Sunday, June 4, 2017

Danielle's June Update

I'm so excited about summer! I, unlike most, enjoy some hot weather. Our FOCUS ministry is still going strong over summer: our entire ministry, all 9 campuses, meet together on Thursday nights for fellowship and worship. This is always a highlight for me because I have been involved with a number of different campuses and I love to see all of the students that I no longer get to work with on a regular basis. It's also a great time for our students to connect with their friends from other campuses that they have built relationships with at SICM.

Speaking of SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry), we had one of our best trips yet! From May 11-21 our students and staff went up to Bellingham, Washington for a week-long training on how to be a minister on your campus. Our students learned about how to lead a small group, how to connect with God and the Spirit, how to discern calling and vocation, and how to evangelize on campus. Here are some fun pictures from the week:

SICM students getting off the plane

Eating lunch on the "Stairs to Nowhere" at Western Washington University

UNT and TWU girls at SICM: Kasey, Sierrah, Nicole, Morgan, & Claudia

More Denton students being silly

This is the group from TWU. We brought 8 students this year!!

My TWU girls :)

I asked a few of my TWU students to share about the impact that SICM had on them:

"I went into SICM mostly because of a checklist. Many people had told me how great it was and when I was asked to go I just thought of it as another activity that people in FOCUS do. Just like every other student going I had so much on my plate prior to the trip and did not really get the time to think about why I was going or who I was doing it for. Thank God that He can work through my life even when I do not give him the time. Although I did not prepare myself for going and I had selfish reasons for attending, God worked through all of it to make this trip honor and reflect his works. The number one biggest takeaway from SICM was the relationships that I formed on the trip. I had made so many good friends in the ministry my freshman year, but for those ten days I was able to really bond with the girls from TWU. I got to know each one of them on a deeper level and that alone was worth going. Girls that I thought were so different from me ended up being who I spent most of my time with on the trip. I feel like my role in the community has shifted, from being someone that is constantly poured into to now showing that same love and dedication to future students. Going to SICM really put into perspective why I was involved in the ministry and showed my purpose in being a disciple beyond my college days." --Claudia Salas

"SICM to me was like hitting the "refresh" button on your computer. Things that I learned growing up in the church were given in such a different perspective that it finally clicked. While in Washington, I realized just how small I am, and yet how big my role is in sharing the gospel. I think that being given the opportunity to go to SICM really gave me a higher sense of maturity in my faith. It's not that I know everything there is to know, because we all know that's a lie. It's about learning that I am human, I make mistakes, I'm selfish, and often lazy. Still, in the midst of this, God sees me and He gives me a purpose. The way God worked through me and others at SICM were like jumper cables starting a car. Christ taught me how to be bolder and how to not expect perfection when seeking to make disciples. It was absolutely amazing to see how God had touched all these college students' hearts. I honestly think it is a miracle that 100 or so college students would choose time with God over worldly temptations. SICM to me meant re-evaluating myself and gaining perspective from those around me." --Brittany Parsons 

"I am a junior at Texas Woman’s University, and have been in Focus for roughly a year and a half. Weeks before I was asked if I wanted to attend, I prayed for a chance to really dive into my faith, get deep into the heart of God, and learn more about his plans for me. When I eventually got the call, I knew that God was answering my prayers. As the time came closer and closer to board the plane to Washington, I prayed for God to open my heart, and allow me to soak up every piece of knowledge and wisdom given to me. Looking back, I whole-heartedly believe that God came through for me. Though I did not experience any earth shattering revelations or see any beams of white light streaming through the ceiling, God broke through my heart and allowed me to really listen to what people were saying. As I sat listening to each speaker, I found that I able to connect puzzle pieces together in my mind. I saw what God was doing in me through the power of the Holy Spirit, and how I am to use that to “go and make disciples of every nation” (Matt. 28:19). I felt the true weight of this command for the first time. During one session, a speaker said. “If nobody went out on our campuses to evangelize, our campus ministry would be dead within four years”. This emphasized that being a disciple is not about my own personal walk with God—though that is certainly an important part of it; it is about the future disciples. Those who will continue to spread the Word of God long after we are all gone. God allowed me to see past myself, and see the plans he had for all of us as the body of Christ. In a way, I supposed God did not reveal to me His plans for me. What he showed me was even better. He revealed to me how I am to work as a part of His plan, and be a vessel for Him to reach those who so desperately need him. All of this was revealed to me while surrounded by believers from all different walks of life. I was able to see God's creation in nature, stay with a host family who encouraged me every day in my walk, and make new friends to further embark on this journey with. Everything I experienced in Bellingham, Washington came together, and revealed God’s plan for all of us, not just myself. Now I feel a new passion in my walk. I feel equipped to go out and talk to people about God’s goodness, and lastly, I feel certain that God is with me through all of it." --Morgan Chappell

Praise God for how good He is! I hope those stories were as encouraging to you as they were to me. Thank you so much for investing in students and stories like these! God is working powerfully through college campuses and we get to be right in the middle of it. Your support make this all possible, so thank you a million times!