Wednesday, January 5, 2022

New Year! Same God!

 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! 

Christmas Party

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. 

Prayer Requests: 

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!

Love,


 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

THANKFUL!

 Hello, friends! 

On Thanksgiving, I was thinking about everything in my life I had to be thankful for. I wanted to take some time to thank YOU, my ministry partners, for your generosity, prayers, and encouragement. I could not do what I do without you! I know that sounds cheesy, but I mean it. Getting to do this for my job feels like a dream come true, and I absolutely love it. I am passionate about what God is doing on campus at UTD and what he is doing in the lives of the women that I get to work with. So thank you for allowing me to do what I do. I am so thankful for you!!

Preaching!

I had the privilege of preaching at our Friday Night Fellowship a couple weeks ago! We did a series about discipleship, and I talked about obedience as a response to the call to discipleship. Here is the link! 

https://anyfocus.org/mediaplayer/?media_id=64120&vid_url=//anyfocus.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/kylie-sermon.mp3

I also got to preach at my church that is actually the church I grew up in before they planted a church in Wylie that my Dad ended up pastoring. A lot of our UTD students attend there so I have been going the last few years. It was such a neat opportunity! I talked about the importance of one-on-one fellowship and share lots of stories of how Northeast church taught me those values. I tried to give some encouragments along the way. 

Here is the link, and I start around the 22 minute mark: https://www.thenortheastchurch.com/content.cfm?id=315&download_id=1476

Pizza Theo

We had our Pizza Theology in November and it was awesome! Once a semester, we get together with the other FOCUS ministries on our different campuses and do two hours of lecture on a theological topic, an hour of eating pizza, and two more hours of lecture. It's one of our most attended events all year and was a great success! The theme was, "How to Think Like a Christian". I've linked it below in case you're interested! 

Part 1: https://anyfocus.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/part-1.mp3

Part 2: https://anyfocus.org/mediaplayer/?media_id=64122&vid_url=//anyfocus.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/part-2.mp3


A piece of personal news, but I got ENGAGED! It has been so sweet to know and love Johnny for the last year and a half. I am so excited to get to be his wife! Here are some pictures from the special day. <3 





Please pray as we continue to wrap up our semester! Our students have lots of finals and we have a Christmas party this week to celebrate the birth of our sweet Jesus and partake in Christmas festivities! We are also gearing up for our Winter Camp, which I'll talk about in another post a little later. 

Thanks for all your support! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

August: It's the CRAZIEST time of the year!

 Hello!

It's been a while since I've last written. We had our weeks of welcome, our first couple of Friday Night Fellowships, meetings with peer team girls... it's been a blur. But so, so sweet. I realize some of this terminology may be confusing, so here's a guide to some of our FOCUS "lingo":

Friday Night Fellowship! 

Friday Night Fellowship (or FNF) is our weekly meeting with everyone involved in FOCUS! All of our staff and students come together for a service with worship, an announcement time, and a sermon. We also hang out after and it's super fun :) Here are some photos from our FNF Kickoff! It was so great to be all together again after a long year and a half with COVID. Getting to do FNF on campus is amazing! 




Core

Cores are our weekly small groups where people build deep friendships and learn about the Bible/Jesus together. They are split into guys and girls and stay the same throughout the school year! 

Corefa(s)

A corefa is one of our student leaders who volunteers to help facilitate a core. There are two corefas in each core who work together to create lesson plans and facilitate hangouts between their members! It's about 10 hours a week that they commit to when they volunteer for this position in our ministry. We could not do what we do on campus without them! 

Peer Team

Peer Team is where a group of our corefas get to be poured into by one of our campus pastors. I have 8 amazing girls in my peer team this year! (4 pairs of corefas). I also get to take 2 girls for this semester because their peer team leader, and my fellow staff member, had a baby!! So I will have 10 girls in my peer team this semester, and I am pumped. We will meet every other week all together, and then I meet with each pair of girls weekly to pour into them and support them in their ministry this year. I'll try and get some photos of them so y'all can (virtually) meet them :)

We made it through all the terminology! Hopefully that will be helpful in later blogs, as I will mention these words a lot.

Welcome Week Overview

Thank you to all of you who prayed for our weeks of welcome! We met SO many students who were interested in friendship and community. We did events every day for about 13 days straight. It was tiring but really paid off. It was hard to remember to get pictures, but here is one from one of the game nights we did in the residence halls! 


Prayer Requests:

-We have our Fall Retreat this weekend! We invite all of our students to come and spend their Saturday/Sunday morning at a camp about 45 minutes from UTD. We eat together, fellowship, worship, and hear testimonies from 8 of our students! Please pray that whoever is able to make it will come, that God will prepare all of our hearts for what He wants to do in us this weekend, and that we will come away stronger as a ministry! 

 - COVID is still very much apart of our daily lives, as we are all experiencing. Please pray that we will continue to get to be on campus, and do ministry this year. It has been so sweet and special and we hope to have a full school year of this! Also for the safety of our students and staff, and anyone affected by this terrible virus. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement. I get to do what I do because of you all, and I am so grateful! See you next month! 


Friday, August 6, 2021

First Ministry Blog of the School Year! Woo!

