October 1-2, we took a little over a hundred people down to Mt Lebanon Baptist Encampment for an overnight retreat. This is an awesome time for new students to plug in and build friendships in the ministry. In fact, we significantly discount the retreat for students who are new to the ministry to encourage them to come. We had 96 people sign up and ALL 96 showed up (plus a few extras), which may be the first time in campus ministry history that we had zero no-shows! That's a testimony to all of our student leaders working hard to get people there and make it a great experience. Our theme was "Everyone Has a Story" and my favorite part was when 4 of our students shared their stories with the whole group of how God has brought them to this point. Two came from Christian families and two grew up not knowing about God, but it was amazing to hear how Jesus used peers to bring each of them to know Him and begin living for His kingdom! Then we split up in pairs and let everyone share their own stories. It was a great experience.
|UTD Fall Camp!|
If you haven't watched the baptism linked to on the main page, you can view it at anyfocus.org/updates/baptism. Sam is a student from China who came to FOCUS and started studying the Bible last school year. He's been a faithful student of the word and has been seriously counting the cost of this decision for months. He and his girlfriend Rachel (who was featured in our student testimony last month) are starting up our pre-engagement counseling because they want to have a godly marriage. Just as exciting to me is Stephen getting the chance to baptize Sam. Stephen is a grad student who is leading a small group for the first time. He grew up in a Catholic tradition that really stressed knowing the Bible and being serious about faith, but he had never made the jump to finding out what truly being a disciple was all about. It's been amazing to watch him transform from someone who thought he knew enough into a disciple who knows he has a lifetime of learning ahead of him and finally into a disciple-maker! What a Jesus-story! Some of my favorite conversations over these past few months have been with Stephen as he shared his heart for Sam and sought wisdom on how to help Sam become a Christian. And after the baptism the other night, Stephen told me he has started studying with a couple more Chinese students who want to know about God that Sam introduced him to! Opportunities like this can really snowball in campus ministry.
|Lots of students laid hands on Sam and prayed for his new life in Christ right after his baptism.|
One final random piece of encouraging information. Every year at UTD, one of the service fraternities (Alpha Phi Omega) has a big event called Trick or Treat for Canned Goods to benefit the North Texas Food Bank. They send out small teams of students from other student organizations to go house to house collecting canned goods on Halloween night. They count up the totals for a little friendly competition. We usually do pretty well, but here's the email I received this morning about the results:
Top OrganizationsCaptains!First off, I want to thank you for coming to out to support Network Community Ministries and Alpha Phi Omega. Without your participation, we couldn't have made this event such a success. Together, we collected over 2,800 lbs of food for them! This was well over our early expectations, so congratulations to you all!Now, I know you have all been eagerly awaiting the results, so, without further ado, here they are:Top Teams
- In 3rd Place, with 250 cans collected... Sons of Faded Glory!
- In 2rd Place, with 256 cans collected... Kooky Core!
- And, in 1st Place, with a WHOPPING 365 (yes, you read that right) cans.... JESUS SWAG!<All 3 of those teams are FOCUS discipleship groups!>
Isn't it cool to see how hard these students work when working for the Lord and not for men? What a great witness to the campus community and beyond. God is good! Let me know if there is anything I can be praying for you this November. For the kingdom,
- In 3rd Place, collecting 206 cans with just one team... ODPhi (AKA Team Unimaginative)!
- With 207 cans and barely securing 2nd Place... Pre-Pharmacy Association!
- And... the grand prize winner... with 1426 cans and easily securing their spot as the Champions of TOT...