Monday, February 1, 2016

Exciting News!

We promised the students we would take the polar plunge if we succeeded in reaching our goal, so here's a quick video of my UTD team jumping into some very cold water!

So first off, we met our $45,000 goal for the Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative! The gifts just kept rolling in throughout December and January, and we crossed the finish line the day we got back from Winter Camp. What a blessing! Thank you to all of you who took part in and prayed for this. Our needs this year might not sound as exciting to you as pioneering mission work on new campuses, but this money will help us put systems and people in place on the back end to make sure we can keep moving forward in our mission. I think of administration in this way: someone has to lay the tracks before the train can bring the workers and resources to where they are most needed.

Winter Camp was amazing this year. We consistently have students tell us it was the best weekend of their life so far, and this year was no exception. Rikk's core message about what Yahweh is like resonated powerfully with so many. I've especially heard a lot of non-Christians from various religious backgrounds who were struck by that message and are considering Jesus in a fresh way.

One thing he said (when reflecting on Jesus' relationship to the Sabbath rules) that I can't get out of my head is that "Church isn't about rule-keeping; it's about people-keeping." I pray you ponder that in your own involvement with the body of Christ, and that we will all do a better job of people-keeping and being concerned for the things God is most concerned about.

We had over 500 at Winter Camp this year. It just keeps growing!
I'm especially excited about this group. It's the UTA crew doing their "Mav Up" move. It was at our last Winter Camp that we announced we would start a ministry there, and this year they brought over 30 people! 
One of our UTA leaders sent me this exciting story: "After Winter Camp I was driving three non Christian guys from my core back home to Arlington. As we were leaving Sky Ranch I asked each one of them what they felt like they got out of the experience. All of them expressed to me that over the course of the weekend they had become more open to Christianity. One told me that he had been fascinated by the idea that science and faith could exist together, another told me that he had never felt more loved, and then another said that he was beginning to wonder if there really was a greater purpose for his life. After this I asked if each one of them would be interested in reading the Bible to find out more about Jesus Christ. The answer was a resounding yes!"

6 different worship teams pastored us over the course of the weekend. We are blessed with so many godly, talented leaders!
The Spirit ministered through Rikk in powerful ways. Rikk would speak for over an hour and students would be shocked that he was done. Some students even got on to me thinking I was telling Rikk to limit the length of his messages!
If you'd like to listen to Rikk's great series for free, click here!
Everyone had a blast throughout, playing games and sports and hanging out. I even heard that Rikk went on the zip line.
A few days after camp, Simi, one of our sweet UTD girls, was baptized. Morgan and Danni did such an amazing job of sharing the good news with her!
I wish you could have witnessed each of these things in person, but know that together, God is using us to make a difference. Thanks for all your support and help. I couldn't accomplish this ministry without so many of you backing me up!

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