Thursday, September 12, 2019

Mama, We Made It (through August)


September is here! I can't help but think of the song, "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire anytime I say September. (You all know you do it too!)
The month of August really flew by. So many neat things have happened since I last wrote. 

Core
In FOCUS, we call our small groups “Cores” because we believe that they are the core of our ministry. Our combined fellowship meetings are great,
but it’s easy for people to feel intimidated by the number of people. It may keep them from being vulnerable in group discussion, or not want to get
involved because of shyness. That’s what makes Core so important. They are our gender-specific small groups that meet weekly and do life
together. Of course, we talk about Jesus... We learn more about Him, dive into Scripture, and may even watch some Bible Project Videos
(If you don’t know what the Bible Project is, Google it. You’re welcome). But what is so transformative about Core is the vulnerability that is
cultivated by people opening up and sharing week after week. In one of our classes, we talked about how we typically present very “packaged”
versions of ourselves. We can present a very put-together image of our lives, whether it be on social media or even in conversations with people.
We can fool anyone with our packaging, and hide so well what is really going on underneath. When I think of Core, I think of a place that people
can present their “unpackaged” selves, and share what is really going on in their lives. It is scary and intimidating to be vulnerable with our sin and
struggles when we know how much of a mess we are under the pretty packaging! But there is power and freedom in vulnerability, and it is so neat
to experience that with our Core girls! We started Core at the end of August, and BOY DO I ALREADY LOVE THEM! I am leading with a sweet gal
named Emily, who I have actually known since I was a child. We grew up in the Northeast Church together, playing and having sleepovers with our
sisters. When the Wylie Northeast Church planted and left our Garland Church, she and I lost touch and didn’t get to see each other. Now, all these
years later, we are getting to lead Core together and get to know each other as adults. It is such a sweet experience! She makes me laugh and
brings out the less serious side of me. I can’t wait to see how our friendship grows over the school year. :)
We have had three Cores since we started, and have had 10-15 girls come every time! WOAH! God is so good! The best part is that our girls
already show genuine care for each other, and are developing friendships within the group. In the three weeks they have known each other, they
are opening up and sharing life together. It is SO encouraging. 

Me and some girls in my Core!

One of my core girls made cookies, so I made them all pose with them. Thanks, Jessica!

First FNF (Friday Night Fellowship)
Every Friday, we have FNF. It is our time of corporate worship and fellowship with our UTD community! We actually offer two services throughout the week: Friday Night Fellowship and Tuesday Night Fellowship. I have been placed on the FNF team this year, and am super excited! This is such a cool time for the students to interact with one another, and see that they are not alone on campus. It consists of praise and worship, a sermon with some discussion time, and fellowship afterward. The picture below is from our first service of the semester... CRAZY! It was overwhelming to see so many college students spending their Friday night worshipping God. I couldn't help but reflect on my years in FOCUS, and how impactful this ministry has been. I am so thankful to get to serve this school year, and being at FNF made me even more pumped!
Worship at FNF

Classes

We are finally on a regular schedule for our weekly classes. Right now, we are taking classes on body stewardship, evangelism, Old Testament,
ministry essentials, and even “adulting”! These classes have already reshaped a lot of my thinking about these subjects, and have made me reflect
on how I can grow. It is cool to get to sit in these discussions with all of the apprentices and hear how we all grew up thinking about these concepts.
It’s opened my eyes to just how thankful I am that God uses us to do His work. Despite coming from all different backgrounds and ways of life, we all felt called by God to spend these next 10 months serving in college ministry. We are such a diverse and complex group of weirdos, united by one mission...that is so cool to me! I am continually blown away by God’s goodness and faithfulness. 

Here are a few more pictures from this month!

Planning Core with Emily

Me and my sweet roomie Ashley

Hanna, me, and Ash posing' at Torchy's after FNF

PRAYER REQUESTS:
- Pray for the girls in our Core; that Emily and I would be able to facilitate a time for us all to share our unpackaged selves.
- Pray for UTD and the ministry we are doing; that we would be able to show Christ on our campus everywhere we go
-FALL CAMP! We have a fun opportunity coming up at the end of the month called “Fall Camp”. We take our UTD ministry
to a camp in the Metroplex and have a retreat, with worship, student testimony, and lots of free time for bonding! Pray that God would start
preparing the hearts of those going and that whoever He wants to be there will be there.

Thank you all so much for your continued support. I am having a blast, and couldn’t do it without you guys! Until next month :)