Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

As I was reflecting on the past year and making goals for 2015, I was hit by how incredibly blessed I am. This is nothing new, and I think about it often. It's especially evident though when I look back on my year and all the things that have happened. I moved to a different city, started a new job, began ministry at a new campus, experienced the death of my cousin. 2014 was an excellent year but also a very challenging one. Above all, God was merciful, loving, and always there, even when I drifted.

Renee Walters, Collin student
God was also doing great things among the students at our campuses. I was able to read some neat stories of changed lives last semester among our ministry. I would like to share one short story with you about a girl in our Collin College ministry named Renee. Renee is a sophomore at Collin and joined our leader team in August. Renee is a very skilled dancer and has danced with a company in Chicago for the past two summers. This year she was offered an opportunity to be part of a program to train and dance with this company, a huge step in her dance career. Over the summer she decided to come back to Texas to be a small group leader at Collin instead. She now co-leads a small group and is studying the Bible with too many girls to count. I think that God has planted in a seed in her mind to possibly pursue ministry as a career. Over Christmas break she participated in a mission trip to New Orleans to work with underprivileged children. When I asked about her decision to give up her dance career to go back to school and do ministry, this is her response: "I don't think I gave it up though, because I felt so much peace and guidance to come back to Texas. It doesn't feel like I gave anything up."  Her attitude about it blew me away. She feels so incredibly blessed to be doing God's work here in Texas at her community college. I think God has rewarded her service by helping her to develop a deeper trust relationship with Him. I can't wait to see what God does in her life and through her life next semester. She is such a great example to our students, and to me, of how to be thankful in every circumstance.

I also wanted to update you on our FOCUS 140 Campaign: so far we have received $22,500! Thank you so much for giving to it, sharing it, and praying for it! This will be a wonderful way for us to plant new ministries at UTA and NCTC in the fall of this year. We are so excited and so grateful for God's provision through his people.

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends! Thank you for being so generous and deciding to partner with FOCUS in changing lives on campus. I pray that this new year would give you opportunity to experience God in deeper ways and to practice thankfulness for his many blessings. In a few weeks we will be taking about 400 students to Winter Camp, our biggest event of the year. I'll be updating you about it next month, but in the meantime, please be praying about it! We need prayer for safe travels, new and deeper friendships, and changed hearts.

Much love!