Thursday, September 24, 2015

How We Used the #FOCUS140 Money

So almost a year ago we launched our 1st Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative (#FOCUS140) and raised $31,000 to keep FOCUS going and growing!

In the 10 months since then, so much has happened. Together with your help, we:
  • Established a major new ministry at UT Arlington and started groups at both NCTC and TWU Dallas as well. This means we are reaching students on 9 campuses now!
  • Finished establishing FOCUS as a separate church legally, which protects our assets and ensures they will be used for campus missions in the years to come. It also gives us increased flexibility to meet the specific needs of our mission field. 
  • Launched a new website to meet administrative needs and better communicate with incoming students.  
  • Welcomed 14 new full-time interns, our largest class to date.
  • Trained more than 150 student small group leaders to be missionaries to their campuses!
We are poised and ready for future opportunities because of those generous gifts. I've outlined below (in rounded numbers) how we spent that money. I tried to keep it general, but I'm happy to answer more specific questions as needed.

UTA launch expenses (leader retreat, moving expenses, sound equipment, etc)$5,200.00
Outreach and advertising to new students (for 9 campuses)$4,500.00
Printing FOJ books for the new year (enough for 675 one-on-one studies!)$900.00
Staff development (seminary coursework and staff prep days)$4,300.00
Paying for counseling for students (who need it but can't afford it)$1,400.00
New website (design, launch, and first year)$1,400.00
Internship expenses to help fund 14 interns (books, event costs, etc)$9,000.00
Legal expenses and fees as we finalized our new corporation$2,800.00
Prepping 150+ student leaders for the year (materials and meals)$1,500.00

A special "Thank You!" to all of you who gave. Our 2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative will launch in November!

Friday, September 4, 2015

So Many Great Things Happening!

August is always crazy (and we're all tired!) but God has been doing amazing things. First off, look at these snapshots from some of our first group meetings.
Our very first Thursday Night Meeting at UT Arlington! They can't reserve rooms yet, so they had their service outside on campus. Pretty much everyone there is someone our team met in the last couple weeks! 
The first meeting of the year at UNT. They couldn't use their normal room, so they packed into this one. Looks like every chair is filled!
Weird perspective, but Collin has had their biggest attendance ever. Garrett said we need a second projector because the people on the sides can't even see the words! 
This was during our first FNF (Friday Night FOCUS) at UT Dallas last week. I didn't count, but there are well over 200 students there, and it was one of our most diverse groups ever!
Our student leaders have done a fantastic job of meeting and befriending and inviting new students on all of our campuses. Thank you for praying for them! I wish there had been people like them to meet me when I first walked on campus at UTD all those years ago.

Another campus we are starting to reach out to is TWU Dallas. This campus is mainly for nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy students, and has very minimal Christian presence. One of our student leaders shared this about her co-leader and I wanted to share it with you:

I wish I could tell story after story, but I want to highlight just two more. First, our UTA team has been meeting tons of people from India who are looking for friends and also for God. One of them was sharing with one of our interns over there: "In India, the Hindus are still making up new gods. They see a rock standing up, spray paint it, and call it god. I don't believe that's real, which is why I'm interested in the God of Christianity. Will you read the Bible with me?" What!? I think God is at work there for sure! (You'll be glad to know our intern did consent to study the Bible with him. :)

And lastly, you'll want to read this poem shared at UTD last week. One of the girls who came to know Christ in our ministry awhile back shared this testimony. It goes with our "Living the Future" theme for the school year.
Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers. Keep praying! We're still meeting new students and already hearing heartbreaking stories, but also seeing amazing opportunities to bring God's kingdom to the lives of college students.

Developing Our Pastoral Team

We are back in August and ramping up for the school year! We have an amazing pastoral staff, and an outstanding group of student leaders. At...