Monday, April 2, 2012

It's been a busy month!

A few updates on some of the things we did in March:

1.  We have mostly wrapped up our invitations to SICM and purchased plane tickets.  5 of our staff (Mandy, Debbie, Casey, Matt, and I) will be taking 47 students to Bellingham, WA in May.  And in June, Travis and I will be taking another 8-10 students for the second session.  These are all first time attenders who have the potential to be leaders in the fall!

2.  We interviewed applicants for our internship program for the 2012-2013 school year and have selected 4 great disciples to join us on staff next year!  Sirak Asfaw, Katy Jordan, Melissa Kenfield, and Courtney Atherton are all awesome students who have been a part of our student leadership for years.  Katy and Courtney are both pursuing masters degrees and Sirak and Melissa will both complete their graduate degrees this summer before their internship starts.  We continue to pull in some of the brightest and best to take the gospel to university students.  We aren't sure about campus placements yet, but you will hear a lot more about these four from me in the months to come.
Sirak

Katy
Melissa

Courtney

3.  We had a 3-day campaign on campus at UTD (along with 4 other campus ministries) to raise awareness about Human Trafficking and share the good news about God's heart for justice and His mission to make things right.  Did you know that there are over 27 million slaves in the world today?  That's more than all the centuries of the African slave trade combined.  Even here in the United States, the Department of Justice estimates 100,000-150,000 people being trafficked, most of them children.  And 25% of them are in Texas!  God cares deeply about these people, about the captives and the oppressed.  Jesus announced his ministry with these words from Isaiah, which we would do well to not over-spiritualize:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" (Luke 4:18).

In these days when so much of our comforts and luxuries are made by people in terrible conditions overseas, when children are forced to be soldiers in terrible civil wars, and when girls and young women are forced into prostitution all over the world (so that men from Western countries can fly in and rape them), we need to make sure our voices are heard.  Will God be pleased with us for choosing ignorance about these things he cares so much about?  We worked with International Justice Mission (IJM.org) and they have a great website full of resources to learn and to help.



Students painted the "Spirit Rocks" on campus to raise awareness.

We had three of these 2-sided displays.  Students were on hand to start discussions with people who stopped to read.  A group of our students planned and built these displays all on their own!

The "sex mattress" drew plenty of attention all by itself!
4.  I started studying the Bible with a young guy back in November of 2010.  He was referred to me by his sister who had been a student leader at UTD during her time there, though he lived on the other side of the metroplex.  Since then, he's made a serious commitment to God, moved up to our area for school, and become a consistent part of one of our campus communities.  But he's also had a lot of forgiveness issues within his family, particularly with his dad.  They haven't really been speaking for years and this young man was really struggling with having a hard heart toward his father.  It's one of the topics we've come back to again and again as I saw (and got to be a part of) God working on his heart.  Well, a few weeks ago I got a text message at 1:10 am saying that he had called his dad and apologized and told him he wants them to have a relationship.  That woke me up for sure!  He said he was laying in bed and couldn't sleep but kept thinking about his dad and what God wanted him to do.  And he did it!  I know his dad was so thankful to get that call in the middle of the night.  Isn't God good?!  He has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

5.  Last one!  Sorry to be so long-winded, but one of the baptisms I attended this month really touched me.  Matt is a young man (now a grad student) at UTD who happens to be in a wheelchair.  He's grown up in church and has loved the Lord for a long time.  Well some of the guys were talking to him and found out that while he's wanted to be baptized in water for over 10 years, it just never worked out because of logistics!  How sad is that.  And so these young student leaders made it happen, and quickly.  I'm not sure I've ever seen someone literally beaming until that day.  I'll post the video so you can share in that moment.


Matt's mom got to be there.  You can hear her share in the video.
Thanks for your prayers and support.  Together, we are making a difference for the Kingdom.

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