Friday, August 16, 2019

Let's Get This Party Started

Hello Friends!

It feels surreal to have finally started the apprenticeship after so many months of anticipation! I am so excited to start this new adventure and see what God does in and through me in the next ten months. 

My first day picture

My sweet friend/roomie Ashley.. so excited to do this with her!

We started on August 1st and hit the ground running. Our first couple of days consisted of orientation and beginning our reading of the Old Testament. (More on that later!) That weekend, we left to go on a staff retreat with our UTD team. We were able to to read through a leadership book and talk about some logistics for the school year, but the bulk of it was spent building relationships and getting to know each other better. I am so blessed to work with incredible people who have such a heart for Jesus and the students on UTD’s campus!

Our UTD 2019-2020 Team

Our UTD Team... but with some personality

Erin and I were obviously very focused on our reading
We got back after a couple of days and started our “reading days.” I mentioned earlier that we had started reading the Old Testament. One of the things that attracted me most to the apprenticeship was the classes and reading that we complete. I LOVE to read (mainly sci-fi/fiction… where my Harry Potter fans at?) but have never had a passion or love for the Word. I recognize the importance of reading Scripture but have never prioritized or gotten into it. Over the course of the next ten months, we will read the Bible in its entirety, along with supplementary textbooks and other theological books. We also have classes on the Old Testament, New Testament, Body Stewardship, Evangelism, the Holy Spirit, Financial Stewardship, New Testament, Eschatology… just to name a few. About 20 hours of our typical work week will be spent taking these classes with different FOCUS staff members, along with reading for their classes. I am SO excited to learn more about God and His character, as well as open up conversations about some of the topics I listed above.

All of that to say, our reading days consist of Old Testament, a textbook that goes in-depth about literary analysis, background, and etc on every book in the OT, AND some Old Testament lectures taught by a theology professor at Regent College. We have been up here at the church building from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday-Friday, for the last two weeks! We have also had a two-hour class almost every one of those days with Brandon, the Director for UTD FOCUS (and FOCUS as a whole… he’s a big deal), to unpack what we are reading, ask questions, and discuss. The days are long, but the impact of what I have read so far is even more long-lasting. Reading Scripture in such big chunks, as well as going deeper with the textbook reading and audio lectures, has helped me see the Bible story more as a narrative. One of my most consistent thoughts throughout reading has been, “Hold up… I didn’t know THAT was in the Bible.” Some of these stories are CRAZY! But the more I read, the more I fall in love with God. He was SO faithful to these people who were running so far from Him. At the smallest sign of repentance, He was quick to forgive and come to their aid. It has made me reflect on my own life. How God has walked so faithfully beside me. I am very excited to continue reading and learning about this God I serve. 

Distracting Ashley and Erin with pics

Our Weeks of Welcome started this week… Whoop! FOCUS puts on events every night this week and next week to give us an opportunity to meet people on campus. We play board games, have Field Days, play board games, walk freshman to class, board games, Zombie Tag, and MORE BOARD GAMES (If you didn’t notice, board games are a hit). This is a super exciting time filled with lots of students to meet, names to remember, and Spark/Iced Coffee. 

Please keep UTD, and FOCUS specifically, in your prayers! These are our busiest weeks of the year, and the time that we can be most successful in meeting people on campus. Pray for God to open the hearts of students that are looking for community, and for us as a team to have our eyes open to where God wants to lead us. Pray for our stamina as we have many late nights and early mornings ahead. Pray for God’s will to be done and for us to be an extension of His love to the people that we encounter. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me up to this point, in big ways or small. It means so much to me!! I’ll be posting these blog updates on the first of every month, so stay tuned :)