christ's activity is very present. No one comes in hurting and remains alone in their hurt. Everyone is surrounded and encouraged in their faith by their fellow classmates and peers. I just want to thank you for that. As a pastor of this community that knows these students personally and sees the hurt that they are dealing with first hand I am so grateful that you would decide that these students have value enough to you that you would want to give to support the building of a community where those students don't have to suffer on their own. But rather, can find a group of people who will consistently tell them about the life that they can have in Christ. That is ultimately only possible because of your decision to be generous. So thank you!

Another really neat and exciting thing that has been happening recently has been the fundraisers that we have been hosting for our students who are soon to leave for one week at the Student Institute of Campus Ministry, or SICM for short. While at SICM the students will learn what it means and what it looks like to make disciples of Jesus on their college campus. They will learn practical tools and skill sets about how to do evangelism on their campus, how to lead a bible study, how to develop spiritual friendships. So it has been really encouraging to see our students show up in droves to support financially those who have been given this opportunity to attend SICM. 
This is a picture that was recently made by one of our students, Ricky Hudson, in order to promote his upcoming taco fundraiser. At the end of every Thursday night we will host an event at one of the houses close to campus where students will come and enjoy food like tacos or pancakes and make donations to send their peers to SICM. I just love how willing our students are to make donations so that the future genreation of leaders in our community can go and learn how to make disciples on their college campus. Not only do the students come for good tacos, although that's part of it, they come because so many of our students have caught the vision that in order to make disciples on college campuses you have to train and equip students to reach their classmates and peers. So far all of our students are reaching their financial goals and will be able to attend SICM thanks to the generosity of the rest of the students that they serve in community with.

One way that you can help send students to SICM is by attending Spring Showcase! Spring Showcase is an event that is full of musical performances, singing, and dancing. As well as an art sale. All of the proceeds of the event go to sending our students to SICM so that they can learn to be ministers of God's word on their college campus. If you are interested in supporting that goal, or if you just happen to love live musical performances, then please come to Spring Showcase. I'll be there and I would love to see you there as well. The information for the event is on the image below.
As always, I want to thank you for your generosity and support. If you please would join me in praying for those students who have recently reported those hard and difficult emotions of loneliness, sadness, anger, and brokenness. Please pray that they would come to know the truth of their value and worth in Christ and that they would be set free and delivered from those prisons that keep them bound. Our God is a God that sets people free and breaks chains, so I fully believe that prayer is the most effective tool that we as followers of Jesus have at our disposal when it comes to combating some of those experiences. Below is a student testimony from one of our students at UT Dallas. I pray that you are encouraged by what you read!

In Christ,
Austin


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