Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ramping Back Up for 2016-17!

First off, thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so blessed to have such an amazing group of partners who pray faithfully and give generously so that this mission to the campus can continue to grow and flourish. I wish I could convey to you even a tenth of all the cool stories I get to experience and hear. Hearts are being changed; lives are being blessed; people are being adopted into God's great family. And you are part of it!

Beyond UTD

This year, our UTD, Richland, and TWU Dallas leadership will again be working closely together to reach these three campuses. Richland and TWUD will again be bringing their groups to our Friday Night FOCUS meetings at UTD, and we'll have one combined student leadership team. This was SO GREAT last year! Each group of students brings something unique to the table, and God is actively teaching us about unity in the midst of diversity.

I'm so excited in particular about Sirak's work at Richland. As far as I know, there are no other full-time Christian workers on that campus of around 14000 students. The opportunities are huge! Check out this story from one of the Richland students we encountered last year:

Miles Morris, Richland College, Mass Communications
"I recently went through a period of situational depression. There wasn’t an entire day that went by where I was happy with my place in life. Some days, I seemed jovial and was up for a good laugh. Other days, however, were full of sadness and discontent. I remember I broke down and cried three times back in 2014. I even almost committed suicide. I had been born and raised in a Christian family, but my faith often felt lacking quite a bit. Something I’ve often heard from my mother was that you’ve got to do your part in order for God to do His. I think God was telling me to do my part by joining FOCUS. FOCUS has given me a sense of community that I don’t think I could find anywhere else. I think it has helped me enhance my faith in God and see that with Him, all things are possible. It’s helped me to expand my circle of friends and, more importantly, renewed and restored my faith. I think there’s still some work for me to do to get closer to God, but being a part of FOCUS has helped me to gain some traction on that front. As I move forward with life, I pray that my faith becomes more solid than it was in the past."

Please join me in praying for Richland College, and that Miles will go deeper in his faith and have an impact on others this coming year.

The Richland ministry faces many unique challenges with so many students from low income families. There's no on-campus housing, and many of the students either have to take the bus (a very slow process) or get rides everywhere. But in response to our prayers, God has provided cars (for free!) for two of our key student leaders! They'll not only be able to get where they need to go more efficiently; they are both true servants who will be making sure their peers get where they need to go. Praise God!

Summer's Over (for FOCUS Campus Missionaries at least!)

It's crazy to me that our brief summer season is coming to a close. Starting on Aug 1, our new group of apprentices comes on board, and we'll begin in earnest preparing our student missionaries for the massive influx of freshmen and transfer students coming at the end of the month. Please start praying now for 2 things:
  1. That God would cause us to love these new students before we even meet them. We want our mission on campus to be a labor of love, not just of duty. We want His love for them in our hearts so they get to experience Him through us.
  2. That we would Be Brave to initiate with those new students during Move-in, Welcome Week, and beyond. "Be Brave" is our theme for the year, and I'm excited to see how God uses it to empower young adults to love and serve.
20 Year Celebration!

Lastly, we're going to be celebrating all that God has done in the first 20 years of FOCUS on October 8, and you're invited!
You can RSVP at this link:

Friday, July 1, 2016

An Important Prayer Request and Good News!

Today is July 1, which means our staff and new apprentices have one month to finish raising our support for the next year of campus missions. Will you stop and pray right now that God would provide richly for every person He has called to this mission? 

I mentioned last month that I need to raise at least an additional $500/mo this summer toward our total budget. I haven't even really started on this yet since I've been focused in June on selecting a new student leader team for UTD, but you guys have already offered an additional $210/mo! Thank you!

As a reminder, here's how you can help:
1)  If you are currently a monthly partner, help me reach this goal in one of two ways:
  • Will you recruit one friend or family member to join our mission by matching your monthly gift?
  • Can you increase your monthly support by 5-10%? 
2)  If you are not currently a financial partner, consider joining my support team with a monthly or special gift. Signing on is easy! Go to and click on “Donate”. Or you can touch base with me directly to see what this might look like for you.

Brooklyn's Story (from UT Arlington!)

Brooklynn Turner
Social Work Major
"I grew up with a single mom and was privileged to grow up in a Christian household. Leaving for school was a big step for me, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Coming into college I felt I had two options: I could go off, explore the party scene, and be rebellious in way that I never really have, or I could pursue my faith. During welcome week I met some of the student leaders in FOCUS; they really seemed to be interested in my life and pursued my friendship in a way that I wasn’t used to. I took that as my sign. Since then, my corefas and the other leaders in FOCUS have taught me, and displayed what living life with Jesus as a disciple looks like. Prior to college I was a Christian, but I wouldn’t say I was a disciple. Studying FOJ challenged me in that aspect. I have come to know how freeing it is to give my life completely over to God and let him set my priorities. Most of my favorite memories from my freshman year have centered around, or at least involved, the friends I have made in FOCUS. I have made deep, meaningful, Christ‐centered relationships that I wouldn’t have found, or known how to find without community. FOCUS has loved me in a way that I haven’t experienced outside of my family, and as an orientation leader, I want all of my freshman orientees to have that as well."

Good News for UT Dallas

Many of you have connections with UTD, and I see God's wisdom in starting our mission at such an exciting, growing, ambitious university. UTD has shaped FOCUS in profound ways. This article was an encouraging look at how far UTD has come and where it's going. It's well worth the quick read if you are interested.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support and for loving 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...