Sunday, June 4, 2017

June Update

So many things happened this month! We've successfully wrapped up another year. Three of the girls in my peer team graduated and I couldn't be more proud of them. I want to share a little bit about each of them, because these are the kinds of people you're investing in through this ministry! I also asked them to share their biggest takeaway from this year and how they think having been a corefa will affect this next chapter of their lives.

Krystin


Krystin just graduated with a degree in Speech Pathology. She's pursuing her Masters degree in Speech Pathology at UNT, so we get to keep her for another year! She's transitioning out of FOCUS and will be investing more in the Denton North Church adult ministry. 

I've just been so wowed by Krystin this year. She's someone who cares deeply about her schooling and becoming a leader was truly a sacrifice in her preference of how much time she wanted to spend on getting the grades she wanted. I remember having a conversation with her last summer about how if she decided to become a corefa, it would need to be a whole-hearted commitment and would require a lot of her. She decided this was the direction God was leading her, even though she was hesitant about it. 

She rocked it. It was so cool to watch her consciously shift her priorities from school being number one, to loving God and people being number one. She grew so much in her vulnerability, really allowing the women on our peer team to see her heart and to know her struggles so they could walk with her. Each week our peer team met, I really looked forward to hearing what her thoughts were on whatever we were talking about. This is a woman of depth and wisdom, who is growing in confidence and boldness.  I'm so excited to see her continue to grow in the likeness of Christ and how she will share that experience with the others in this next phase of life. 

My biggest takeaway is realizing the importance of having a community that I can be open and vulnerable with in general and also during difficult times. Being a leader allowed me to realize the importance of being vulnerable with my friends and community and I can carry this with me into the adult small group at DNC, my current friendships, the new friendships I will make with my classmates in grad school, and other relationships in the future.
-Krystin

Darby

Darby's just graduated with a degree in Interior Design and will begin her Big Girl Job on June 5th! She's also staying involved at Denton North Church, which I'm so thankful for! 

I've gotten to mentor Darby for two years in a row now and what a ridiculous blessing that has been. I've gotten to watch her develop from a new leader who was unsure of how to plan a study or have a hard conversation, to someone is sensitive to how the Spirit is leading her to plan for her studies and who is bold, yet loving in difficult situations! I'm just amazed at her ability to take a full load of super work intensive classes, yet to manage her time in a way that makes space for others consistently. 

She's been such a good friend to me and the other girls she's gotten to minister to this year. I'm excited for her to move into the work world, because good, godly friends like Darby are priceless and there's a severe lack of true friendship in the the competitive design world. 

One of my biggest takeaways from this year was simply that God uses people. I would not have made it through this year with interning at a design firm in Dallas 3 days a week, working on my senior project (as well as other classes), and corefa-ing without the people who surrounded me, challenged me, supported me, encouraged me and reflected Christ. God uses people to build His Kingdom and minister to His people and that's just super neat and humbling.

Being a leader this past year has definitely prepared me for the next chapter of my life. I had to balance a lot this year but I realized I can handle difficult things and still find peace in the chaos that life brings sometimes. It also taught me to seek God in the little things everyday and not just the emotion-filled, neon sign moments. He's working everywhere and in everything. Realizing that has encouraged me that even as I step into the design field as a full-time designer, God is still working in me and around me, and I am still a part of building His Kingdom.
- Darby

Hayli

Hayli is graduating from UNT with a degree in Integrative Studies. She's also pursuing her Masters at UNT in Counseling, but will be getting married in July and moving to Arlington first. She will be commuting to UNT for classes and will be investing in the UTArlington ministry. I'm going to miss her dreadfully! 

Gosh, Hayli was pretty intimidating to me when we first starting meeting. She's just one of those Super Cool people - so talented in multiple ways, so charming, deep thinker, the whole package! But as we continued to meet up each week and began to deepen the tiny existing friendship we had, I was so struck by how loving she was. Even though vulnerability and trust were things she was hesitant to readily offer, she was determined to grow in both of those aspects this year. She was intentional in relating with both me and her cofa, Elena, and made both of us feel like a loved part of her life. She didn't keep us on the edges, but welcomed us into her life in such a sweet way. 

Hayli and Elena are SO different, but they balanced and challenged each other in a way that deepened their friendship with each other and their relationships with the Lord. I've really admired the amount of patience she has shown in doing ministry in difficult situations. She's been so fierce in pursuing personal growth so that she can be a whole, healthy woman of God. She and Austin have set such a good example of what it looks like to date in a way that honors and pleases the Lord. Austin is on staff with FOCUS at UTA and I'm confident that they will be such a blessing to that team and ministry as a married couple. 

