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Finding Yourself In The Story

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share with you this morning what I believe God has been doing in the lives of college students at UTA over the course of this last month. I have seen college students share with their peers the good news of Jesus. I have seen students willingly put aside personal gain in order to bless those around them. And I have seen students build community and unite around the reading of the word of God. And I can't thank you enough for your role in all of this. Because of your support of college ministry Jesus is making a very real difference in the hearts and in the spiritual maturity of this younger generation.
Different stories from scripture with artists' interpretation of the stories above
This summer we have been doing outreach and evangelism on the college campus every single week. We have met and had conversations with a great number of students. Many of whom we have gotten their phone numbers and have invited into Christ centered community! This is one outreach display that I found to be really exciting. Pictured above are different stories from scripture, some parables, some accounts of Jesus. These stories include, a messiah and Lord, pharisees and tax collectors, a woman caught in adultery and an angry mob, two sisters with different priorities, a man broken and beaten, a priest, a pharisee, and a good man who happened to be a samaritan. As well as a prodigal son, and a merciful father.

For the outreach we asked students that were walking by if they had the time to read a couple of stories. We told them that each story was from the bible and we were asking people to answer the question "Which character do you most identify with from these stories?"

I loved this outreach because for every answer we got to hear about their stories, and what it was about the character that they chose that made them identify with that person in particular. Through all of this we got to ask follow up questions such as "What does identifying with that character have to say about how God feels about you?" And we got to share with people who felt like outcasts and rejects that they were accepted and not condemned, we got to share with the proud, that Jesus favors humility. We got to share with the anxious that Jesus offers rest. I love that God uses stories to communicate to us. I love that we can all identify with these characters. And I love that God has made clear his purposes and intentions for our lives in a way that captivates our hearts and invites us into deeper intimacy with Him. I plan to continue to use stories to communicate the gospel to college students for many more years to come!

Speaking of stories, I know I shared a story with you last month about a student at UT Arlington named Colton Benge, so next month I promise I'll write about a different student. But Cole did something recently that really encouraged me. And I pray that in sharing this with you, you will be encouraged as well.
Every year Facebook offers the opportunity to anyone who would want to to use their birthday to raise support for any non profit of their choice. And this year, for his 21st birthday, completely unprompted, Cole decided to use his birthday to raise support for college ministry, so that other students can experience the same blessings that he himself has found. In a world where so much of our culture tells us to think only of ourselves, Cole wanted to use a day where people traditionally would give to him, and instead he encouraged others to give the money they would have spent on him and invest in the lives and in the spiritual well being of college students that he may never get to meet. I believe that is a testimony to God and his goodness, and how he also gave of himself to bring life to so many others. 

Prayer Requests
  • Ministry Support - I am still $300 a month away from reaching my goal for support for this year. School begins in a little under 3 weeks and so I am asking you to join me in praying for the meetings that I still have coming up with potential ministry partners over the next several week. And also to please consider who in your circle might want to hear more about what God is doing through college ministry and then, if you are willing, offer an opportunity for me to connect with them and share with them my heart for college students.
  • Move in Day - On August 20th college students will pour back onto UT Arlington's campus. And when they move into the dorms. Our student leaders will be there to greet them, help them move in, and invite them into Christ centered community. Please pray that God would allow us to meet the students who's hearts are open to him. For confidence for our student leaders who will have to have the boldness to initiate conversations and friendships. And that lastly we would be a blessing to the whole campus and everyone that we meet during that time.
As always don't forget to read the monthly student testimony below! I am always grateful for each of you. Your prayers and support mean the world to me. And I thank God because of you. 

In Christ,
Austin Gage


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