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Build My Life

Dear Friends,

I just want to thank you once again for taking the time to read this months update. I have many exciting things to share. One of which being that our school year has come to a close. This can be a bitter sweet moment as many of our students return home. But it also is such a neat time of year as we collectively take time to praise God for all that he has done through this community over the past year. I want to share with you a few of the things that I am so grateful for.
The first thing that I am grateful to God for this year is our leader team. So much of the ministry that happens on the day to day is done by our student leaders. These students will meet with their peers, study scripture with them one on one, and point their classmates to Christ. Which is already such a neat neat blessing. But what makes it all the more sweet is the character of these students. Each one of them is encouraging, genuinely caring and compassionate, as well as intelligent and kind. It really has been an honor to meet with these students each week and hear their heart for God. It is greatly because of you that these students are in my life. And it is because of you that these students receive training every week on how to be like Jesus to their peers. I wish greatly that you could listen to the students from our student body share stories of how God has proven His love for them in this last year, or how God has chosen to call these students to a deeper level in their discipleship because the stories that they would share would be filled with the names of the student leaders pictured above. Through them it has become more and more clear to me just how much God uses us for his purposes when we are faithful to answer his call to make disciples in his name. Thank you for providing an opportunity for these students to do just that.
Another reason that I am grateful to God at the end of the year is for the opportunity to have met with so many college students each week to read scripture together and learn from God's word. Above is a student named Josh Mcguinty who has become a dear friend of mine. Josh is pursuing his masters degree here at UT Arlington. Josh already had a background in the church and in knowledge of scripture, but it has been so exciting to watch him not only discover and engage with portions of scripture that he had not read or given much thought to in the past, but also to watch him place the things that he is learning into action. Josh, and so many other students like him, are being changed by God's activity in their life. Either through what they are learning in His word or by what they are experiencing in genuine christian community. Jesus is calling those who never knew Him into the beginning of a loving relationship, and he is also calling those who have known Him their entire lives to reflect Him more authentically to those around them. Josh has done this in many ways this year. In humility, in service, Josh and many others like him are being made to look more like their Lord. And I'm so grateful for how you have played a role in that.

The last thing that I want to share my excitement and gratitude towards is SICM. SICM is a week long conference that every year we send potential student leaders to. While their the students will engage in a week of classes where they will learn not only the heart of an evangelist, but the skillsets needed to make disciples of Christ on their college campus. The students will learn about how to lead a small group, how to disciple someone one on one, how to engage in evangelism on their college campus, how to read scripture, the importance of prayer in a disciples life. At the end of the week the students walk away with all of this knowledge and more. The week really is so trans-formative for so many of our students as they learn about how deeply God cares for them and their peers and how God has been gracious enough to invite all of us into his purpose of making this world new.  I'm grateful because I was once one of these students. It was 2012 and I had only really called Christ Lord for one year. But someone saw some sort of potential in me 6 years ago and they decided to invite me to SICM. At the end of the week we had an activity where we were to write on a rock what God had done in our hearts over the course of that week and this is what I wrote.
I don't know if today I would still use the same language of civilian and soldier but at the time this was the language that I knew and it was representative of the change that had occurred in me. I was no longer going to be a passive participant in the grace of God, I had decided that I was going to be an active witness of the goodness of our Lord to the world around me. 

This is the kind of impact that a week at SICM can have on the life of a student, so would you please join me in praying for these students as they go? Our students will be there over the next week so if you were even willing to pay for them every day until next week I know that the power of your prayers would carry on for generations and generations as these students decide to live the rest of their lives for the purpose of spreading Christ's kingdom. 

If you want more testimony as to how God can use the effect of a week like this on the life of  a student this is a really sweet video that one of our students made last year documenting his experience. I hope that you watch it and are encouraged. In the meantime don't forget to read the student testimony found below! And as always, I hope that you know how sincerely grateful I am to you for your prayers and generosity. The Lord is moving here at UT Arlington and I'm so grateful for your allowing me to participate in that work. In Christ, Austin.


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