Monday, May 1, 2017

May Update

Happy May!

We literally have two weeks left in the semester and less than that before we head out to Washington for the Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM)! Thank you for the ways you've supported me through this year. Your prayers and financial support have been huge in me getting to spend one more school year in Denton doing the Lord's work! I'm incredibly grateful!

Spring Time Generosity

 April began and finished out with a couple of our biggest events of the year! Spring Showcase and Springjita support college students going to SICM and teens going to NEXT camp in the summer, respectively. Every year, I'm amazed not only at the local talent that comes together for these events, but even more at the whole-hearted generosity of our community. Adults and students generously invest in both of these events, because really, they're investing in the spiritual lives of young people and equipping them to reach out to others for Jesus! 

A snazzy quartet at Spring Showcase! (That's my Austin in there!)
Look out for Ana! Super talent!!
If any of you got to come out and support either of these events and our students, I just want to say "Thank you!" You made a huge difference, just by coming to these events! 


Meaningful Ministry

This month has been quite the roller coaster of emotions for ministry! This was such a peaceful year, it almost felt like everyone realized we only had about a month of school left and had to get all their crazy/drama in before the end...it just wouldn't be college ministry without it, right!? A few of those weeks were very discouraging to me to watch students I love choose things and actions away from the Lord. I would ask for your prayers for them...pray that they recognize the goodness of the Lord and that their hearts would be softened to be responsive and obedient to Him. 

○○○

Worship and brotherhood
Other parts of ministry have been so sweet and encouraging this last month. I get to hear about how Core is going each week from the women leaders I'm mentoring this year. I seriously love getting to meet with them and to hear how the Lord is working through them. One story that stuck out to me this month was from a core talking about living in the light and confession. 

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 
- 1 John 1:5

As they were discussing 1 John 1:5, a girl in their core started to cry. After talking a bit more, the girl said "I never though I could live out of this darkness." The Lord had sweetly touched her heart and showed her the freedom that was possible in Him. What a good, good Father. 

○○○

Tonight is our last meeting with this year's student leaders. They've been so great to work with and we would not be able to reach out and disciple a fraction of the campus without them! Every other week, we meet in our peer teams (gender specific groups that meet one on one weekly with a peer team leader) and the last two have been some of my favorites! 

Resurrection rolls = empty tomb!
The week before Easter, we took communion together. As we ate our resurrection rolls and drank our juice pouches, we talked about the things we love about Jesus and His presence in our lives. Then we washed each other's feet, like Jesus did for His disciples. It was a sweet night as we prayed for each other and served each other in such an intimate and rare way. 

Last week, each girl came with written words of encouragement and we spent two hours thanking, edifying, challenging and encouraging each other! These women have worked side by side for 10 months, each doing her best to live as a disciple and to teach others to know and obey the Words of Jesus. Each one has faced challenges and successes as their peers Get Jesus! The Holy Spirit really moved that night to speak to each girl and affirm her through her friends. 

I'm so blessed to get to work with these women and to help them grow in their relationships with God. 



Me & Tabby
Elena & Hayli
Jacy & Erin
Sarah & Tate
Tabby, Krystin & Loré


Jacy baptizing Alexcea! Praise God!


Ways to Pray

  • Finishing Well: Finals and Graduation are next week! Be praying for all of our students as they take their finals. Pray for our seniors as they close this chapter of their lives and figure out what the Lord has in store for them next! 
  • SICM: We leave for Bellingham, Washington on the 11th! Please be praying for safe travels and health for each of us going. Pray for each student to really catch a vision for being a minister to his or her campus, to grow in their love of our Lord, and to build deep, spiritual friendships with the other students attending SICM. 
  • Summer time: Pray for our summer large group meeting and our School of Ministry classes to deepen our students' relationships with God.
  • Fundraising: Pray for each staff member and incoming apprentice to reach 100% of their goals by August 1st! 







Monday, April 3, 2017

April Update

Wow. We are literally in the last full month for this semester! How did that even happen? Every year, the spring semester seems to fly, way faster than the fall semester. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this time of year...I love summer and the different kind of work we get to do then, so I'm excited to see its speedy approach! But that also means that students are graduating and transitioning out of FOCUS. This is a really good thing, but it's also a little sad when they move away for jobs. 

