Monthly Ministry Update


 

The Beginning

Hi friends and family! Welcome to my ministry blog! August arrived marking the start of my apprenticeship with FOCUS! Although only a few weeks have gone by, it has already been full of exciting events and sweet moments of communion with God. I have often been left teary eyed as gratitude has swelled in me for this opportunity to spend the next 10 months serving college students and building a deeper foundational understanding of scripture. I am so thrilled to share how God is already at work and how your partnership is building up the Kingdom of Heaven at Collin College.

Hitting the Ground Running

The apprenticeship officially started July 31st and we hit the ground running! The first week consisted of the team of apprentices gathering together to start our graduate level course of the introduction to the Old Testament. Over the course of the first few days, we read through the first five books of the Hebrew Scripture (AKA the Pentateuch), listening to lectures, and participating in group discussions. Reading these books have been so humbling, but it has also been such a joy as we get to mediate on God's character and his relationship with humanity (spoiler alert - he is deeply committed to his creation and is abounding in compassion). 

This is the apprentice crew for the 2023-2024 school year! The 10 of us get to serve 
college students at the following campuses: UT Dallas, University of North Texas, and 
Collin College (Plano, Frisco, and Wylie). 


Staff Retreat 

Each semester, all the FOCUS staff members gather together for a four day retreat to refresh before the start of the school season starts. During this retreat, we looked at Jesus's temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). We reflected on the three temptations that Jesus was faced with and that Christian leaders continue to be faced with: the temptation to be relevant, to be impressive, and to be powerful. In addition to this scripture, we also renewed our perspective on the vision, method, and purpose of campus ministry. The vision is making and maturing disciples on college campuses. The ways and means are love and self-sacrifice. The purpose is to make Jesus known. The retreat also provided the time to be in nature, play pickleball for the first time, meet and befriend different campus ministers, and have meaningful team bonding sessions with the Collin team. Needless to say, spending four days with people who have given themselves to the mission of God for college students, mediating on Scripture, spending time alone with God in prayer, and praising God in his creation, was life-giving and encouraging and felt like fuel for the events to come! 



Our FOCUS staff picture. I am so honored to serve alongside such Kingdom-devoted individuals! 

The Collin College Team 

In addition to the staff, FOCUS invites students to participate in ministry by asking them to join as core facilitators (small group leaders). This year's team has dedicated to serve in addition to their busy work and school schedules as they pour into the lives of their peers. This community desires to make disciples who make disciples. Without their help, this is mission couldn't be fulfilled. These students love the Lord and love others and it is a beautiful picture of the power of the gospel lived out. 


Collin staff and Core Facilitators at our Prep Day! 

Thursday Night Fellowship

Each Thursday night our students come together for a night of worship, a time of biblical teaching, and participation in fellowship events. During the first week of classes, our team went on the Collin campuses to welcome students and to also invite them into community. For our first Thursday Night Fellowship (TNF) the Lord proved to be so faithful to bring more students than we had chairs for! It was such a sweet thing to see so many young students respond to God's love! 


The students packed out the Cougar Cafeteria. 



Closing Thoughts, Prayers, and Thanksgiving 

It has been such a kind grace to get to jump into campus ministry full time. I knew this was a labor of love while I was a student, but the last two weeks have allowed me to see even more clearly how significant partnership is. Thank you again so very much for your prayer and support! I have had many moments of utter gratitude as I reflected on the incredible generosity of God's people. In addition to your financial partnership, I would be deeply grateful for prayers over the following:
  • The student leaders - Being a student leader is a commitment of self-sacrifice rooted in love. It can be busy for students to juggle reaching out to their peers, inviting them to events, planning their small groups, attending classes, and some of them even working a job on top of this as well. 
  • New and returning students - during our week of outreach, I met many students that expressed how they had been praying and looking for community. Please be praying that the Spirit would work in the lives of these young adults and lead them to himself. Additionally, please pray for students who don't yet know who Jesus is. May their hearts also be softened to hearing the gospel. 
  • My fundraising - As I mentioned above, I have gotten to experience the generosity of God through his people during the fundraising process. I am deeply grateful to have been able to fundraise 88% of my salary for the year (praising God for this provision)! As the semester goes on, I deeply appreciate prayers that He'd help me to be fully fundraised. 
Again, thank you so much for joining into this mission! Please also know that I am praying for each of you who read these words. I am praying that the peace of God may rule in your hearts in every circumstance. 

Yours in Christ, 

Tania 



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