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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The end is not the end!

Hello dearest friends and supporters,

The internship officially ended on May 31st and now I am transitioning to Associate Staff at UTA! I wanted this blog post to be a reflection on what I shared in my last intern sermon: three important areas I've seen God work this year.

All of the FOCUS interns from 2015-2016 and our Pastor Ronnie

I want all of you to know that none of the things written on this blog could have been possible without you. I mean that! Thank you for giving your time, prayers, and money to God's work. One of our axioms in our community is, "God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the called" and that has been so true this year. I am a flawed person, but God chose to work through your gifts, through my flawed self, and so many others to change people's lives for the rest of eternity. How amazing! Thank you all dearly.

The UTA FOCUS staff from 2015-2016 (Krysten, Sarah, Nathan, Myself, and Austin)

#1 Through this internship God has been showing me it's important to know about yourself. What I mean is we need people in our lives to help us see who we are, the good and the bad. There are many times (sometime daily) where I forget how far I've come because of God, or the work He is doing in me. There are other times when I don't see how I'm acting affects others negatively or how I am being prideful. God has given us community to continue to shape us into who we truly are as redeemed people of Christ.

#2 Through this internship God has been showing me the importance of being present. There is a temptation for everyone to think too much in the past and too much in the future. I tend to think on the past a lot, because I get fixated on my shortcomings and worries instead of giving them to the Lord. I will then focus too much on future events, homework assignments, chores, etc. and miss what is going on around me. There needs to be a healthy balance here. Be present. When we are present we can really bless people around us and show them the value they deserve.

#3 Through this internship God has been showing me the importance of hope and grace. We can't give others what we don't have. If I am not constantly remembering God for who He is and the truth He has spoken to us through scripture, the world and Satan are going to start writing new tapes to play in my head. There is huge significance to remembering the hope and grace we undeservingly live in. If we start to get this, then we can share this with others and extend hope and grace to others as well. Believing I have received grace should make it easier to extend grace, because when we see a need for it in our own lives then we see ourselves for how we really are: fallen and imperfect people. So why should we be so critical of others? Well, that is what God is showing me at least.

The beautiful ladies from Kassidy and I's core this past year during our Focus Formal.

Most recently we had a group of over 100 students travel to SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) to learn how to disciple others and live like Christ on the college campus. One of our UTA students named Hallie was able to join us this year. Hallie is a sweet, authentic, and funny woman of God. She is also from Vietnam! To our surprise, when we arrived in Bellingham, Washington, Hallie saw a friend there that she knew from Vietnam who is one of the student leaders with the ministry that hosted us! Out of all of the places in the world, both Hallie and Tri reconnected in Washington state and have a relationship with Jesus. How amazing is our God!

Hallie and Tri at Western Washington University
SICM students praying for each other to impact their home campuses
Some of our students in Seattle!
Rachel, another UTA student, was able to attend SICM this year and had this to say about her experience: 

"God worked in mighty ways this past week, showing all of us His power and goodness. I am so grateful for the amazing conversations, friendships, and growth that happened in this past week. God is good & He is faithful. SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) is a life changing experience that really challenges us to be true disciples and know our purpose of making more disciples as we are commanded to do. Very blessed by everything that happened this week, words do it justice except the fact that...Wow, God is good & He is beyond amazing to us and is always in a constant pursuit of His people, trying to change hearts for Him and give us true life.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV"

Rachel and I on our flight to Seattle at 5am
Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray for all of the staff and new interns as we fundraise this summer. It is a stretching experience and can cause many people anxiety, but we are working to trust God is in control and will provide for us. Please pray we would get connected with people who can see the vision of college ministry. 
  • Our students as they are at home with their families or traveling. Summer seems like it could be a really exciting restful time, but a lot of our students (myself included) get in funky places emotionally over the summer when there isn't a lot going on and they aren't as connected to community. Please pray God would protect them from discouragement and lies, and that they would grow in communion with God while they are out of school.
  • My old stepdad, Bob. He had a stroke back in April and is still trying to recover. He has lost mobility on his left side and his speech comes and goes. Bob loved working out and being with people, so this has been a difficult time for him. Prayers that he would gain some mobility again and show progress, and for the doctors and nurses as they work with him and decide what treatment is best.
Thank you all so much! I look forward to talking with you this summer as I continue fundraising!
-April

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