December Update!

 Can anyone believe how fast November was? I cannot!

This month has been full of reflection on what God has done since I came to FOCUS; ministry has marked my past three years of life. I am thankful to get to be doing the work I get to do. As I have been reflecting, I have been thinking through our life-long journey of looking more like Christ. God has grown me a lot over these past years. First, I now am able to ask tough questions and be bold. Second, He has given me the opportunity to put my multitude of words and thoughts into sermons this semester. Believe it or not, sermons and speaking in front of people has freaked me out in the past. Lastly, I have been given many opportunities to trust God and his perspective during 2020. Hello, coronavirus ministry.

At DBU, our ministry has been focusing on Colossians 1:28-29:

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” 

Our heart with focusing on this verse is that as a community we can encourage each other to look more like Jesus. To present everyone fully mature in Christ. We have looked at different aspects of Christian life like disciplines, discerning wisdom and evangelism during this semester. We have a unique opportunity at that campus to be different. At DBU, Social clubs are king, but I am always left wondering what about those who don’t fit there or those who are commuters or those who get anxious in large groups? Where do these people go? Our hope is that if our community is aiming to be mature in Christ, we can be just the kind of people who could have the sight to see those who may be overlooked. Be praying for our students at DBU. Pray for guidance on how to move forward on that campus. 

I wanted to highlight a friend of mine, Andrea. She is doing our FOCUS apprenticeship right now. We caught up the other night and I was just encouraged by how she is growing to look more like Christ. She is at UTD and their campus has been quite restrictive on their organizations. 

Hello, my name is Andrea! You may recognize me from when Emily featured me on her blog a couple of years ago when she was doing her apprenticeship at UT Dallas and I was a student at the time. Fast forward to today, I am doing the apprenticeship at UTD this year and it has been an absolute blast! 

When I was accepted to be an apprentice last spring, I was honestly feeling really prideful and imagined myself doing a phenomenal job, but I knew that there were probably areas that I needed to grow in. So before starting the apprenticeship, I prayed all summer that God would use this year to humble me and mold my heart to look more like His. And humbled me he has!

This year with COVID-19, there have been many hurdles that we as a UTD FOCUS staff have overcome, and it has been challenging to find creative ways to still accomplish our mission of making and maturing disciples. The UTD campus is pretty much a wasteland, with the occasional student walking around, and as an organization, we have not been allowed to host any on-campus events. At the beginning of the year, it felt hopeless to try and grow our community and foster relationships with one another when everything seemed against us. But God was and is still good and faithful. 

Slowly but surely, God has blessed us immensely with students who are thirsty for friends and for Jesus. Our student leaders have worked hard to give hope and lead their cores in thinking through what it looks like to be a disciple in these difficult times, and we are so blessed to even be able to say that we still have a ministry! Through small scale meetings and online platforms, God is still working powerfully! It has been a journey to learn that God continues to be a God that works through tough situations and that he has already prepared the soil for us to plant his gospel in. Even in my own human weaknesses, God has shown me that it is not because I am good, but because He is, that I get to participate in bringing his Kingdom to UTD!

Please pray for us as we end this semester and begin the next one! That we come in with full force and not lose the momentum over the break. Pray that God helps us reach even more students, and that we are able to foster a community that continues to welcome and love and care for them.

Thank you so much for reading, and God bless you!

Here's another collection of Covid Ministry photos: 


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