Sunday, January 26, 2014

Please Pray for Richland College!

Over the past few years, I've had the privilege of working with Travis Jones, a great friend an co-worker in the kingdom.  We led a small group together when he was a student.  He came through the FOCUS Internship and then stepped up to the most difficult ministry assignment we have--Richland College.  When we sent Travis over there, we didn't know any college students there.  He just walked on campus and started meeting people.  He's done an amazing job planting a ministry, leading people to Jesus, and building leaders there, but this year has been a little discouraging as some of his best leaders are moving on to lead in our university ministries (great for us, but sad for Travis).

Travis is one of my favorite people!
Richland is one of the Dallas Community Colleges, not out in the suburbs. Many of the students don't have cars and there's no on campus housing. Most of them need jobs on top of their classes to get by. But there are over 15,000 students on that campus, and God is seeking after each and every one of them. He has big plans for them, and we want to take part!

Richland has a beautiful campus with a brook running through the middle.
What could be more intimidating than a Thunderduck!?
So I want to ask you to pray for Richland. God has been faithful in answering our prayers so far, and we want to get a lot more people praying for the Spirit to move in power on this campus--that it will be a place where people come to know Jesus as Lord and are sent out on mission for Him in their families, careers, and further schooling.

I asked Travis to detail what kinds of prayers he'd like us to pray, and I've included his response below. I hope each of you can join me in prayer.

Dear Friends,

I live to see the hearts and minds of college students turned toward Christ. Having a Christian community in college really deepened and cemented my shallow faith in God and changed my life forever. I want nothing more than to do the same for others, especially to bring Christ to those who don’t know Him. Starting a campus ministry at Richland College has probably been the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life. We’ve been on campus for over three years now, and it is still an uphill battle. We’ve won many victories along the way, and they have all been very hard fought. This semester has really reminded me how strong a grip Satan still has on that campus--Richland is still very closed off to the good news of Jesus.

I want to look back and see this semester as a huge turning point for the Kingdom at Richland. To that end, I am renewing and redoubling my efforts in prayer, and I’m inviting you to join me!  If you have a heart for college students, please pray for God’s purposes to be accomplished at Richland College.

There are two key things I’d invite you to pray:

1.     For an end to student apathy.  Many students at Richland don’t care about much of anything. One of my student leaders asked a fellow student what accomplishments he was proud of. He couldn’t think of a single thing! When asked by my student leader “aren’t you proud of getting into college?,” he just answered “I guess so.” A lot of the students don’t have many goals; they just float through life. It’s very hard to reach out to a student body that just doesn’t care.  Pray for God to grow passion among the student body.
2.     For the administration and faculty.  The administration still proves to be a large barrier to building vibrant Christian community on campus. Rules, regulations, and red tape staunch the growth, not only of Christian community, but of any sort of student community.  Pray for wisdom for the administrators, openness to change, for the Christian ministries to gain favor among campus leaders, and for faculty and staff to come to know Jesus through our work.

Will you join me in praying for the Focus student ministry at Richland College?  I know He can do even more than we ask or imagine.

Yours in Christ,

Travis Jones

Thursday, January 2, 2014

It's Winter Camp Time!

One of the most important events of our calendar year is our annual Winter Camp.  It falls at just the right time--far enough into the year that we can get new students to come spend three days with us, but early enough to help build momentum for a great spring semester.  This year we'll be heading to Sky Ranch in Van, TX, from January 17-20.

Here are some things you can do to bless this camp:
1.  Pray for all of our students to attend!  The ones who need it the most are often the hardest to get to come.  Pray for wisdom and boldness for our student leaders as they talk to each person in their cores about signing up.
2.  Help scholarship a student who can't afford to come on their own.  A full scholarship is $135, but even $5 helps.  Most students will pay at least some of the cost, but we don't ever want to leave a student home because of money. You can give at anyfocus.org/wcscholarship.
3.  Pray for our speakers.  Brady Bobbink, from CCF up in Bellingham (where we go to SICM), is our special guest speaker.  He's talking about "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom."  Some of the FOCUS staff will also be sharing at key points throughout the weekend.  We serve a God who reveals himself through words and as the Word, so we know the spoken word is powerful.  I'm praying that students will have encounters with God that weekend.
4.  Come out for a session and see what Winter Camp is all about.  If you're in the DFW area, Sky Ranch isn't too far a drive. We'll have sessions each evening and morning from Friday night to Monday morning.  Contact me or Debbie for more details.

In other travel related notes, Matt Clark (our UNT Campus Minister) and I were able to travel to New York City for a few days before Christmas to visit his sister.  We also got to have dinner with an amazing FOCUS alumnus, Christian Sommerhalder, who is in med school up there.  It's great to see our alumni being salt and light all over the nation.

Christian and his girlfriend, Savannah.  She's great!
We had a blast on our very cold visit to the Statue of Liberty.  Matt is such an amazing friend and co-worker in the Kingdom.
Thank you so much for your ongoing love and prayers and support. Spring is when we work to harvest a lot of what was planted in the fall.  I'm praying the God of the harvest will send out lots more workers in 2014!

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