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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Celebrate the Growth!

Hello Everyone!
Please take a few minutes to watch the video below. Austin, one of our interns, made this video for our Focus Formal this past Sunday night. I wanted to share it because the students shared what our vision has been for the UTA campus and it shows how God worked this year. Four of the six students featured in the video started coming to our ministry THIS year and have already been impacted greatly. What the students share in the video is because of people like you investing in a greater vision that God had for them this year. Thank you all so much! Let's praise God together for what He has done!

The Big Event
This last month our students signed up to help volunteer around the Arlington area. UTA hosts The Big Event once a year and any students or community members can sign up to serve those in need. We had around 30 students sign up to spend a Saturday serving others! I was so glad to get to partner with the university on something we value as a community and on something that is very important to God. Our students had positive attitudes and served with joy, even while cleaning out a dirty creek! Memories were made that day with one another and we have formed some relationships with surrounding organizations we hope to work with in the future.
Spring Showcase

Every year we have a fundraiser for our students we send to a campus ministry training in Bellingham, Washington called SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry).
This year we were able to raise the funds to help our students get to this amazing opportunity! Your generosity and support at this event was extremely encouraging. Our performers were off the charts awesome, the art was very impressive, and the fellowship was a joy! Thank you for continually helping our students and seeing the bigger picture of what God is doing on college campuses!

One one One Bible Studies
One of the highlights of campus ministry every year is studying the bible one on one with our students. I've had the privilege to study the bible with three of my core girls, one of them being Bridgette. Bridgette and I went through the Focus On Jesus bible study we offer that goes over many topics from the New Testament and is a launching point for understanding Christ better and spending time with Him. I have loved meeting with Bridgette every week, because I have been able to witness God changing her before my eyes. She has said some profound things this year and, with Bridgette's permission, I posted an answer from one of the lessons in Focus On Jesus. It really sums up her year and how God is moving her closer to living a life completely for Him! This model we use ("One on one is how it's done") is something I really believe in and doing this bible study changed my life my freshman year of college. It was the first time I got to study scripture with someone and ask the questions I had been wondering. This tool is a major way students start to take knowing God seriously and actually get to read about who God is!

Focus On Jesus-Sent Into The World Homework
The primary difference between Jesus and any other "good" person was his purpose. Are you living your life on purpose? How does that line up with His? How is that demonstrated in your life?

"It has been a long journey trying to figure out my purpose in life. My life as of now is only at the first step, which is identifying how Jesus lived his life. The next stage of my life is to be able to use this knowledge to align my purpose with God. For me to sell my worldly possessions to gain the opportunity to live for something greater than myself."

Sermon at TNF
I had the honor and privilege of giving a sermon during our Thursday Night Fellowship meeting last month. I was asked to preach on a scripture that has profoundly impacted my life and still does to this very moment. Philippians 4:4-9 pretty much sums up how God has started to work in me and continues to do so. I was pumped to share the thoughts I have heard over the years on this passage and help our students get to a better place mentally, and to get our students thinking about how and why our thoughts matter. It was so fun and such a blessing to share, because remembering what God has done in my life is putting these verses into action. 

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
After we focused in on the scripture for a while, I asked the students to write down true, lovely, and praiseworthy things they had learned about God this year. Here are some of the responses our students wrote:

I want to encourage you to write things down that are true and praiseworthy about God. These things are so good to go back and reflect on, especially when things get hard or seem funky. 
Prayer requests:
1. Please pray that our travel to Seattle and Bellingham next week would be safe and that the students would absorb the wisdom they will hear from other campus pastors on how to be the best ministers they can be on their campus.
2. Our students have finals next week and this is a very high anxiety time in our students' live. Will you pray our students stay calm, study well, and do their best?
3. I have yet to post about this. I am staying on staff for one more year with UTA Focus! I will be an associate staff member for the next year. As I was praying about what to do next year, God reminded me that I moved out here for these students and to show them the love He has for them. These students have blessed me, changed me, and encouraged me all year. I can't wait to do another year with them! I have started calling a lot of you about continuing to support me next year financially and in prayer. Would you pray about continuing your support next year? I will be in contact with you all soon and would love to have your support in this next year of ministry!

1 comment:

  1. Hi April! That video really shows why we do what we do in FOCUS. Those students have learned important lessons this year and been transformed by the Spirit working in them. I am so thrilled that I will soon get to move to Arlington and work with you and those amazing people!

    Also, thanks for sharing those Post-it messages the students wrote. They are all so encouraging.

    Love you April!