Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy 2016!

He who was seated on the throne said, 

"I am making everything new!"

- Revelation 21:5

I love the start of a new year! It's just one of the many new beginnings we get throughout our lives. New chances to make goals for the's a great time to reflect on the past year and everything that has happened...and usually spend quality time with family or friends that I cherish. What a good idea to give us a reboot every 365 days, God! 

So let's catch up on December, shall we? 

Christmas Party

Peer Team Girls
Every year we end the fall semester with a Christmas Party! This year's theme was "A Very Denton Christmas," which was so much fun. While I could go on and on about how the decorations were so classy or how hipster and cool everyone looked, there were two things that really stood out to me about this party. 

One was the generosity of a family that Matt Clark (our campus director) knew. They were willing to open their beautiful home to about 200 students to celebrate Christmas together. Normally, we meet on campus, or in a local rec center, but to get to have this Christmas party in a home was so warm and sweet. What a spectacular example of hospitality and generosity!

Denton Staff #toocooltosmile
The other thing was that Kelly Schlitz (one of my coworkers here at UNT) read the entire Christmas story out loud for our devotional time. She started at the very beginnig with some prophecies in Isaiah and ended with Jesus growing in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. 
Sometimes this story becomes too familiar to me...shepherds, wisemen, cows and stars...I remember all that from last time! But this time, I knew there was at least one girl in the crowd listening that is part of one of my peer team girl's core and knows next to nothing about Christianity. For her, that was the very first time she had every heard the Christmas story! 

A Very Denton Christmas
How precious this story becomes when I think about how she must have felt hearing it for the first time! How weird that God would choose to send His only Son to a messed up world as an insignificant infant. How amazing that the heavens celebrated His birth and that lowly shepherds were some of the first to be told that He was here! 
I pray that this story touched her heart and that she will know and experience Jesus for herself one day. And I pray that I don't lose the wonder of this story, no matter how many times I may hear or read it.

Intern Sermons

Eight of our fourteen interns
As you may know, we have fourteen interns spread throughout the eight college campuses this year. We have one intern, Aaron Hollingsworth in Denton and he is such a blessing!

To finish up their first semester of the internship, each one was to give a 20-30 minute sermon titled "My Gospel." I wish I had recordings to direct you to each of their sermons so you could be as impacted as I was through them!

It is amazing to me how God works in individual lives. Each of these fourteen people have next to nothing in common regarding life or their spiritual journeys, except that God clearly has their hearts. I love getting to see those hearts, generously and vulnerably exposed, as they told their stories and did their best to minister to us. Each of them was impactful not because they were the most brilliant speaker (although each of them did a stellar job!), but because they shared what the good news meant to them brought glory to God.

At Last!!

Austin's Family
Austin graduated from UNT this December! He now has his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences. I'm so proud of him for sticking it out and finishing well.

Please be praying for him as he searches for a full time job! 


And now for all the traveling...

Starting December 18th, Austin and I were out of town for the rest of the break! I'm extremely thankful for a job that allows me to have that kind of time off and to be able to spend it with family, but my goodness it was a lot of driving! I think by the end of all my journeys this break I had spent upwards of 52 hours in the car. Whew! 

Hiking with the family
We spent the first part of the break with Austin's family in Sedona, Arizona. What a beautiful place! We hiked through mountains, window shopped on the main street, cooked dinner for each other each evening, and played tons of board games! It was a sweet and restful time. 

Before actually visiting, whenever I thought of Arizona, I would envision a dead, desert like place. But it's incredibly beautiful and full of life! I love getting to see the different places God has created and to experience just another hint of His creativity! Way to go, God!    

After Arizona, we had a day of unplanned for time in Denton due to all of the storms and tornadoes that rolled through!
Congrats, Moriah and Tye!
We were supposed to pick my sister, Moriah and her new fiance, Tye, up from the airport and ended up spending about an hour and a half in one of the storm shelter halls because of impending tornadoes. That was quite an experience!

Please continue to keep the people who were in the Garland and Rowlett areas in your prayers as they put their lives back together again. A lot of people lost their homes and several lost loved ones in the storms.

The next day, we set out for Kansas, braving wind, sleet and snow! We joined all of my family at my Mom's house, which was such precious time! It had been FOUR YEARS since all five of us sisters had been together for any amount of quality time! 

Just the Girls!
I just want to thank each of you for your prayers for my Mom this year. This was such a tough year, but God is good and faithful. Mom was declared in remission back in November and has been slowly getting used to the amazing fact that she is on the way to being well again! I would ask you to please continue to pray for her health, but I know your prayers are part of the reason why she had enough health and strength to host the whole family in her home for the New Year!

What a good looking family!

What's Coming Up!

We're about to start the semester back up!  Here are some things to be praying about:

Our leaders will be back this Sunday for a training class...please pray for safe travels and attentive minds as we prepare for this next semester of ministry with them

Winter Camp is January 15-18...please pray for our speaker, Rikk Watts, as he prepares to minister to our students, for the students to have open hearts to hear God's Word, and for the staff as we make last minute preparations.