Saturday, March 3, 2018

February Update!

Hello again,

I was thinking and praying about what I should include in this months update, and I realized I've never introduced you to the girls I've been mentoring this year!

Back row, left to right: Laura Daigh, Cristina Cisneros, Jennifer Ruppi, Me, Ashlyn Sauer
Front row, left to right: Hope Shaw, Amber Loflin, Irina Brock, Darby James
Photoshopped small head: Davina Dhani

Laura Daigh: She will be graduating soon with her undergrad in Biochemistry and is applying to graduate schools. She's bright, funny, and fiesty. I got the pleasure to begin spending time with her regularly last spring. When we met, she was in the process of decided whether she wanted to make major life decisions based on Jesus and what He's said is true. It's been really cool getting to see God work in her and through her. By the end of last spring semester, she decided that she was all in, and I watched her work hard changing her life to look more like what God wants for her.

Irina: She graduated last year with a degree in Speech Pathology. She was also a core facilitator last year. I didn't know her before we met at our core facilitator training in August. She has some trust issues, but loves people deeply. She is easily one of the most servant hearted people I know. Through my time working with her, I've just seen God working in her, healing her of past hurts and opening her up to deeper relationships with Him and others. (Laura and Irina lead one of our cores together)

Cristina Cisneros: She is in the process of getting a nursing degree from TWU Dallas. She is quirky, reserved, and calm. I think she brings a balance to the school that is vital. The overall vibe of this nursing school is stress. Students are overwhelmed by everything they have to do and worried about failing out. Many of the students there are overly anxious. Cristina's personality and demeanor brings a calm amidst that storm of emotions.

Hope Shaw: She has graduated from TWU Dallas' nursing school and is currently working night shifts as an ER nurse. She has a bubbly personality that instantly makes you feel like you're friends immediately. I also think she brings something vital to the nursing school. The nursing school community is one that doesn't invest in many deep friendships because they're stressed. Her personality brings people together and lightens up the school with her humor.

Amber Loflin: She has graduated from TWU Dallas' nursing school and is currently working in the ICU. She is the engine that keeps our organization going at TWU. One of the reasons we planted a ministry there is because she pushed for it to happen. She has a big heart for that campus and is continually thinking and planning on how to make Him known more there. (Cristina, Hope, Amber lead our core at TWU Dallas)

Jennifer Ruppi: She is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Emerging Media. She has a huge heart for people. She's very into gaming and has a community of people she plays with. The friends she's met through that often go to her for advice and help. One of the things I would like to see God grow in her is depth of relationship with people in His community.

Ashlyn Sauer: She is currently working on her undergraduate degree in Accounting. Working with her is so fun. She thinks deeply about things, and it's easy to see that she wants to be more like God. She is also one of the most consistent and disciplined people. Her and Jennifer are both first time corefa's, but I've been so impressed with how bold they've been going out and meeting people (Ashlyn and Jennifer are leading a core together)

Darby James: She is almost done with her undergraduate degree in Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication. She has one of the biggest hearts! She cares so much for people which conversely leads to some anxiety. It's been cool to see how God is working to free her from that. Her and her fiance are applying to do the FOCUS apprenticeship together next year! Their interviews will be this week, and they should find out whether they got it and what campus they'll be at by next week.

Davina Dhani: She is currently working on her graduate degree in Business Analytics. Through some unfortunate experiences when she was younger, she had left the church and begun doubting God's goodness. Since coming into our community, God has been revealing a different side of Himself to her. (Darby and Davina are leading a core together)

In each of these woman's lives, I can easily see God working in them, changing them, and revealing Himself to them. I ask that you continue to pray for them and what they're doing on the UTD and TWU Dallas Campuses!

Before I end, I wanted to tell you about Spring Showcase! This is an event we do every year in order to raise money to send students to Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM). This is a week long campus ministry leadership development conference we bring potential leaders to in May. This is a life changing experience for students, and I'm so excited already to bring this group of students we have! Dallas has 48 students registered to go, more than any other region. That includes people from TWU Dallas, SMU, UTD, and Richland.

Spring Showcase is an evening concert and art show featuring many of our students and alumni. All proceeds from ticket and art sales go towards scholarships for students in need of financial assistance to make the trip.
  • April 7, 2018
  • Matinee Show: Doors open at 2:30 pm; Show begins at 3:00 pm
  • Art Show: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Evening Show: Show begins at 7:00 pm
  • Bent Tree Bible Fellowship Church, Bent Tree Family Theater – map
    •  4141 International Pkwy, Carrollton, TX 75007

If you would like to come and support, you can click here to purchase a ticket.

Student Testimony

"When I was growing up, I was too afraid, timid and shy to make many friends. My parents encouraged me to join the swim team in high school, and I finally found a group of consistent friends there. That time brought a lot of confusion about my own sexuality. My attempts to figure out my own sexuality caused me to have a selfish outlook on those friendships. I had a group of friends that I was grateful for, but I still never experienced deep and true relationships. My main goal as I began college was to make new friends. During my first week at UNT, Pedro Paz befriended me and started to build a relationship with me while introducing me to the FOCUS community. My desire to find friends kept me coming back to different FOCUS events, and I began to see God work in my life. Even though I didn’t know Him at the time, God was chasing after me. I saw myself start to change as I obtained a new understanding of friendship and sexuality. I saw God use people like Matt Clark, who was shy like me, to impact hundreds of people. God taught me how to be expressive while still using my quiet nature as a tool for discipleship. I have friends that have sacrificed so much to help me through my struggles. God’s love shone through these people and I was able to see that my own desires, deriving from my sexuality, would not bring the joy I searched for. I realized that I was searching for love, but God was always with me. He offers the most intimate and greatest love."

Devin Rardin
University of North Texas