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Hope, Joy, and a Crown

Hello friends and ministry partners,

This month has been the last month of the school year. And because of this I wanted to write and share with you just how I have seen God respond to your prayers and reward your generosity towards the college students on this campus. I was reading 1 Thessalonians Ch. 2 this morning and at the end of the chapter in verses 19-20 Paul writes " For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."
Paul writes this to the church in Thessaloniki as he is reflecting on his relationship to them and he says that they will be the hope, joy, and crown that he will receive on the day of Christ's return. Even though I, and the rest of the staff here are the ones who get to meet with the students face to face, I really believe that you as a ministry partner and supporter will share in the hope, joy, and crown that the students at UT Arlington will be on the day of Christ's return. I pray that you would celebrate with me as you read these stories.
This has been our leader team this year. Faithful student volunteers who responded to Christ's call on their life to fulfill the great commission and to make disciples of Jesus everywhere they go. The staff mentors and meets with these student leaders every week, but it is these students that largely go out and bring Jesus to their peers on this campus. On average each one of these students is probably studying the bible with around 3 different people each semester. And they do this while working and going to school, and being involved in other organizations. These students have made Jesus such a priority in their lives and have been so willing to go and share Jesus with their peers that even though many of these students are graduating this year we have a whole new generation of student leaders rising up to take their place. A generation that was met with and discipled by these students pictured here. Every one of these students has shown Jesus to me in one way or another. But these students also overflow with gratitude for the community that they have found at UT Arlington. None of us are here because we are here, we are all here because God is good. Four years ago Focus did not exist at UT Arlington and now, because of you, there is a small community of students, radically in love with Jesus, dedicated to sharing him everywhere they go whether on the college campus or off. And so I am grateful to God for these students and for their heart for others. They have been incredible student leaders. They have set the example of what the love of Jesus looks like to the students younger than them, and through their faithfulness in serving, God has brought more leaders to take their place. And so I'm in a way sad to see some of them go, but getting to hear how some of the students who are graduating want to become involved as leaders in the local church has been equally exciting!
This is a picture of just the guy leaders from this year, but these are the ones that I spend the most time with. Not only are many of them dear friends to me, I consider myself blessed just to have daily interactions with them. I am incredibly proud of all of them as I have seen them tangibly respond to God's word. These are men who know God and seek to follow him in everything they do. They are servant hearted, humble, teachable, thoughtful, and caring. I can not thank you enough for your investment in college ministry. Many of these young men I have gotten to witness transform, through the power of God's spirit, from men consigned to be who the world says that they should be, into men who's lives powerfully reflect the truth that it is God who gives us our identity and purpose, and it is in following Christ alone where we find life and have it to the full.

As always thank you again for your partnership in this ministry. I pray that you are encouraged by these students as much as I am. Jesus is working at UT Arlington, and you have joined him in his work. I fully expect for you to receive your reward on the day of his return. Please never hesitate to let me know if there is anything that I can be praying for for you. We have our leadership conference called SICM starting this next week. Please join me in praying for the students who will be attending that conference. For me personally that was a life changing week where I first decided I was going to follow Christ's great commission. As always don't forget to read the student testimony below! Thank you!

In Christ,
Austin

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