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Maverick Stampede (Welcome Week)

Hey friends!

What a whirlwind of a month it has been. UT Arlington is full of life again as college students have returned to campus for the fall semester. The first two weeks of students coming onto campus at UT Arlington is called Maverick Stampede. The University hosts a bunch of events for students to come and make friends, and Focus hosts a few of our own. But our leader team is there at every single event ready to make some new friends, and be Jesus to their peers. I'm so excited about what God is going to do as a result of all of the time and effort that our staff and student leaders put in during these first couple of weeks. I'll tell you about some of the events and then share with you what I'm excited about moving forward. Thank you for your investment in college ministry. I pray that you find this update to be encouraging!
This was our board game night, we probably had over 100 students there just playing games and getting to know each other. We always host this after the first move in day. So our leaders spend their entire day helping students move into their dorms and while they're helping them move they invite them to come make friends! It's always such a neat way to bless the campus. So many students are lonely or at the very least bored when they first move into the dorms. I love that Jesus allows us an opportunity to let these students know there are people here on campus who care about them and want to welcome them into a community.

This low quality picture is from waffleopolis. It's an odd but fun event that UTA puts on where every student is given a waffle with endless toppings, as well as a glowstick necklace, and then are invited to dance the night away. This young man, Evan, had the idea to ask people for their glowstick necklaces so he could decorate a nearby tree. It may not seem like much but I met several young men at this event that are now involved in our small group bible studies called Core. It's amazing what God can do with waffles and glowstick necklaces.

This is from an event called MavQuest. It's a scavenger hunt across campus, international students are specifically invited to come out and make some american friends. Our leader team was there to meet them. I have already heard of several stories of young students from India asking students and staff on our leader team to tell them more about Jesus. One young man, after being shared with the story of the prodigal son, proclaimed "I'm so glad I got to come here to this school, I want to learn more about Jesus!" And then amazingly an international student who joined our community last year told that young man how amazing he's found Jesus to be and how much he cherishes the friendships with the american students in Focus. How cool is that?

All of these events are so neat, and that was only 3 of probably the 15 events we either go to  or put on every year. But at the end of those two weeks, after all that time spent meeting and befriending people, we have our first Thursday Night Fellowship. At TNF students have the opportunity to come and worship God, listen to a sermon, have a great time, and get connected to our small groups. There were 135 students at our first TNF. Considering last year our community was probably around 85 people and that 4 years ago it all started with around 15 faithful disciples, I'm truly amazed at God's goodness. Even if none had come, God is still good. But how awesome is it that he is even more passionate about college students coming to know Him than I am. I'm so excited about this, because these students will get involved in Cores, these students will be given the opportunity to study the bible one on one. These students will become themselves disciples that make disciples. And God's Kingdom will grow here at UT Arlington. I can't thank you enough for your role in that. Feel free to stop by a TNF anytime and meet some of our students. Please pray for them this year, especially for our student leaders who will be mentoring and leading their peers to Jesus. 
I love you and I'm so grateful for your partnership in this ministry. Don't forget to check out the student testimony below! God be praised!

In Christ,
Austin

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