Saturday, May 22, 2021

The End of the Weirdest Year

These are the four student small group leaders I had the privilege of mentoring this school year. They were such a blessing to me! Three of them were graduating seniors, but two of them will be doing the FOCUS apprenticeship this next year!

Parking Lot Graduation Ceremony

We made it through the COVID school year! It was strange debriefing the year, hoping we'd never have to do most of these events again!

But one event that came out of the pandemic that we absolutely want to keep is our Parking Lot Graduation at UTD. In 2020, it was a last-minute idea from Peter Ueng, tacked on to a worship night in a Walmart parking lot for our students whose commencement ceremony had been canceled. But it was a big success, and for 2021 we planned ahead and did it right. After one of our last Friday nights, we lined both sides of a parking lot lane with fellow students, friends, and family, played "Pomp & Circumstance" over a speaker, and announced each FOCUS graduate's name and degree. They got to walk the whole way being cheered for by everyone, and then we celebrated with cake and punch. Students and parents both loved it. They got to skip the boring speeches, skip the hundreds of names of people they don't know, wear whatever they wanted, celebrate with their whole community, and they could invite as many people as they want (UTD only gives each graduate 5 tickets). I've already had multiple students tell me they are planning to do our parking lot graduation instead of commencement when they get their degree. 

Our 2021 UTD Graduates! (At least the ones who could come in person, but note the phone with the one virtual attendee in the bottom left!)

An Encouraging Note

I got this note from Adriana, one of our Collin College pastors, about our ministry at Richland College. Our community college ministries are so rare, but so special and fruitful.

"I am checking out Richland's end-of-year party/TNT. Feels like a family gathering together. I started crying as I saw and heard time over time the way Sandra and Sirak honored each of their students with sweet and specific moments and interactions with them. They are so proud, so so proud, and rightly so. These are students who've had every reason to walk away from God. I've gotten to know one of their students, Sayuri, who's had a hard life and has flourished into this woman who's a fool for God and has left a legacy here with her peers. Sayuri and all of theses students love Sirak and Sandra so so much. I love this team and their faithfulness to God and their students."

That's good news!

Student Testimony & Prayer Requests

Thank you for your faithfulness to prayer and generosity through a challenging year. We are in a great place to make an even bigger impact in fall 2021!

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...