The phrase, "new year, new me" is somewhat cringy, but is also a mindset that is easy to adopt. There's something about a new calendar year that is motivating to implement new practices, be disciplined in a new area, or set goals that I definitely could have set mid-December but felt better about waiting until the "fresh start" of January 1st. Oftentimes, I set these goals based on what areas I feel like I failed in the year before. But this year in reflecting on those areas and the goals I wanted to set to be better for 2022, I was struck by the fact that God never changes. He is the same year after year. Even amidst my failure to pursue Him, He pursues me relentlessly. In my wariness of life, or outright laziness, I drop the ball on taking care of myself and the people around me. I'm so glad that I am not God! I'm so glad we serve a God who is always present, full of grace, consistent in His pursuit of us, AND who loves me despite my failure to keep my "resolutions" that I set at the beginning of the year. I hope this serves as some kind of encouragement to you, too, as we start 2022.
Here's what wrapped up 2021 for our UTD ministry!
At the end of the semester, we have a Christmas party for our students. This year was, "Christmas Morning" themed! We wore PJ's, had breakfast for dinner, and opened $1 gifts in "families". Each family was randomly assigned, and then pulled family roles from a bag to see who they would portray for the gift opening. So there was a mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister, etc.! It was super fun to see our students get into character and have fun with it. To finish off the party, we had a Christmas service with carols and a message. I loved getting to be together to celebrate a great first half of the school year <3
|Our UTD pastoral staff!|
|We <3 candids|
|These are my roomies! L to R: Zoe, Angela, Meg, Emily, and Sarah. |
I love them!
|Victoria giving our message for the service portion of the party. |
As we head into January, we have lots of things coming up that I would appreciate your prayers for!
- Winter Camp. Every year, we take our whole ministry across the different campuses to Sky Ranch for a retreat. We worship, have sessions with speakers, goof around, eat together, get to know people from different campuses... it's the best. Right now with COVID numbers surging, please pray for discernment from our staff on whether it's smart to take our students to the retreat. Pray that if we are able to go, God would start preparing the hearts of the people He wants to work in!
- Start of the school year. We start school (if nothing changes due to COVID) on the 18th. Pray for our students to be rested and ready to bring the Gospel to our campus. Pray for the COVID numbers to stay low so we can continue in-person classes, small groups, and FNF. Pray for our student leaders to continue to take God's direction on how He wants them to lead. Pray that the people God wants us to minister to this semester would find our ministry and that we would be faithful with what we are given!
- Showcase 2022. Every year, we do a fundraiser to help send potential student leaders to a leadership conference in Bellingham, Washington. It's a pretty expensive trip, so we put on a show and art sale to help fund them! Please pray we will be able to have this showcase in February with COVID numbers rising. Pray for our discernment as we select student leaders to send and equip for ministry. Pray that our hearts would be prepared for what God will do in us there!
Thank you so much for your continued love and support. I am so appreciative! Praying for a happy new year for you and your family!