Thursday, September 1, 2016

We Survived Welcome Week!

And it went great! You prayed for our students to be bold, Spirit-filled missionaries, and God answered in a huge way!

Weather caused us to cancel or reschedule basically every single event we had planned to reach out to freshmen at UTD, but it also led to one of our best Welcome Weeks ever! So many more students were out and about in the cooler weather (highs in the mid-80s in August!?), and they were ready to make friends and hang out. And this group of student leaders and returning students were amazing! They drew in tons of new people for our impromptu events like Zombie Tag and Games on the Mall.

Here students are listening to the rules for Zombie Tag. There was no way to capture the whole crowd in one picture. Freshmen LOVE this game and keep asking when we're going to play it again.
Just a sampling of different groups playing games on the mall--games like Spikeball, Four Square, and Giant Jenga. This wouldn't have worked in normal August weather!
All of this led up to our FNF Kickoff last Friday night. I didn't count, but around 250 students showed up! 130 signed up for our brown bag hangout, and the Corefas have hundreds of students who have signed up for cores to contact and invite from the last couple weeks. If we didn't have 50 strong student leaders, that many new students would scare me, but I know we have the workers to provide authentic love and care to each of them. 
Back in Davidson Auditorium for our first FNF with Abbie Malone giving our "Invest in the Vision" talk. (She's quite a preacher!) Again, there was no where to stand and get the entire room in the shot, but we came close to filling the back section as well.
I want to say thank you to each of you that has invested in this ministry financially and to each of you who has prayed for it. Your participation is essential! And I want to say a special thanks to those of you who have started giving or increased your giving over the past couple of months. God really answered my prayers through you!

As a final encouragement, read this testimony from one of our recent graduates who has moved into the mission field. She's awesome:
Michelle Nelson (University of Texas at Dallas, Graduated 2014)
"I came to college knowing about God but not knowing God. I didn’t grow up as a Christian but went to youth group with friends in high school. As an overachieving perfectionist I saw church as a place to prove myself. Religion was a set of rules explaining how to be “good”. As is all too common, I had completely missed the point of Jesus.

FOCUS quickly turned my attitude about God upside down. Seeing so many people who were willing to say “these are my flaws. I’m not good, but God is” was life changing for me. These people clearly knew God and had a relationship with Him. Yet they weren’t perfect and weren’t pretending to be. It’s still difficult for me to remember that I can simply accept God’s grace; He wants me to have it. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not responsible for earning grace on my own. God has a sense of humor. Shortly after leaving UTD, God called me to Thailand. I now live in a country that is 95% Buddhist. I am immersed in a culture that is obsessed with earning merit. I see the Thai people worship idols and give offerings, and it breaks my heart. Then I look at my own life and see that, in my own way, I am trying just as hard to earn merit. God is so strategic. He puts you exactly where you need to be. He knew I needed to be in FOCUS. And now he’s brought me to Thailand to minister to people who share the same heart struggle as me. FOCUS changes students’ lives and then sends them out to minister to others. And because of that, I truly believe FOCUS will reach the world."

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...