Sunday, February 4, 2018

Season of Love--Danielle's February Update

February has begun and many of our students are beginning new dating relationships, which usually happens in waves around here. It's fun to be a part of! Another one of the great expressions of love I get to see every Spring is when parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and friends of our students attend our FOCUS Family Night. Parents are often uncertain about why their students are so excited and committed to this thing called "FOCUS," so we like to host an open house to let them see what we're all about! My favorite part is getting to see how much these students that I love dearly, and know super well, resemble their parents. What a treat! We had so many families show up this year that we literally had no room for them.

We had two students share about the impact that God has had on them through FOCUS, as well as an opportunity for parents to share how God has changed their student through this community. Here is what Ernesto Torres, a junior in our ministry, said last night:

"I first became a part of this community about 10 years ago, whenever I used to tag along with my sister to FOCUS as a 6th grader. I had no idea then what kind of impact that would have on my life. Thanks to that, I got to grow up in the Northeast church and I got to be a part of a godly community. However, I never took it super seriously and only did the minimum of what was expected of me. As a result, my relationship with Jesus was pretty shallow. Despite my lack of effort, I was poured into and loved by many through my time in Northeast. For example, there was a family, The Barbers, that welcomed me into their family with open arms. Through the Barber family I learned what it looked like for a family to put Jesus first. Whenever I was 12 I got to study the Bible with Kale Worsham and learned the importance of one on one ministry.

Now fast forward to my transition into college: I came here already knowing about FOCUS, but I also came here as an impulsive, curious, and selfish person. Thankfully, this community has fostered my growth into becoming a better representation of what Christ looks like. I went from making impulsive decisions that would only benefit me, to thinking more like Jesus. I went from keeping what was going on in my life to myself, to letting people know me and guide me through the process. I went from being in a constant state of comfort, to putting myself out of my comfort zone to serve the Lord. This looked like me going on a mission trip to New Orleans to serve the children there. I also did an internship with the Wylie Northeast church's teen ministry. I went from being someone who was constantly being invested in, to being someone who finally invests back. That is why I decided to become a leader, to give back like I was given to through this community. All of that only scratches the surfaces of what God has been doing through me and this community!"

Jacy (L) and Ernesto (R) sharing at Family Night

Three of my ministry partners also shared last night about the impact God has had on their children who are both still in college. I'm so thankful to them for coming and sharing in this vision with us!

Mr. and Mrs. Thornton sharing about their daughter Kennedy

Tony Campbell sharing about his daughter Erin

I wish I had a picture of the whole room of families but trust me, there were many! We are so grateful to all of you who continue to support this ministry so that generations of lives can be changed by our Father. The crazy thing is that the number of people in that room (which was over 375) is just a snapshot of all the people that have been impacted, because there were countless others who couldn't be there! Thank you again for your generosity, because it makes a real difference. I hope you will also enjoy this month's student testimony from our newest campus, SMU!