Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Update

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.  

-Psalm 107:1

This verse summarizes how I've felt over the course of the last month. Since being back from my leave of absence to be with my mom, I have been so thankful for where the Lord has placed me. I have a lot of peace about my mom's illness. I'm so glad to be back and working with my students and teammates again. I'm so much more appreciative of my church and ministry family. My life is not without it's sadnesses, trials and frustrations, but God has been so good to me all throughout the last months and has provided for me and my loved ones in very sweet ways. How kind of him.
Thank you for your continued prayers for me and my family!

Winter Camp

Winter Camp was the BIG DEAL of this last month! We took close to 600 students from all 11 of our campus ministries out to Sky Ranch for a long weekend before school started back up. Every year, this is such a fun time to be all together and to hear a word from the Lord in a place removed from the stress and busyness of life. 

We invited Geoff and Jessica Mumley, who are campus pastors with the student ministry we partner with in Washington (you know, where we send students for SICM), to come speak on the topic of "being sent." One of the phrases from the sermons that has really seemed to stick with our students (and with me!) is "Who told you that?" I've heard our students use this question multiple times over the last two weeks to call out lies their peers are believing, insecurities and fears they have allowed to fester, and to think through misunderstandings they have about God. Already it has been a helpful tool in my ministry with seekers who have misconceptions about who God and Christians are - "Who told you God is like that?" - and then getting to redirect them to Biblical truth! 
Waiting for the session to start!

In addition to getting our students excited about being Sent as disciples, God answered so many prayers over the course of the weekend! Students that had originally said "No" to coming to camp changed their minds and had significant encounters with God. Friendships were solidified in cores that will really allow them to get deeper over the course of this next semester. One student was baptized at camp! Another student decided to get off the fence and allow Jesus to be Lord of her life! I'm thankful to get to be part of this weekend and to see how God continues to work in these students' lives over the course of the rest of the year. 

This is a video one of our students at UT Arlington made from the weekend! It gives you a glimpse of the fun, fellowship and worship that took place over the weekend! 

The dance party at Winter Camp is one of my favorite things. A student commented that she's never felt so free to cut up and be herself before without alcohol. I love that this community is teaching students you don't need drugs or alcohol to have a good time. 

My friends and coworkers, Brandon and Sarah, got engaged at camp! The students went craaaaaaazy! 

Thank you for your prayers for Winter Camp! It's our largest event of the year and it went so smoothly. But more important than that, students encountered God and were changed. Praise God!

Student Testimony

This month's student testimony is so exciting to me, because it's from a student at our newest campus, SMU! God has been so faithful in building that campus and working in the new students' lives. Look at the changes already in just one semester! 

Candice Fudzie
Southern Methodist University
Math, Environmental Engineering, and Sociology
"This past semester, I was a 17-year-old girl who felt very overwhelmed with all that college had to offer. I deal with depression and anxiety. Throughout high school, these disorders tore me apart and made it extremely easy to block out my friends, my family, and God. I was going down a destructive path and, frankly, it’s by the grace and love of God that I am even alive. FOCUS has given me a community where I’m allowed to be vulnerable and transparent. FOCUS has helped me emphasize my personal relationship with God; now I’m sure to let him know how I’m feeling (something I couldn’t accomplish in high school). Due to my growing relationship with God, I’ve been able to see a clear and healthy path towards dealing with my depression and anxiety where He is a part of my journey. PRAISE God! Whether it's lying on the floor listening to “Build My Life” by Housefires, writing out my negative thoughts and turning them into positive ones, or calling my mom to tell her how I’m feeling, I remember the Spirit is with me to give me strength."

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