Anyways, March was such a fun month! I can't wait to catch you up on it! 

New Apprentices 

The first weekend in March was filled with graduating seniors interviewing for the apprenticeship in the fall. I am super excited for this new group of apprentices! Denton will get to have three this year! I'm looking forward to the individual dynamic each one will bring to our staff and the increase of things we'll be able to do on each campus because of the added man-power.

These apprentices (seven total) have already begun their fundraising season and will continue through the summer. Please be praying with me that each one will be fully funded by August 1st (or sooner). I'm a fundraising coach again this year and I'm really looking forward to seeing God move. Neither of the two girls I'm coaching has a childhood church home or many Christian family members, so they are already feeling daunted by this process. Please pray for boldness and peace, as well as for God to completely provide for them!

Spring Break

What a fun and much needed break! Austin and I got to go on a little trip to St. Louis, Missouri, stopping in Oklahoma to see my sister and her family on the way up. I love getting to be with family! My nephews have taken to calling Austin "Uncle Awesome," which he just loves. St. Louis was a blast!

It was so sweet to get away and spend some solid adventuring time together.

Uncle Awesome by my nephew
The Arch!
St. Louis Zoo


I'm so thankful for that little vacation! God really refreshed us and got us into a good mindset to come back and finish the semester out well.

What You've All REALLY Been Waiting For...

Our Denton SSI Team at the Square!
Spring Student Impact (SSI) was AWESOME! Having been recharged during Spring Break, we jumped right into SSI at the end of that week! Denton had a team of 12 (2 leaders and 10 students) that flew in from Washington on Saturday. We spent the entire week with them, doing outreach on the three campuses. Here are some of my highs and lows of the week:

-It's really hard to get students to stop and have deep conversations with you at TWU. So many of them responded "No thanks, I'm a Christian. I'm good." and were unwilling to even talk about what that meant to them. 

-There are a lot of students who are confused about what it means to be a Catholic/Christian. When asked "Are you a Christian?" many would respond "No, I'm Catholic." What does that even mean?! 

Enjoying the pool on a hot day!
-There were only a few antagonistic people that came by, but the students handled their harsh accusations and criticisms with a grace that can only come from the Holy Spirit.  


Outreach at TWU
-I got to talk with one girl, who gave me such an interesting thought to chew on. We had been talking about the general campus response to our presence that week. "Thank you for being here and for doing something so bold and self reflective. As someone who was raised Christian and has chosen to walk away from it, I really appreciate your approach here," she said. 

I thanked her for her response and kind words. She was surprised that we had actually just earlier that day had a more critical and antagonistic response from someone. "You know, if they're like me, which being in the Bible belt, they probably are...they're probably going through the stages of grief over the loss of their religion. It might have been a personal decision, but it's still a loss. And you know, grief isn't linear. That anger stage can resurface whenever!" 

I have never thought about walking away from your faith as cause for grief, but that makes a lot of sense to me. I've thought about that a lot since then. Maybe it's a cop-out to feel like this (I should have compassion on everyone, regardless of grief or not), but it's a little easier to have grace and compassion when someone lashes out because of grief. 

It's absolutely a good reminder that I don't know everyone's story. It's a good encouragement to not assume someone is just a jerk, but is maybe in pain. 
I hope I have the chance to follow up with this girl and to get coffee sometime! She gave me her number, so there's a good chance!!  

Students praying at NCTC


"How can we best represent Jesus to our world?"
"What would you like to see Christians do differently?
-Tuesday night at TWU's Fellowship, Danielle, challenged the students to think through the gospel and to try to share it without using any "Christianese" or churchy language that might be confusing or off-putting. It was super hard! The next morning, the SSI students had a devotional where they spent the majority of the time paraphrasing a few key Bible verses without Christianese. Overkill, you might think...or God's hand preparing them for outreach that day! 

It was absolutely the latter! While we were at TWU, I heard one of the SSI leaders having a conversation with a guy about what it meant to be a Christian. "I think you just have to be a good person," he was saying. When she asked him what the difference was between Christians and good people, he didn't know. 
She then got to share the whole gospel, without Christianese, to this guy. 

