So last time, I left you with an invitation to give to the annual Keep FOCUS Growing fundraiser. That end of the year fundraiser is so important - there are a lot of administrative costs to keep an organization as large as FOCUS running smoothly, not to mention having the financial capabilities to move when the Lord says "Go to a new campus"! This fundraiser gives us the freedom to do just that.
This year's fundraiser was met with all kinds of incredible blessings!
1. Facebook waived all processing fees for any gift given to a non-profit organization. Those little fees can really add up and take a chunk out of a total!
2. Facebook, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a generous anonymous donor matched over $10,000 in gifts given!
3. We raised not only our goal of $50,000, but went OVER our goal!
4. We were able to end the fundraiser sooner than we had originally planned, which meant all of our staff members could completely enjoy their holiday break without continued work in this area!
I want to say a particular thank you to each of you who gave this year. God has deeply blessed this ministry through you. Just think about the hundreds of students who will be impacted for His Glory this next semester, and the ripple effect from there! How awesome to get to be part of that. Thank you for being obedient and generous!!
A Leave of Absence
My December was an interesting one. Coming back after Thanksgiving, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety, fear and depression regarding my mom's health. She was actually doing relatively ok, but the potential for treatment was looming and I was terrified of those implications.
I talked with my supervisors and they determined that since we were in the last week of school and our students were moving into a month long break, I could take an extended leave of absence to go be with her. That was such an incredible blessing to me. I have not had that long of a period of time at home with my mom since I was in high school!
It was a sweet time together and I had a lot of time for quiet reflection on the last year. God really worked in my heart throughout those two weeks to show me how anxious I've been lately. I don't tend to slow down enough to acknowledge how I'm really doing and to let Him soothe my heart. But my body knows and has been trying to tell me! I've had to stop drinking coffee because it makes my heart fluttery and my hair has been thinning all this last year.
We read Romans 8 this morning in our staff meeting and verse six really spoke to me: The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
It makes me think of John 10:10, where Jesus talks about how "The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that they may have life, life to the fullest!" That's something I've reflected on often with the girls I'm ministering to but had not yet taken the time to digest it and apply it to myself. The anxiety I've been experiencing is not "life to the fullest." It reeks of death. One of my teammates commented on the Romans verse "How good of God that he wants us to experience peace and life every day, through every situation. Not just some times or in certain situations."
My mom's situation hasn't changed. She's still fighting a disease that doesn't offer much hope. But God does offer both hope and peace. I'm thankful for God reminding me of that during my leave of absence. I'm hoping to really put these reflections and insights into practice this next year, whatever it may bring.
Also, what a kind, compassionate team I have the privilege of working with to allow me that time! I am very blessed.
|Denton Team - Ready for the Christmas Party!|
January Student Testimony
"FOCUS showed me what a real relationship with God is. Coming from a Christian private school, I thought I understood God pretty well, but I didn't have a relationship with Him at all. Through the example of my Corefas, staff members, and just so many other students, I saw what it means to earnestly seek God. One of my favorite moments from freshman year was a talk with my friend, Pedro. We were good friends at this point in the year, and I had become pretty vulnerable with him. We got into a serious conversation about our current walks with God, what that looks like, and why/ After poorly answering how my relationship with God was "pretty good," Pedro really pushed my ideas of why I was a Christian. I ended up realizing most of my faith was blindly following the laws God had given us, and not really seeking Him out. Pedro then opened up to me that he had struggled with the same problem early on in his faith. I'm beyond thankful for Pedro and so many other friends like him who have spurred me on in love. Before FOCUS, this community, I was living half the life I am now. Now, I am living life with God, not just for Him."
- Winter Camp is this weekend! Please be praying that our students would radically encounter Jesus this weekend! Please pray that deep friendships would be solidified and that our staff would have the stamina to minister to students this weekend.
- Please pray that our students would be outreaching int their classes and purposeful in their friendships this semester!