Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dancing Through September

Happy Fall! September came and went so quickly. So many good things were packed into this past month.

Labor Day Fun

As a treat for Labor Day, Mandy and Brandon (directors for UTD Focus) planned a day on the lake with some bald guy. Plot twist: that bald guy is my cool and awesome dad! We went out and tubed/wake-surfed for a few hours and had a great time. I'm so thankful to JVR for giving up his morning to take us out, and for Mandy and Brandon treating us to a day off on the lake.

The Greatest Love Story

Our Old Testament class continues to be one of my favorite things about this experience. We are almost through with the whole Old Testament! One thing that prompted me to do the apprenticeship was the classes and the opportunity to study God's word academically. I have always loved to read, from the time I was really little. Most of my personal library includes fiction works like Harry Potter, Hunger Games, etc. I love getting pulled into a good story, a new world with plot twists, betrayals, and/or romance. I remember having a conversation with Mandy (my friend, and supervisor this year) and her telling me that the Bible is a narrative much like the ones I like to read. My response? "Yeah, right. The Old Testament is full of laws and death and a wrathful God." <---- That was what I believed about the Old Testament before I started reading it for myself. It didn't take long before I started to believe Mandy's statement. Turns out there are plot twists, betrayals, and romance within the pages of the Bible! I couldn't believe it. There are characters with very real flaws and issues. Some examples: a brother who kills out of jealousy and discontentment; a father who is willing to kill his own son, and at the last second is told that his faith has saved his son's life; a son who tricks his father into giving him his brother's birthright; a man who falls in love with a woman on a roof, and has her husband killed so he can covet her for himself; a group of people who are saved from slavery, and turn to worship idols rather than the God who delivered them. These stories are scandalous. The crazy thing is that they aren't fiction, and these people really lived and acted in these ways! Tears filled my eyes as I read about how God returned to His people over and over and over again. I realized I am reading the greatest love story that's ever existed, and that that radical love extends to me too! I am able to parallel the disobedience and betrayal of the people in the Bible to my own sin and disobedience. I am met by the same grace and love that those people experienced. It has made the Bible come to life for me. My preconceived notions that I had of the Old Testament have been broken down and replaced with a new hunger to read and learn more. I would encourage those of you reading to dive into big chunks of the Old Testament. Look up words you don't know, read commentaries, listen to audio classes. I don't think you'll regret it... I certainly don't, and I am looking forward to this way of reading and studying Scripture shaping how I read Scripture for the rest of my life. 

Fall Camp!!!!

Okay, Fall Camp is basically a 22-hour, overnight retreat that we take our students to. We have worship sessions, student testimonies, tons of snacks, a DANCE PARTY, and good quality time with our Cores (small groups). All of that means that Fall Camp is basically the best weekend for developing deeper friendships and diving into the community so soon into the school year! Ten of my Core gals were able to come, and it was a blast. It was neat to see the whole FOCUS ministry at UTD come together and learn more about God together, while also having so much fun during free time (Gaga ball, Ultimate Frisbee, bracelet making, snacking... all the good things). We also had our dance party on the night of the 21st of September, so it made listening to "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire really come to life. 

Core picture at Fall Camp!
My sweet friend and co-leader Emily

Got to see my sweet sis at Fall Camp!

More Friends!

Sarah, Susan, Jessica, and Cathryn at church. Love these sweet Core friends!

Kim was not happy about me taking her pic mid-bite, but she's just so cute

I got Taylor semi-addicted to my fav boba place, Sweet Hut!

Prayer Requests:
-Continued prayers for my Core, and that Emily and I are able to facilitate great, Godly discussion/friendships.
-That I would continue to open my heart to God and learn everything He wants to teach me.
-For God to continue to use FOCUS on UTD's campus to bring people to Him for His glory and not our own. 
-For all the apprentices (12 of us) as we continue pushing through the semester and rest of the school year. It can be exhausting and overwhelming at times, but we are all learning and growing immensely. 

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. I couldn't do this without it!
All my love.