He seemed more surprised than anything else! He didn't get reborn right then or really have any kind of significant response...but that's one guy that absolutely knows what the gospel is now and hopefully the Lord continues to pursue and plant seeds with him! 

Students praying at TWU
-It was encouraging to see how many people we talked through over the course of the week who came to check out our Friday Night Fellowship! I'm so hopeful that they get connected even deeper with community, but more importantly, with Jesus. 

-There was a lot of prayer that happened throughout this week. At almost any given time, I could look around and see some student in prayer with another one before they continued on their way. 

-It was encouraging to our students to see how bold the SSI students were in starting and carrying on their conversations! I hope that our students continue to mimic them in their interactions with their peers on campus!   


Outreach at UNT


Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers for this week. I think a little bit more of the Kingdom was brought to the DFW area this week. Please continue to pray for the conversations we had, for the new students coming to FNF and Cores, and for all of our students (Texans and Washingtonians) to continue to be bold for Jesus on their campuses. 

Prayer Requests

  • New Apprentices: for their fundraising to be at 100% by or before August 1st. For boldness and peace. For their hearts to be prepared for what the Lord would have them learn this year. 
  • SSI: Praise God that it went so well and that so many got to hear the Good News! For the Lord to continue to work in the hearts of all of the students who participated in any way.
  • Austin's work: His department has downsized from 8 people to 2 (him and his boss now). He's currently being interviewed for a new position with a sister company. Please be praying for wisdom and peace. 
  • Fundraising Season: many of our staff, including myself, are beginning to work on raising their funds for this next year. Pray that the Lord provides abundantly so we can all be full-time on campus without worrying about finances. 
Just FYI, these student testimonies are posted on the anyfocus.org/staff-updates page. You can find more testimonies and other staff blog updates there, too!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Springtime Reflections

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7


Last night friend asked me what God has been teaching me lately as we walked home from the grocery store. This verse came to mind this morning as I was reflecting on that conversation and what I wanted to share with you this month in my blog. Don't worry, these two thoughts are absolutely connected! 

Every month I have such a hard time deciding what to put in this blog. I can tell you all about the events we have each month, but that's only part of what I do each month. So much of my work is tiny, seemingly insignificant. I don't have new students coming to know the Lord for the first time and cool stories of conversion each month. I don't usually have spectacular stories from my one on one Bible studies with girls. The stories I have are more like these (which are real examples, by the way!):

- how the Lord is softening one girl's heart towards her roommate who has been so difficult to live with and how she's been looking for ways to love and serve her the way Jesus would have. 

-how seven out of the ten student leaders in my peer team are in dating relationships and are striving to obey the Lord in their physical and emotional boundaries. They are such great examples to the community of what healthy dating looks like! 

-how a lot of the girls I meet with struggle with deep insecurities and with vulnerability, but how they're trying to overcome those struggles in the name of Jesus. 

-how one girl I'm studying the Bible with is recognizing that she's not yet counted the cost of following Jesus and has some serious thinking to do. 

-how some of the girls I meet with deal with high anxiety and bouts of depression, but are looking for peace in Jesus and strength in community. 

-how hard peer to peer ministry is for our student leaders, but how proud I am of them! They put aside so much time to really love and know their peers that they're reaching out to for the sake of the Kingdom. 

Gosh, as I think about each of those girls, I am so honored to be part of this work at UNT. It's pretty easy for me to get caught up in thinking I need to be impressive and have a lot to show for my work here...to "prove" that this is worthwhile or important work. But when I look for the impressive, I get discouraged. When I look for the spirit-led and the things that the Lord is doing through me to make and mature disciples to the glory of his name, I'm amazed! These aren't impressive things, but they have significant life impact and I love getting to be part of this work. 

So how does this connect to the verse I shared with you at the beginning? The thing the Lord is teaching me is how all of these things don't depend on me and that I can't control people. For some of the girls I meet with, I want sooo badly to just tell them how to fix their life and to dictate what they need to do. I want to step in and fix things, but that is not my job! That's the job of the Holy Spirit. I can be used in his work, but I am not the main worker! 

