There is so much to say since my last update. I was standing on the edge of a month full of events like our leadership camp (SICM) and UTA’s welcome weeks and now I’ve lived them. It’s been quite amazing being back on campus experiencing the excitement of new life as people arrive for the year. I can’t believe it’s been two years since I have been on campus for welcome week; a quick refresher: I had covid around this time last year. I am grateful to be a part of welcoming people this year. There have been so many new faces at our events… I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get into the details of what all I’ve been upto.
After our staff retreat, we had a couple days to wash our clothes and pack up for another trip. This trip was our leadership camp, SICM! Normally, we go to a ministry up in Washington and are taught by some wonderful leaders. This year, we were outside of San Antonio at Camp Eagle and FOCUS put on their own training. The training we do is mostly about how to be a missionary to your own campus and how to lead small groups with some other lessons mixed in. The group we brought was all this wonderful stuff is all of the students who will be leading at the different FOCUS campuses. We had about 200 people there for the training. Since we were on a campground, we also had the opportunity to do camp activities like swimming, rock climbing and kayaking. I spent most of my time in the river because it was so hot!
The leadership camp is what fueled our welcome week this year. For many of the schools, they came back from SICM and then were immediately on campus putting to use what they had just learned. I can’t stress enough how special that timing was. Students were on fire to befriend people and make Jesus known. We have this axiom in FOCUS we teach our leaders and it’s “Be a fool for God, not cool for God”. It can be intimidating being present on campus and greeting new people especially when young people are taught that we need to act a certain way. Somewhere in time, it became cool to act uninterested in things (I suspect high school is where this gets planted). I love that we have an opportunity to create a culture where new students see upperclassmen excited and welcoming. This axiom gives us a mantra that our goal isn't just to persuade people to join because we are cool. It's a reminder that we are to be different and if that makes us look foolish, so be it.
I feel like every year around this time Matthew 9:37-38 always comes to mind,
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
My photos won’t do it justice, but there are so many students on campus this year.
A story I want to share is one that encapsulates what many of our students encountered this year as they met people on campus. We knew people would be hungry for friendship because many high school students were online last year because of COVID. FOCUS hosted several yard game nights as campus opened up. We would invite anyone who would walk by. One of FOCUS missionaries, Taylor met a girl who had come from India and been in America for two weeks. She had been exploring campus when she was invited to play games. Later that night, I introduced myself to her and that’s when I heard her story. She had been in America for two weeks and not met a single person. She had been alone in her apartment because her roommates had not arrived yet. She expressed how homesick she was and how hard it had been. She came back to every event we hosted and said our events helped her greatly. I have been able to hang out with her since and am praying we become better friends.
Pray for our students and that they live life invitational. Pray we can continue to be a refuge for those who are lonely and need friendship. Pray that people will experience love through our community. Pray prayers of thanksgiving for all the people we are meeting this year and that people will come back.
Thank you so much for your prayers and your support. They mean the world to me.