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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall Fellowship

Hello dearest friends!

"Campfire" stories about Jesus during Fall Camp!

I pray this blog finds you well, all snuggled up on your couch with a hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, and a roaring fireplace (just kidding, but I am so excited for cold weather!). I am tempted to start this blog the same way I have started my other entries with something along the lines of, "Wow! So much has happened this month, I can't believe time has gone by this quickly, and God has already done so much." I have a sneaky suspicion I will want to express that each month for this school year, because it IS true! God is at work around us! When we take time to reflect and think on those things, I believe we can see more of what God is up to. I am thankful for this time of reflection and time of praise I get to share with you.

Our first official UTA Fall Camp happened at the beginning of October! This is one of the things I get super stoked about, because I know the goals and outcome of an event like this. I got to see it's purpose as a student and now as an intern, and both experiences have had major impact in my life. We do a fall camp at all of our campuses to spend devoted time together for 24 hours straight. We laugh, we pray, we share, and mostly we grow closer to one another. This camp experience always brings our students closer together. I believe that God was working in our laughter during the games, in our songs during worship, and in the conversations that happened in between. Some very sweet friends of mine shared their thoughts during a reflection time on how college ministry has impacted them. Through their tears they talked about never having this many people be interested in who they are until now, and how this experience after a month and a half is already changing who they are and how they see God. This was tremendously encouraging for me to hear. When you are pouring into students, planning events, praying for the ministry, etc. you usually wonder if what you are doing is making a difference. That weekend was confirmation for me that God is moving in the hearts of our students, and what a great reminder that was!
We started a group within our ministry called Campus Mission Teams (CMTs) to get our students exposed to having spiritual conversations with people on campus. We meet up once a week and pair up to go around asking spiritual questions and to learn more about where people are at spiritually on the UTA campus. We want our students to learn how to be good listeners and how to ask uncomfortable questions. Some questions we have asked over the last couple weeks are:
  • How has Christianity impacted the world?
  • What do you fear or what holds you back?
  • We also asked people if we could pray for them
  • If you believe God exists, what do you think he cares about?
These conversations have been very insightful and, regardless of being Christian or not, most students are appreciative that we are going around starting these conversations on campus. Our students have commented that it's not so scary to go up to strangers and to put yourself out there. I love seeing them be bold!

"I love being in CMTs! I really love watching and learning from the leaders in our community on how to have spiritual conversations and seeing the impact it can have in people's lives."-Brooklyn, one of our CMT girls in the picture to the left.

I have shared a lot about our students in the ministry and how they have grown, but I also on a personal level have grown a ton through this experience. I have had the opportunity so far to learn more about the Bible than I ever have through our Focus Internship classes we have four times a week. We have class with very wise and godly people who ask us deep questions about scripture and life, to get us thinking about what we believe and why. I have seen God in new ways in the Old Testament class, and it has increased my belief that our God is a good God, even when I don't understand everything! This internship has challenged how I try to take control of things and do things my way, but I see more and more why we need to rely on God to guide us. HE is the one who is going to change hearts. HE is the one who defines success.
Everyone at Fall Camp 2015!

Please let me know how God is working around you as well! College ministry is a huge (if not the biggest) mission field we have in the U.S. but I believe God is working in your work places, your families, and the random encounters you have throughout your day.

Would you pray with me for these things within our ministry?
-Pizza Theology. Once a semester we have a topic we study in depth with our students for four hours on the weekend. It is a great opportunity to learn from wise people on difficult topics. Would you pray that it leads people to a deeper understanding of God and how we should live as his children?
-My sermon I am doing on Thursday, November 5th with another intern Austin. We want to speak God's truth to our students and show them more of who God is.
-The students in our ministry are at some major turning points in their lives. Trusting God with new things and learning new ways of thinking and living. Would you pray for them and that they continue to seek God, even when it is hard? 

Our ministry is so excited for what God's been doing in the lives of our students and alumn and look forward to sharing some of their testimonies with you in the upcoming FOCUS Fundraiser video series on November 14th. Be on the lookout for a preview of 1 of the 5 interviews in an upcoming email in the next week and for the full campaign on your Facebook news feed! Also, if you haven't already please go and like our FOCUS Facebook page for fundraiser updates and exciting news during this next month.

With Love,

1 comment:

  1. Hi April! I am so encouraged by reading about your Fall Camp. Looks like you guys had an awesome time! I am also excited to hear about those spiritual conversations starting at UTA. It can be intimidating at first to ask someone about their spiritual life, but most people are happy to talk and glad that someone is taking an interest. I encourage you guys to do that more and more and get UTA students thinking about God.

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being God's hands and feet at UTA. Love you!