There's absolutely a certain amount of frustration in that realization, but there's also a lot of peace. These women that I meet with and care so much about are in the Lord's hands. I am planting seeds and watering seeds planted by someone else, but I am not the Master Gardener. Praise God! What a hefty job that would be! I'm so thankful for this reminder of what my job and purpose actually is and that I get to share these reflections with you. 

Not to Leave Out the Cool Events! 

Here are some of the other awesome things that happened over the month of February! 

 

Baptisms!

These two girls got baptized together this month! Erin (on the right) is a corefa (student leader) at UNT this year. Sierra (left) is in her core. I loved getting to see these girls make this step forward in making their faith their own and in following Jesus' commands. 













                                                   
                       Family Night

This year's Family Night was my favorite one EVER. The testimonies from different parents who shared about how their child has been impacted by God through FOCUS since moving off to college was incredibly encouraging. 

What was even more special was how the Lord is working in the families at home through these college students. It's incredible to see the ripple effect Jesus has on these students' lives! 





  Art Show Outreach! 




Aaron Hollingsworth, one of my teammates here on the Denton FOCUS team, has gotten us connected with a super special opportunity! We currently have an art show in the UNT Art Gallery in the Union! The show artistically explores the ways in which interconnectedness and community shapes who we are. The artists at students within our ministry in Denton!

There's a reception today and March 10th open to the public. We're hoping to have some deeper conversations sparked by the art! 









Pizza Theology - Let's Talk about Race!

This is a picture from Pizza Theology - our semesterly lecture day where we explore a given topic more in depth and then eat pizza together!

This topic is so relevant and impactful. One of my favorite things this year was "Voices from Our Community" where different students, alumni and staff had thought through and written out their experience with race from a very personal perspective. It was heart-wrenching to hear what some of my friends have gone through because of their race. It was convicting to hear the ways that I identified with impactful moments of thoughtless racism. I've been thinking a lot about my own experience with race and my interactions with people of other races. It's sparked some really good conversations that I look forward to continuing with friends and students. 

If you'd want to listen to the lecture and "Voices of Our Community" for yourself, it will be posted here soon!


Fun Things


My friend and coworker, Sarah, got married!! WOOO! What a day to be part of!

The weather has been awesome! We've been loving spending time outside, hammocking and hanging out with the pups!

Ways to Pray

  • SICM Students: We've prayerfully invited 30 students from Denton to attend the Student Institute of Campus Ministry in Washington this year! Of those, 27 will be able to go this May. Please be praying for the Lord to be preparing their hearts and minds for what He has in store for them. Also be praying for successful fundraising for the ones who will need help paying for the trip.
  • SSI: Student Spring Impact week is coming up! This is where students from Western Washington University spend their Spring Break doing outreach on our campuses! It's such a fun mission opportunity for them and a really neat way to engage with out campuses here. Please be praying for safe travel for them and for the Lord to lead us in every way that week.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A February Update

Goodness. 

Have I told you guys lately how thankful I am for each of you? I've been reflecting this week on some of the different parts of my job and the fact that I get to do ministry on a college campus with really cool people, preparing the way for God's kingdom in so many different areas. That's so awesome and it just wouldn't be the same without each of your support in my life. I'm incredibly thankful for your prayers, which are life changing, and your financial generosity, which allows me to do this full time. What a crazy good life I've been given! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!

Winter Caaaaamp!

Wowsers. Thank you for your prayers for this weekend! It was fantastic. Our theme was exploring the different ways the church is referred to in the Bible, so we covered being exiles in a foreign land, the faithful remnant, the body of Christ, the family of God, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. It was so encouraging to hear from several different speakers about what our role is as the church. I think students really caught a vision for what that looks like for themselves right now in college and in looking forward past graduation.

This last week I got to meet up with a student and in passing, I asked her what her take away was from Winter Camp. The sermon about the family of God really touched her. She grew up in a broken family that didn't attend church often.  She was blown away by the idea that God would give her a healthy family through her church community and that someday she could raise her family in a totally different way than she had been. 
"I think about all of the things I'm experiencing right now through this community, and I want that for my family someday!" she told me. I have so much hope for her and her future family! 

Another thing I love about Winter Camp is when alumni come for the day and bring their babies! It was so precious to me to be worshipping in the back of the auditorium and to see them also worshipping! These two and three year olds would dance in the back, singing along to all of the songs! It just encouraged me so much. So sweet to see! 


