Saturday, September 17, 2016

Moving Forward

Hi friends,

We are past welcome week and even have a few cores underneath our belts. Thank you so much for all of your prayers. I had asked you to be praying that during this time our student would be body and persistent in meeting new people, that they would be meeting other students and professors, and that the hearts of the students on campus would be receptive to Jesus. Those prayers were definitely answered!

Welcome Week

Our students did an amazing job during welcome week despite some of the weird conditions. If you didn't know, all of the rain that occurred that week in August was during the welcome week events we had planned. We had to cancel almost every single one of the events we had planned, and we had to quickly come up with a backup plan.

This is a picture of one of our last minute events, Zombie Tag!
Despite all the changes that happened, our students still went out and worked hard at inviting new people, and the people came! They also ended up loving the new events that we did. People still ask when we're going to play Zombie Tag again (the game we were explaining in the picture).


Our first FNF was a huge success because of all the hard work our students put in during our welcome week. This picture doesn't even capture how many people were in this room. We were in the Davidson Auditorium, for those of you who went to UTD or came to FOCUS in this room, and almost every seat was taken. I don't want to emphasize numbers, but I do want to emphasize how blessed we are to have such hard working students. It just reminds me of the verses in Matthew 9: 36-38 that says 'When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”' I think that our students are starting to get this verse. They saw people like Jesus did, and they answered the call for more workers to go into the harvest field. They went, and they worked hard for God which is just so cool!

Lastly I just want to ask for some more prayer. We have our Fall Camp coming up on Friday and Saturday. 1. I'd like you guys to be praying that everyone gets there safely, and the whole event goes smoothly. 2. I'd really like you guys to be praying that our students are brave, especially the new people. Going to a camp with people you don't really know can be very intimidating. It can be scary to push yourself outside of your comfort zone for something that may not seem important or worth it, but I've seen over and over again the benefit people and cores have when they go to Fall Camp. Spending that many hours together, hanging out and learning about God, just brings people together. The people who are scared to go are the ones who would benefit the most from going. So please, pray for courage for the people who are scared to go and persistence for the people who will trying to get those people to camp. 

Thanks so much! You've helped another year on these campuses possible, and I'm incredibly grateful for all that you guys do to make that happen. 

P.S. Our student testimony this month is from Michelle Nelson, a UTD grad who is currently serving as a missionary in Thailand.

I came to college knowing about God but not knowing God. I didn’t grow up as a Christian but went to youth group with friends in high school. As an overachieving perfectionist I saw church as a place to prove myself. Religion was a set of rules explaining how to be “good”. As is all too common, I had completely missed the point of Jesus.FOCUS quickly turned my attitude about God upside down. Seeing so many people who were willing to say “these are my flaws. I’m not good, but God is” was life changing for me. These people clearly knew God and had a relationship with Him. Yet they weren’t perfect and weren’t pretending to be. It’s still difficult for me to remember that I can simply accept God’s grace; He wants me to have it. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not responsible for earning grace on my own. God has a sense of humor. Shortly after leaving UTD, God called me to Thailand. I now live in a country that is 95% Buddhist. I am immersed in a culture that is obsessed with earning merit. I see the Thai people worship idols and give offerings, and it breaks my heart. Then I look at my own life and see that, in my own way, I am trying just as hard to earn merit. God is so strategic. He puts you exactly where you need to be. He knew I needed to be in FOCUS. And now he’s brought me to Thailand to minister to people who share the same heart struggle as me. FOCUS changes students’ lives and then sends them out to minister to others. And because of that, I truly believe FOCUS will reach the world.