Honestly, my biggest take away from the year is that the inner life of a believer is the most important thing, regardless of whether or not you're a leader, because everything we do means nothing if we're spiritually running on empty. People don't need me. They need the gospel, and Jesus, and to be radically loved, which I am pretty bad at doing if I'm not in the word and spending time with the Lord.

 Being a leader this year equipped me with so many skills on how to make disciples. But, if I had to pick one that will really positively effect my life during this next season of transitioning to a new community, getting married, moving, etc., I would say that learning how to practically initiate friendships is the most helpful and will be the most useful. I'm so thankful that I was given tools to use to make people feel comfortable, get to know people, be initiating, etc. I know when I move I will be using so many skills I learned as a corefa to plant roots somewhere new.
-Hayli

These are just three of the ten women that were on my peer team this last year. Each one of them has grown in their walk with the Lord and in not only being well equipped, but seeing it as their responsibility as a disciple, to go out to make and mature other disciples in whatever their frame of life. Meeting with them and being part of that journey each week is such a highlight in my job! 


Student Institute of Campus Ministry

This was the other big part of May! We took around 100 college students to Bellingham, Washington for an intensive, week long class on how to be a minister to their campuses. I got to sit in on the majority of the classes with the students this year! It was so good to have a refresher of why/how we do what we do. I loved getting to see light bulbs come on as the students listened and recognized the tactics their Corefas had put into practice this last year, like crafting good questions, doing outreach on campus and building intentional relationships like Jesus did. 

Some of the women staff!

It's been really cool being back and getting to talk with the students who went this year. I love asking them what their biggest takeaway was from the week and how they plan on applying what they learned this next year. Here are some of their answers:

I learned how to build and develop spiritual friendships, how to facilitate and encourage spiritual conversations. I also enjoyed the relationships I developed with my roommates and getting to spend time with the staff members who went. - Isreal 

My biggest takeaway from SICM is to be purposeful in everything that God is leading me into, whether it is academics, career, campus ministry or just even friendships that area created along the way. - Divine

Layover in San Francisco
The biggest takeaway from SICM for me is that discipling others is not only important, it is our mission as Christians. This really allowed me to see God's bigger picture, and take the focus off myself. Remembering this allows me to be bolder and more vocal about my faith, and gives me a new passion for the Bible in order to soak in every part of God's Word so I can share it with those around me. - Morgan

I got to experience that God calls me to be faithful before He calls me to anything else. So in the moments where I may not see/understand/feel/think that He is there, I am still to be faithful, because He always has been faithful. - Tony

God broke down barriers I've been selfishly keeping up out of fear and pride. He taught me that I am truly worthy of His grace and the strength He gives me. The love I was shown this week helped me realize that I don't have to be perfect in order to be a leader, I just have to keep my eyes focused on God. -Emma

Lunch on the "Stairs to Nowhere"

It's so encouraging to hear their answers and to know that this is our next generation of leaders in Denton! One of the statistics we heard at SICM was that three out of four college students who were raised in church leave the church during their college years. This broke my heart and is a statistic that we are trying so hard to fight. Seeing the amount of students in that room who were willing to give up their first week and a half of summer and pay around $750 to sit in lecture classes from 9am-5pm gave me such hope! God is still raising up people to bring His Kingdom to the college campuses! That's such good news. 
Worship on the last day
Lunch at the Market
A different view of Bellingham

Ways to Pray

Thank you for your consistency in lifting me and this ministry up in prayer. It's such a blessing and a comfort to me. Here are some ways this month to be praying!
  • Health: There are several people in my life that I dearly love that area dealing with very difficult health problems, particularly the recurrence of cancer in my mom and Austin's aunt. Pray against depression as they continue to face these battles, direction as they figure out treatment and for complete healing!
  • Fundraising: This season is chugging along and I'm really proud of the work our apprentices have been doing! God has been answering prayers left and right for them! Please pray for continued motivation in seeking our ministry partners and generous responses to our requests. Pray for courage and against lies that can begin to creep in to discourage us. For me personally, I've had some changes on my team and am working to reach out to some new partners this summer. Please pray for all of us to be at 100% by August 1st! 
  • Summer Orientations: These started today at UNT! Please be praying for our students as they run our organization booth to be bold in making those initial contacts with freshman and transfer students. Pray for new students to be open to joining a Christian community and learning more about God!