These are just a couple of so many other pieces of "Good News" from Winter Camp! I heard about people getting out of their comfort zones in numerous ways, new relationships being formed or solidified, God giving direction through speakers or conversations...just so many things! 

Pictures from camp!


TWU Ministry

UNT Ministry
NCTC Ministry
Everybody!! Over 600 students! WOW!

Darby & Sam's Core
The sillies

The sillies, part 2

Sarah and Tate's Core

My Peer Team!

Peer Team and a golf cart...

I couldn't even fit them all in the picture! 

Prayer Request and Praises

Winter Welcome Week: This was such a fun and productive week! We got to meet a lot of new students and to start this new semester off with a refreshed sense of purpose on the campuses. Thank you for your prayers! 

Baptisms and Weddings: I feel like I have a baptism or a wedding every weekend this spring! What an awesome way to see the Lord moving in the hearts of his people. I think baptism is a pretty typical way of thinking about God's kingdom advancing, but weddings get me so excited for the future! Praise God for healthy marriages and families with Christ as the centerpiece! 

Post-Winter Camp Prayer Request: Please be praying with me that the things the Lord began at Winter Camp would keep working outside that environment. Pray that students would continue listening for his voice and looking for ways to become more and more like Jesus! Pray for more unity among each of our campuses! Pray for real life change! 

Exciting News: We'll be starting a new ministry at SMU next weekend!!! Please be praying with us as we host a prayer night to kick off being on campus! Also, if you know of any students at SMU that you'd like to get connected to FOCUS, just let me know! 

Thank you for your love and prayers!

Friday, January 6, 2017

January Update

Well Guess What!? It's SNOWING!!!


Hellooooo, Snow!

I love living in Texas, where I can have worn shorts three days ago, but now it's in the 20's and snowing! What a world! 

I hope your holidays were restful and refreshing! Mine were filled with SO much family and travel! Austin and I stayed with his parents in Wylie for Christmas...7 adults and 5 dogs in one house! Then we went to see my mom in Kansas...8 adults, 5 kids, and a cat in one house! Then I went to staff retreat near Austin...25 adults in 2 houses! It's been wonderful to be with so many people I love and don't often get to spend extended amounts of time with, but I am toooootally ready to be back in the swing of normal work! 



Sermon Takeaways 

"Book Club" 1st & 2nd Year Staff Development
December is such an interesting month for student ministry. Each year, I feel like this is the time when the Lord really works on me and my heart through a couple different venues. One of those was the apprentice sermons at the very tail end of the semester. Their prompt was "My Gospel" this year and one of the points that really pushed some buttons for me was from Ryan's (an apprentice at Collin College) sermon. His point was "Moving from Inhibition to Healthy Expression" and a line that was particularly impactful was "I don't need to be comfortable, I need to be faithful." Ouch! 

Who doesn't want to be comfortable? This girl definitely does! This sermon and a conversation with some of the other first and second year staff members reinforced vulnerability as a growth area I need to continue giving some focused attention to in my life. I'd much rather float along and get along with everybody than put myself out there, rock the boat or receive criticism. But God is continuing to call me out of my comfort-zone, and as much as I'd like to, I can't ignore his voice. 

So that's one area I'll keep working on this next year! Won't heaven be great when we'll all have learned exactly what it takes to be like Jesus and there won't be anymore growing pains? I can't wait! Haha

The Signature of Christ

Hammock for Christmas! 
God has also been reminding me of his true character and deep love for me over the break. Sometimes I forget that Jesus is the embodiment of God's character and can think of God as this very strict judge who only cares about Right Behavior. When I get in that mindset, it's easy to think that God would do drastic or harsh things in my life to keep me dependent on him. Some really hard things happened over this break and when I concentrate on those, I lose sight of the fact that God is good. 

We read The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning over the break for our winter staff retreat and it was so timely for me. Brennan consistently points back to Jesus and the fact that Jesus is the embodiment of God's character in a way that is helping me take those lies captive. God is not malicious and does not contrive to break me. God is in the business of making things whole again. He loves me dearly! It's another growth goal this year to try to understand God better though Jesus and to live out a life that can be summed up in this quote:

In the Lord's Prayer when I pray, "Thy will be done," I can pray these words without fear or apprehension because I am convinced that my Abba is no threat to me, that he is the course of my life and fulfillment. 

