May Ministry Update

 

Reflection and Renewal

Hello, Friends! I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying the end of this Spring Season! This month has been bursting to the seems of God's goodness. It's been a month full of reflections, celebrations and renewal. I remember preparing to write my first blog at the start of the apprenticeship and being so uncertain of how the year would go, but as I consider the last 10 months, I have to grin a goofy grin because God has been so kind, your generosity has been so felt, and students have been so transformed! Your steadfast support and investment in the lives of college students to know God and experience authentic friendships have been such a blessing - thank you! 


Sabbath Retreat


Our staff is required to take a half-day Sabbath retreat each semester. The bustle of this second semester really got to me and I waited until nearly the last minute to plan. I was able to take a Friday morning to be with Jesus in one of my favorite settings : nature! My favorite moment of the retreat came as a surprise. I was hiking near Grapevine lake when I heard a noise. As I looked onto the lake, there was rain clouds pouring out everything. I had planned my day to hike, hammock, and read, but instead I found myself sheltering under some trees and using my hammock as a make-shift poncho. Though the day didn't go as planned, God taught me that even there, in the midst of the storm, He was near and His peace was felt. I hope to cling to this lesson in future storms and remember that He doesn't leave or forsake me. 


End of Year Festivities 

As May rolled along so did the festivities. My small group celebrated the year with two weeks of encouragement discussions where we went around sharing how we've seen the Lord move in one another's lives and call each other to continue in pursuing Jesus in specific ways. Being with these young women this year has been such a gift. Their consistency, love for God and each other, and desire to study and be transformed by scripture really ministered to my own heart.  We also had a fun end of year party with all of our students that was pirate themed. It was so great to celebrate God's faithfulness and to honor our student leaders who led small groups and Bible studies with their peers this year. One of my favorite moments in May was a worship and prayer night that some of our students from different campuses (UTA, UNT, UTD, Collin) put together. During the night, there was a time for people to share what God has taught them this year. Here are what some students shared: 

"I learned this year that God's conviction is not his condemnation." 

"God's plans are higher than our own. He has great things in store for us. Sometimes the blessing isn't always for us but where we get to bless others."

"I experienced  what healthy women friendships look like."

"Not to settle for anything less than him."

"I learned to allow God's voice to tell me who I am and to believe him."

Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM)




This month, FOCUS sent our largest group of students (150) to a student leadership training conference in Bellingham, Washington. It was such an impactful experience for students. In addition to starting days off with worship,  students heard talks on themes such as spiritual friendships, how to lead a small group, evangelism, the impact of ministering to international students, spiritual gifts, and so much more! I am so grateful to have gotten to go alongside three students from my small group. I want to share some reflections students had: 

"Christianity is one generation away from extinction which is why those who are in Christ have to take seriously the command to spread the gospel. No one is excluded from the Good News because Jesus didn’t exclude anyone during His ministry on earth. God really showed up this week through the friendship I formed, the scripture we studied, and the gospel conversations we had." - Elaina 

"What has the Lord taught me on this trip..? Lots of things actually, I learned the beauty of real intentional relationships, how to grow in my own personal relationship with Christ, and how to disciple as well as lead like Jesus did!! I’m so thankful for this incredible opportunity to experience the mutual love for Jesus with my fellow college friends! God is so good in blessing me with this community and I will thank him every single day!! He’s so amazing and he knows the desires of our hearts and sees them!!" - Audrey

"SICM was such an amazing learning opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and to friends. God truly is in everything, big and small. There is no joy like the joy that the Lord provides. " -Kayley

What's amazing is that next year we hope and pray that a whole new group of students will get to go to SICM because of how THIS group chooses to respond to the call to be missionaries to their classmates. This is what your partnership in ministry does! So thank you again for planting into this! 

Looking Ahead 

Now that the school year has ended, the summer gets to be a time of slowing, resting and support-raising! The Lord has been moving in the lives of students like Kayley, Audrey, and Elaina, and I am so excited to continue joining in where He’s working over the summer and the new semester ahead! 

To get to do this next year, I am inviting people to partner with me just as you have done this year! Your partnership through prayers and financial giving has helped make this fruitful year possible. In looking ahead, I am currently $1,000 a month from my fundraising goal for the next year. I want to ask if you would prayerfully consider helping me reach my goal by increasing your giving $50 a month. Some non financial ways to help include continued prayer that God would provide and referrals. If you know someone who has a love for college students getting to know Jesus, I would be so so happy to connect with them and share what God is doing at Collin! 

Thank you again for all your love and support! 

Grace and Peace in Christ, 

Tania 





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