1. Staff transitions. Brad is shifting off staff to finish his PhD and pursue his career teaching (he may end up as our advisor at one of our campuses). Casey is moving to UTD to work with Mandy. Garrett Davis (Brad's brother and a past intern) will be coming back on staff to lead Collin in Casey's place along with Tyler and Brianna Marble. Matt Clark is moving up to Denton to take Brad's place at UNT along with Amy Knoles (another past intern). My role, at least for this year, will be shifting slightly away from UTD to work with all the staff and interns. I'll be mentoring those who are mentoring student leaders, supervising two interns, and driving the overall mission and vision of our ministry. This is a lot of change to bite off for one school year! But after praying and talking and thinking about it, we decided that these moves will get us in a better position for the next few years of ministry and mission and that we'd rather get it all done at once rather than a little at a time. Please say a prayer for my changing role. It's tough to let go of some of the things I love, but I'm confident this is the path the Lord wants me to take.
2. Support raising. Our entire staff is spending some time raising financial support and getting prayer commitments for the new school year. Our goal is $30,000/month. Sounds like a lot until I remember that supports 14 staff members at two universities and two community colleges. It also allows us to scholarship students who can't pay for events and do creative outreach to all four campuses. My staff works cheap! Seriously though, I hope over the next couple of years to increase our support raising to the point that some of these young men and women can reasonably support a family before I start losing my best and most experienced people to economic necessities! $1500 a month for someone with an MBA is a great deal for FOCUS--in the short run. Please pray that God will hook us up with the right people and groups who share our vision and can partner with us moving forward. God has always provided and I know He will in the future. Our support team includes individuals, families, churches, and private foundations. If you have a contact you think might be a good fit, drop me a line!
3. My vacation/second SICM trip. I got to travel through 12 states (plus a little Canada) in two weeks with a few great FOCUS people. Most of the June group flew up, but 5 of us rented a van and drove, visiting lots of great people and places along the way. I get such a bigger chance to influence and minister to key people when I travel with them. A few pictures I took:
|Kelsea at the Grand Canyon. Breathtaking!|
|We got to stay with Eileen in Phoenix. We took this right before we locked her out of her house. Thank goodness Kelsea can fit through a dog door!|
|The beach at Coronado in San Diego. By the time this was over, Maria had both Matt and Paulo completely buried. We had dinner with Julie and Laura Schimpf, but I forgot to get a picture.|
|Eric gave us a tour of the Google campus.|
|And later in the day we went to Muir Woods. The Giant Redwoods were huge! I wish Charlie could have joined us.|
|Some of you may remember Jim and Patty Roberts who were on staff at Northeast Church back in the late 90's. We had breakfast at their coffee shop in Portland, OR, and it was awesome!|
|Once we picked up the other 6 students at the airport in Seattle, a couple of the CCF staff joined us for a Mariners baseball game.|
|Our last day in Washington, Matt and Kelsea and I kayaked out to an island in the bay with Matt's host family and had a picnic. A great ending before we started the long drive back.|
When I report in again, it will be with new interns and we'll be ramping up for the arrival of thousands of freshmen! Until then, thanks for your love and support. Let me know if there is something I can be praying for you about.