I'm so thankful for the community that God has given me to help me think through these topics and that won't let me sit long in lies that I get caught up in!


Almost the whole gang! Missing one sister & her family.

 How to Pray this Month:

Keep FOCUS Growing Fundraiser: THANK YOU FOR GIVING! We almost reached our goal of $55,000 this year, coming in at $42,000! Wow! If you wanted to give, but didn't get the chance, you still can here

Winter Camp (Jan 13-16): This is next weekend and I'm so jazzed! Be praying for our students' hearts to be open to whatever the Lord has for them, for the staff as they prepare to speak, for health and safety as over 500 students travel for this weekend. 

Winter Welcome Week: We'll be reaching out to new students these first few weeks and providing several outreach opportunities. Be praying that incoming students get connected with a godly community, whether that's FOCUS or somewhere else.

My Mom's Health: Praise God she's stayed healthy through the holidays, even with grandbabies getting sick! Please keep her in your prayers as she explore some new possibilities. 

I'm so thankful for each of you. You're a blessing to me and a key instrument in building God's Kingdom in North Texas. Thank you!!
Students playing "Tumbleweeds" for our Texas-themed Christmas party!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Miriam's December Update

24 DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS!

Happy December first! I hope your Thanksgiving was restful and full of friends, family, and sooo muuuuch fooooood. As we move through these holidays, it's so much easier for me to be more aware of the many, MANY blessings I have in my life. God has richly blessed me in numerous ways, you and your support being one of them. Today, I'm thankful for you! 

So this is the REALLY BIG DEAL that I want to share with you this month: 

The Keep FOCUS Growing Annual Fundraiser has been kicked off! 



#next20

This is a fundraiser we do each year around this time that goes towards our general fund so that we can...keep growing! Our theme this year flows out of the Twenty Year Celebration back in October and reflecting on the last twenty years of ministry with FOCUS. Now we're looking ahead to the Next 20 years of campus ministry and what God might have in store for us to do then! 

One of our big goals in 2017 is to start a campus ministry at SMU and things are really rolling for that! 
There is an event in the works for next semester to pray for the start up of a new ministry there. We have gotten an amazing amount of positive feedback of students at our current campuses who have friends at SMU. They're excited to share with their friends the community and depth of growth they've experienced through FOCUS.  

Brandon Worsham, the FOCUS Director, shares more about this opportunity and the fundraiser in this video! 


I would love to ask each one of you to pray about giving to this special fundraiser this month. You can go to https://anyfocus.org/donate/next20/ for information and to give a gift! 

We can hit our $55,000 goal if: 
200 people give $10
200 people give $20
100 people give $50
30 people give $100
20 people give $300
25 people give $500
10 people give $750
5 people give $1,000
2 people give $2,500
1 person gives $5,000


A Little Piece of Good News

There's a girl that's been in the ministry for a couple years now that I've been praying for since she started coming around. Her first year, she was curious about God and the relationship the women in her core seemed to have with Him, but wasn't quite ready to explore what that might mean for her personally. She claimed to be an agnostic and turned down the opportunity for a peer to study the Bible with her a couple times. At the end of that year, her core got together and gave her a Bible that each of them had taken the time to underline favorite passages and write notes of encouragement to her in the margins. 

Enjoying some bunt cake with two of my peer team girls!
This year, I've seen her take that Bible to every single FOCUS event she's been to and it's not just being brought along...she uses it consistently! Half way through this last semester, she agreed to study the Bible with one of her core leaders! Half way through November, she said to her corefa "Well, of course Jesus is who He says He is...I believe the Bible true." 

You know when teenage girls get really excited, bouncy and squeaky? That's exactly what happened when her corefas told me about this massive leap forward! The three of us were chattering about how awesome God was to have worked this change in her heart, to let us get to be a little part of that, and thinking about what the future holds for this girl. I think it's so incredible that these are the kinds of things that thrill our student leaders!