Hello!

Here's what went on since I last wrote to you guys! 

Staff Retreat

If you're new to my ministry blog, FOCUS has ministries at 11 campuses in the DFW area! We have 31 full-time campus ministers and 19 full-time apprentices at these different campuses. It is rare for us all to get to be together since we have such a large staff spread out across DFW. So at the beginning of August, we take a retreat with all of our staff to build our relationships with one another and reset spiritually! We did that this past week and it was so refreshing. I am so blessed to work on a team of people who truly love God and love the students that God uses us to minister to/do life with. 

Our staff director Brandon had a couple of verses on his heart for our staff this year. The first is Galatians 2:20, which says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." This theme of "dying to self" is what we reflected on a lot in our sessions together at the retreat. It sounds so easy to "deny yourself", but is so hard to deny our sinful nature day to day and reflect our Lord's character. The second verse is 2 Corinthians 5:15, which says, "And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." It follows the theme of dying to self, and that we live for Christ and the things of His Kingdom! I want to leave you with a few questions to reflect on and go to God with:

 What are things, people, or situations that you need to bring to the cross? What area(s) is/are hardest for you to deny yourself, and how might God be calling you to give those things to Him? 

A picture of all of our staff in one of our sessions! 


SICM / Weeks of Welcome Prayer Requests! 

This weekend, we leave for a leadership conference with 200 of our students across our campuses. It's called, "Student Institute of Campus Ministry" or SICM for short. This is where we prepare student leaders in our ministries for the first couple weeks of school! There are so many students, especially with this being the first semi-normal school year since COVID, that are desperate for the hope Jesus can give them, along with a solid community they can be a part of after a year and a half of isolation. 

After SICM, we immediately start our "Weeks of Welcome" at UTD. We have events planned for almost every night of those first two weeks to hopefully meet as many students as we can. 

Here are a couple prayer requests that I would appreciate you guys praying for this month! 

-Please pray for these students leaders to be able to soak up as much information at SICM as they can, and that they will feel equipped to go out and preach the gospel/invite people into a Jesus-loving community! 

-Pray for God to prepare the hearts of the incoming students that he wants us to reach. We are so excited to be in person with students again and want to make the most of this opportunity. 

I am so thankful for all of your support, and can't wait to send my next blog with TONS of good news and ways that God worked! 

Love,







Friday, July 9, 2021

Summer Update!

 Hello, all! Sweet summertime is here! 

Summer looks different than it did between college semesters, especially working full-time for a college that has such a long break! Let me lay out how Summer months play out as a full-time campus pastor! 

School lets out in May, which means a lot of the students in our ministry go home to be with their families for Summer break. Some of the students live in this area, but a lot of them live in other areas of Texas or out of state. With a lot of my work hours being dedicated to being on campus and meeting up with students, our Summer hours are allocated towards different aspects of full-time ministry. The biggest responsibility for the Summer is fundraising for the following school year! 

As most of you know, our full-time ministers raise the cost of our salaries in order to have the availability to devote all of our hours towards being on campus with students. During the summer, we have more time to connect with our ministry partners and invite new people to join our teams to partner with us in this piece of God's kingdom. It's a really exciting time! 

We also spend time doing some staff development! All of the women on staff across our campuses meet up once a week for lunch and games to continue to strengthen our relationships. Our women's staff for UTD specifically has been meeting up once a week for that development as well. As a whole, our UTD team has met to start brainstorming about the beginning of the school year and events/things we want to do to engage the campus, especially with things going back to normal post-Covid! We are very excited to be back on campus this year!

The rest of our time is dedicated to students that are in town, checking in on them or doing Focus on Jesus bible studies/book clubs. We also do a large-group meeting every Thursday, with all of our campuses combined! It's a smaller group since a lot of students are home with their families, but it's fun for all of us to get to be together. 

So although I am still working full-time hours, the workload feels more restful and my schedule is more flexible. I really enjoy these months post-May and leading up to August, because I am free to take it a little easier after a busy year before we start ANOTHER busy year. 

August will be here before we know it, and that's when we really kick things into high gear! We host events every night on campus for incoming students, we begin our large group meetings (Friday Night Fellowship), and meet with lots of incoming freshmen to try and give them community early on in their college experience! I love August, but it really is crazy :) 

Please start praying for the hearts of the students coming on campus in August, that they would be open to our community, and that we would be ready to welcome them in and show them Jesus. I can't wait to write my blog a couple months from now with all the good news and awesome things that God does! 

Thanks for your continued support. I couldn't do it without you!!

Here are some pictures from my Summer up to now. :) 

Lots of weddings this summer! This is my handsome boyfriend, Johnny. <3

Me, Mandy, and Sarah enjoying a beautiful castle view in Colorado! 

Got to see my grandparents from out of town! 

Moose enjoying the sunshine, pt 1 :)

My sweet sister got MARRIED! Still celebrating this day! 

Most of my UTD women's team! Me, Lindsey, Mandy, Andrea, and Sarah

My mom, my sister, and I enjoying dinner together! 

My dog, Moose, enjoying the sunshine! Pt. 2 :) 

Love you all!