Settling In... Again.
While the beginning of school is always exciting, I always love it once things really get under way. We are about a month and a half into this school year now, and I'm really starting to see more clearly all the cool things God is doing on these campuses. As always, thank you for being a part of that and letting me do what I do. FOCUS has been talking about gratitude a lot lately, and so I've been reflecting on how incredibly lucky I am to do what I do. So thank you so much for making that possible. I really can't express how thankful I am for the generosity of the people on my support team.
The Denton Community
I feel like I'm really settling into this FOCUS community up in Denton now. As a result, I think I am getting a better feel for the students and what they are like. They are all so passionate, committed to the Lord and to loving Him and each other well, they feel things deeply and all seem to really be trying to find their identities in Christ while at the same time wrestling with all the things the world tells them they should be. They remind me of why I do college ministry. College is such a tumultuous time for so many students, they are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe, while at the same time learning to balance the responsibilities of life outside of living with your parents. So much change happens during these years, and it happens fast. I've already been a witness to a ton of life change in people just in this month and a half, and it is so exciting.
Most of the life change I've seen is because of how much one on one ministry I get to do now. I meet up with a lot of students each week in a one on one setting. I'll just pick two stories to share from that. One is the story of a friend we'll call Bob. Bob came to college not really knowing what he believed about Jesus, or religion in general. He grew up being bullied and socially outcast because of his autism. But when he came to UNT, he was quickly befriended by some students in FOCUS, and joined a small group. That was a year ago, now I get the privilege of having Bob in my small group, and doing a one on one bible study with him each week. Bob always comes with so many amazing questions about faith, and is so eager to learn more about Christianity. That alone is such a blessing, but the cherry on top is that Bob constantly talks about how his life was changed when he found FOCUS and the friends he has met here. He is experiencing friendship and love in a way that he says he has never experienced before.
The second story is one of a guy we'll call John. John didn't grow up Christian, but became a follower of Jesus in college during his time in FOCUS. John has always struggled with a large desire to fulfill himself with worldly things. He eventually started to mask the pain he has gone through with alcohol and sex. But recently I got to see a great shift in John. He realized that instead of finding comfort in the Lord, he was trying to create it for himself, and with things that actually ended up hurting him. Since then he has developed multiple points of accountability in his life to help him get over these bad habits he created, and he has been diving into his relationship with Christ more heavily than ever. His story really isn't that uncommon in college, but it is so encouraging to see him turning his life back around.
I could honestly write a whole blog post about fall camp, but I'll settle for a short sum up. Denton's Fall Camp went so great. This is a time where we spend 24hrs with our students at a camp where they can dive deep into a topic (this year was community), and make a ton of friends and have fun together. I think the best way to sum it up is with what a girl said during our community sharing time, she said "Today has been the best day I've had in months." Talk about God moving in big ways.
Pray for those two students I mentioned. Both of them have made great progress but are in a lot of ways still in the midst of their struggles.
Pray for our upcoming yearly fundraiser. We're facing a deficit of around $70,000 this year that we hope to make up.
Pray for our community up here to have grateful hearts and to really see their identity coming from Jesus and not the world.