Man, what a school year! I'd like to start with a reflection.
I preached for our Friday night "Deep Dive" about a month ago. The prompt was about making and keeping promises/commitments. One of the things that came up in my preparation for the sermon that I've been reflecting on is that God’s very identity is a promise to us. Exodus 3:13-14 says, “Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
If you’re like me reading that you might ask “What the heck is he saying, 'I am who I am'?” So I read a commentary that helped me understand a bit more what God is saying here. "What should I tell them, who is sending me?" The first word of that phrase is 'eyeh', and it's a state of being verb followed by what it is. So 'eyeh' followed by an action can be, “I am.. feeding the sheep.” or “I am.. building a house.” It’s a state of being. But alone by itself, it means that God is, period. "I AM" is the ultimate statement of self-sufficiency, self-existence, and immediate presence, not contingent on any outside factors. He is, regardless of the situation, time, place, or environment. He is with us always, and that is a promise. He made a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” He didn’t explicitly say that it was a promise, but he says “I will…” He is making a declaration. His yes means yes. In Genesis 17 he tells Abraham that Sarah will have a child in her old age. He tells the Israelites in Exodus 6:5-6, “Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.” And throughout the narrative of Scripture despite their sin and even disbelief in Him at times, He continues to make promises to his people. It is in His identity, His character, to make and keep promises.
This year has been a year of uncertainty with the COVID pandemic in many ways, including ministry. At the beginning of last summer, we had no idea what the campus would allow us to do. Then at the beginning of the school year, we were told we couldn't even be on campus or have our students be at any off-campus events for our organization. It was hard to see how God would work and move on campus without us getting to be there physically. But God is I AM. He has always been with us, walking alongside through every speed bump, twist, and turn. In moments of uncertainty, I never doubted that God was there because He is a promise-making and promise-keeping God. And he's never given me a reason not to trust Him!
I wanted to start with that because it has really ministered to me and given me comfort in situations that I am not in control of. It has become my prayer that I will reflect God's character in this way to those around me. I hope it ministers to you in some way!
Without further ado, this is how the end of the school year went!
We hosted an end-of-year party for our students and it was so fun! We had games, karaoke, tie-dying, and hosted a majority of it outside or in a building that was vented. We had a great turnout, and it was awesome to celebrate with them. This school year, I led a peer team of 8 girls (4 pairs of Core leaders). 2 of my amazing girls led a core online all year for girls who were spread out all over Texas, and were not in the DFW area themselves. But, they came in town for the party so we got to be all together for the first time all year! It was super sweet, and I am so blessed that God allowed me to do life and ministry with them this year :) (One of my girls, Anna, got a job and moved home this semester. We included her by taking a picture with a picture of her, shown below)
|My babies! Elaine, Jessica, Carolina, Hannah, Michaela, Megha, me, Jolene|
|Posing with our picture of Anna!|
I mentioned above that one of my girls moved home this semester. I ended up taking her spot and leading core with Megha, who is in my peer team. We had so much fun together! Megha was in my core last year, so it has been really special to see God work in her this year. We did our last core at my favorite boba tea place, "Sweet Hut". These girls hold a special place in my heart!
|Left to Right: me, Morgan, Perri, Megha, and Meliz!|
UTD Staff 2020-2021
Can't talk about the end of the school year without talking about my wonderful coworkers. Here is a photo of my team! All of these people have worked so hard to give our students a meaningful, positive experience this year. Brandon, Mandy, and Peter are our fearless leaders, who I respect and admire greatly. Rhett, Sarah, and Victoria are so fun to work with, but also so wise. It's been very encouraging to work with them and get to know them. Cort did the apprenticeship with me last year, and it's been so fun to get to do this crazy year with him. Lindsey, Jacob, and Andrea are our apprentices for the year! They did this whole thing in a COVID year and did SUCH a great job. I'm proud to call all of these people my friends!
|Left to Right: Brandon, Lindsey, Peter, Victoria, Sarah, Jacob, Mandy, Andrea, Cort, me, Rhett|
- Pray for our students to have a restful, safe summer as they travel back to wherever they are from.
- Pray for next school year, that we would be able to do more to serve our campus and that god would prepare the hearts of the students He wants us to meet!
- Pray for our 2021-2022 Student Leader team, that we would prepare them well for this coming school year after having such a weird year this past year.
- Pray for my support raising this summer, that God would prepare the hearts of people who He brings to mind for me to ask to join my team.
I love you all! And thank you so much for supporting me. I could not do what I do without you!