This is the beginning of a totally new world for this girl! This is the kind of thing that makes me want to make sure FOCUS is present at other campuses in the next twenty years...not because FOCUS is oh, so cool, but because I really do believe God is working through FOCUS right now and blessing the efforts of everyone involved at each campus. I want to be able to offer more opportunities like this to others across the DFW metroplex. Don't you? 

Students worshipping at FNF



Prayer Requests

I'm so thankful for your prayers and I know that they're a huge way that the Lord works through you to impact these students for His Kingdom. Please be praying with me for these things over this next month:

  • The Keep FOCUS Growing Fundraiser: pray for generous hearts and that we meet our goal. We want to be able to say "yes" to anything God calls us to in 2017--including getting something started at SMU!

  • Winter Camp (January 13-16, 2017): pray for students to decide to come! This is a huge way for them to experience community and the Spirit tends to work in incredible ways over this weekend. 

  • My Mom's Health: We're hoping to spend New Years with my mom and all of my sisters, but in order for that to happen, she needs to stay healthy. Pray for good healthy through this month and then protection from any sickness we or the grandbabies might bring with us.

  • Our Students' Finals: This is a pretty stressful time of year for them. Pray for good time management, ample rest, and memory as they take their finals.


 
Happy 2nd Anniversary to me and Austin!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Miriam's November Update


This month was a doozy! We had a large event almost every weekend of October.

Twenty Year Celebration 

We kicked the month off with the Twenty Year Celebration! A lot of you in the DFW area got to come and I loved seeing you. Thank you for making it a priority! For those of you who couldn't come, know that it was a time that honored you as well. FOCUS would not be able to be growing and reaching out to all of these campuses if it was not for your support and prayers! 

It was so special to me to get to meet some of the "legends of FOCUS," the people who paved the way for this ministry to be established at each of the different campuses now. I loved getting to worship with friends from across the DFW and to hear what each one has been up to since graduating and moving away from Denton.   
The first core I was part of in 2010! Still friends!
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A Mountain of Chips! I transported FIFTEEN GALLONS of salsa and countless bags of chips in my tiny car for this event! 
Praise and Worship at the 20 Year Celebration 

Fall Camp

Our next big event was Fall Camp! I want to say first off, THANK YOU for all of your prayers! It was my first time coordinating such a big event and it went so well. Our main goals for the weekend were that the students would build deeper relationships with each other and encounter Jesus in a meaningful way. Both of those goals were accomplished! 
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Crafts at Free Time
One of the most encouraging things from camp for me this year was seeing some of the students who don't yet call Jesus Lord engaging in worship. They're curious about God and are interested in exploring more, but hesitant. I saw several conversations happening during and after worship where these students were being encouraged by other students to give God a shot. Some of these are students that I've been praying for over a year now. I know God wants to have a relationship with them and it's beautiful to see them allow themselves to be drawn closer through these events. Keep praying for them with me!

Fall Camp 2016
Worship on Saturday

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Core Girls
Fun and Games at Camp


Annual Leadership Conference 

Each year, we invite our student leaders and potential student leaders to an annual leadership conference hosted by the church. This year's theme was "The Inner Life of A Disciple." I don't have any pictures from this event, but it was something that was helpful and impactful to both our students and me. 

It was very encouraging and convicting to hear about the inner lives (particularly the devotional lives) of the people I look up to as leaders within our church. One thing that was particularly convicting to me was a phrase that someone said on a panel about devotional life. 
"We aren't consistent because we haven't found the value in it." 

I've been mulling that phrase over since then and I think it's true, at least in my life right now. How embarrassing to admit that as a campus minister. But it's really the only reason I've been able to pinpoint...I don't have a baby or a family to tend to...I make time for literally everything else that needs to be done, except maybe laundry...my schedule is full, but not THAT full.
I often fall into the immature mindset that I can do things on my own and that consistent time in God's Word isn't exactly necessary. What a lie. 

So that's an area I'm working on giving to God and asking Him to show me the value in my daily times with Him. I don't think I'm alone in this struggle...I would love your prayers and to pray for you, too, if you relate here! 

Let's end with some celebration pictures! 

Happy Baptism to Sam!
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Happy Baptism to Jacy!
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I love new marriages centered on Christ! Gives me hope for the future! Shout out to Bryan and Patricia!