It’s that time again: time for your monthly update on what all I’ve been up to. I mentioned in June how this summer season is just much different than the school year. I said that the pace is typically slower as we fundraise and connect with students who are still in town. Well, that was June. July is picking up as we prepare for this upcoming year. There is much for us to prepare for!
This past year, UTA FOCUS was given a huge donation of $50,000 dollars from a generous family in Arlington who love the campus and have a student in our ministry. This money will be used in several different ways, but I want to share the one I am most excited for. FOCUS will be hosting two large welcome week events to meet students and bless our campus. The first one will be a casino night and the second will be a petting zoo. The casino night will, of course, not involve real money. We will create our own funny money with our logo and give students the opportunity to cash out to win free textbooks or gift cards or whatever other cool thing we can think of. The petting zoo will be quite a simple event. There will be cute animals to hold and we will serve popsicles. Students will love this because it’ll be a perfect photo op. I mean I can’t judge. I went to Canton and got this photo with a pig.
The beginning of the school year is crucial for campus ministries. This is where we cast our nets wide and meet as many people as we can. During our training days, we teach our student leaders that this is where the bulk of ministry is met. Think about it. There will be a rush of eager freshman and transfer students who spent the past year cooped up like us. There will be students who have never experienced college in person. These are the people we are wanting to connect with. This is what fuels my own personal passion towards these large events. We have been given a chance to be a formative memory in someone’s college experience. I know I’m talking big, but I believe this. I have seen it in many of our students’ lives who have similar stories to tell. Be praying for these events. Pray for August and what we will do. Pray for the new students coming to campus.
There is a neat opportunity to wear many hats in FOCUS. You can, of course, pastor someone. You can be like a seminary student as we dig into a book in book club. You can be a friend, mentor, roommate to a student. The list goes on. I was given the task to plan a fundraiser with one of my friends and co-workers, Adriana. Party planner was the fun hat I got to try on for the past two weeks as we planned our event. Our fundraiser was for one of our upcoming apprentices who needed a little help with their fundraising. A student volunteered to host a dance party and we came alongside with the food, nachos. I got to live my best lunch lady life as I prepared 40 pounds of beef. It took an hour and a half to cook all of it. I did not burn myself. The event went great and our students were incredibly generous. It’s special getting to see a community support each other.
I swear I will have more photos in August. I cannot begin to explain how awkward it is asking students to get selfies of us on facetime. I am so thankful we will be in person this upcoming year. I want to thank you again for supporting me. Whether you just joined my team or if you’ve been on it since the beginning, I am incredibly honored to have you guys on my side. You make this ministry possible.