This is seriously my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather (sandwiched between the typical Texas heat), the occasional drippy gray days, the colors, all of it!
September is such a transition month for both the staff and the new student leaders. We're all getting used to each other and building relationships. The students have huge opportunities in their classes to meet and engage with their classmates, which is always a potential, but is MUCH easier in those first few weeks. New cores are forming, finding rhythm with each other and developing vulnerability and friendship. It's a pretty sweet time!
These are the corefas I'm mentoring this year and they are the cat's pajamas!
Hannah & Reagann (front seat) & the UniCOREns (backseat)
Reagann is a senior studying Chemistry. This is her second year as a corefa. It's been pretty cool watching her "grow up" these last few years, as her freshman year was my intern year with FOCUS. I've gotten to see her learn how to push out of her comfort zone of being an introvert to really love people well. She's someone who makes others feel cared for and valuable to her. I'm excited to get to know her better this year.
Hannah is a junior studying Media Arts and Advertising. I'm amazed at this girl's creativity in SO many areas! This is her first year as a corefa, so she's learning how to juggle a lot of things on her plate. She's already grown so much in time management and I think this next year will really help her grow that much more in learning healthy balance. Something I've really enjoyed about meeting with Hannah so far is that she's very thoughtful in her interactions with people and wants to learn how to best show Christ, no matter who she's with.
Sarah (far left) and Elena (middle) with their core.
This is my second year getting to mentor Sarah and Elena as corefas, which is such a treat!
Sarah is an Environmental Science major in her senior year. She's a passionate, straight forward, obsessed with nature kind of person! I've really loved getting to meet with Sarah again this year and to continue growing our relationship. I'm thankful for her honesty and willingness to be open about hard things, her persistence and passion for people, and her desire to keep growing as a disciple.
Elena is a senior studying Integrative Studies with concentrations in Biology, Psychology and Human Development And Family Science. (What a mouthful!) She's such a light hearted, loving person who is really grappling with her natural tendencies to become more like Christ. Something I appreciate about Elena is that although she strongly dislikes conflict, she's still willing to have hard conversations, ask tough questions and be honest about things in her life.
Sierra (green shirt) & Katie (grey hoodie) with their core.
Katie is a senior studying Creative Writing and Media Arts. She was a corefa the year before last, but knew she was going to have a hectic junior year, so she didn't lead last year. I love having Katie on my team again this year! She's someone who is so thoughtful in her interactions with others and is really striving to grow in her relationship with God and how she relates to others because of that.
Sierra is a junior studying Human Development and Family Science. This is her first year as a corefa and is the "youngest" Christian in my peer team this year, having been committed to Jesus for a little over a year now. That freshness has been so exciting to work with - she has great questions and perspectives! I'm really enjoying getting to know her and to see how the Lord is growing her. She's been a go-getter already in pursuing people for Jesus!
So those are the women I'm spending the most of my time with this school year. I love how diverse this group is (ethnicity, backgrounds, interests, major, etc!). Keep us in your prayers as we continue getting to know each other - for the Spirit to really grow us as friends and for each of us to be molded to look more like Jesus through our time together.
Fall Camp 2017
|Denton Fall Camp 2017 (UNT, TWU & NCTC)|
Fall Camp came early this year, with the hope that new students would develop deeper friendships and catch a vision for community earlier in the year. It was a special 24 hours of worshipping, playing and praying together. It was fun to see people come out of their shells and start friendships outside of the people they knew from core!
One thing I really loved about this weekend was hearing from Jamiann Worsham and Brianna Marble on Sunday. They were two students who transferred to UNT from Collin College and the FOCUS ministry there. Their first year at UNT was so hard, but through it, God gave them a vision for building a FOCUS community there, which He sure did!
It was so encouraging to hear how God used two juniors to recognize a need and then to get the ball rolling to start things at UNT. From there, the TWU and NCTC ministries were planted - opening possibilities of meeting and ministering to over 60,000 students in Denton alone. WOW!
|Campin' in Cabins!|
I also got to have a really neat conversation with a girl at Fall Camp. She's revisiting the idea of following God after several years of highschool rebellion. She wanted to talk and pray about trying to understand God better, which opened such a sweet conversation. There was so much about her story that made it apparent that the Spirit was calling her back into relationship - she keeps coming to FOCUS events & says she feels something different in the people...she came to Fall Camp even though her cousin (who has been inviting her to things) couldn't come...she sought me out to talk and pray. She's so hungry for truth! Please be praying for her as she explores. Pray against distractions and fear about giving God another try.
Things to Pray About
- A PRAISE! Do you remember the student, Selvent, who collapsed at a Summer FOCUS event and then spent several months in the hospital two summers ago? I have an update about him! He's actually doing really well. His mom brought him home and has been doing intensive therapy with him. He's walking and talking again, he remembers things and can carry on a decent conversation, which is just incredible. Praise God for his recovery!! Thank you for your consistent prayers for him.
- Outreach on Campus: We've been heating up outreach on each campus, starting with monthly personal challenges (like asking a classmate to coffee) and our first official event since Welcome Week is in two weeks! Pray for our students to develop a lifestyle of outreach, not just a mindset of weekly events being "outreach."
- What's Next: This year is my last one on this contract with FOCUS. When I made the three year commitment, three years seemed like a good long while and would end at a place where Austin and I would be considering starting our family soon. So I'm in the process of praying through what the Lord would lead me to do next - to continue in campus ministry or something else - and I would love your prayers!
This is a testimony from one of the students at UTA. I think it's so neat to hear how the Lord is moving on the other campuses that FOCUS is on!
Thank you for your continued prayers, support and friendship in my life. I'm so grateful for you!