August

 

Hey everyone!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ministry blog for this last month. It's been a busy month and a lot of stuff has happened. Let's get to it!

I also want to thank you for supporting me prayerfully and financially, making it possible for me to do this this year. I've LOVED getting to reach out to students on campus everyday and I have faith that God is using all that hard work, even though I have not been able to see much fruit yet and sometimes it does not feel like much is happening. The seeds of faith are being planted and there will be a harvest this year!

I talked about this in my last update, but the month started with two weeks of classes on the Old Testament 

    Towards the beginning of classes, one of the pastors in our community described what it was like to closely study the OT by comparing it to tectonic plates shifting under the surface of the Earth. That picture definitely explains what is happening to me as I read, study, and pray through the scriptures. I feel my understanding of God growing and changing as we go through - it's difficult to put into words what I'm really learning. I'm certainly learning a lot, but even more so, it seems like I'm really laying foundation to build on later. 

        I've started two other classes at this point. One of them is with the head pastor of the NE Garland church (Ronnie), which the Focus ministry is associated with - it's just called "Ronnie's Class". He has so much wisdom and experience to offer us younger people, so I'm really excited for that one. One of Ronnie's stated goals for the class is to help us learn how to think, not necessarily what to think, which will be really helpful because of all the unique situations I may come across as a minister. 

    I'm also in a class on evangelism, where we'll be reading a couple different books throughout the week and discussing them in class. One of the books is called "More Ready Than You Realize", which is essentially painting a picture for evangelism that is a lot more about relationship and invitation, and not whatever else (often very negative) associations we might have with the word "evangelism". The other book is called "A Credible Witness". This one is largely about reaching out to people who are different than you (racially, intellectually, socially, economically, etc.). 

(this pic is from us studying together in the church office space)


I've also really loved getting to know and spend time with the Focus team at Collin College!

I don't have any pictures of just the staff team at Collin, but below is a picture of the entire leader team (staff and student leaders) worshiping in a backyard at our pre-year leadership training day. We got together and spent the days teaching new leaders (and reminding ourselves) what it really looks like to facilitate a small group that's focused on Jesus, be faithful to the people God has put into your life, and invite people into our community and more importantly into a relationship with God. 


Speaking of student leaders... 



This is Tony, the guy I get to co-facilitate a small group with this year. He is a super sweet and genuine guy and I've loved getting to know him and do ministry with him so far. I'm not sure why he's holding a stick in this photo, but it's the only picture of us I have (so far - many more to come). He is already becoming one of my best friends and he makes me even more excited about the year ahead of us. Love you, Tony!




Outreach - what does that even mean?

    Especially since Collin College started school on August 24th I've been meeting/ talking to students on campus and inviting them into our community. Most days of the week I go to one of the Collin campuses and just start talking to people. In general, I ask about their lives, find out if they need help with anything, tell them about Focus (and answer any questions they have about it), and then invite them into friendship and community. 
    I've learned that people, especially young people right out of high-school, really want and need friendship right now. College can be a lonely place for many, even when there isn't a global pandemic to think about it. At this point, I've been told by many people that I am the only person who has talked to them individually in their first weeks of college. Even worse, a few people have told me that I am the first human they have interacted with in person for months. My heart breaks for a lot of the students I've been meeting, but the good news is that people are desperate for community and for relationship with God in a way I've never seen before. Reminds me of Romans 8:28!
 

(Here is a picture of some of the events Collin through together (all were socially distanced/ requiring masks). Not many people showed up for some of these, but it still brought some people in)

    
Thanks again for reading through this! It took me way longer than it should have to put together this update because I'm not used to recording/ reflecting on my life in this way. I also feel tempted to try and make it "perfect", which is silly. 
In the future, I plan to get these updates out on the 1st of the month. Sorry to keep you waiting this time!

Here are some things you can be praying about for me:
  • That God would stir something in the hearts of the students that I meet and get to talk to.
  • That our campus pastors would be bold, innovative, and safe as we go try to minister to people during a global pandemic.
  • That I wouldn't grow weary of the work, and that I would be motivated by love to be faithful and care for the students in and not-yet in our ministry. 
  • That God would grow me in wisdom and that I would learn how to better minister to people who are different from me (in terms of personality, background, race, culture, age, etc.). 
PLEASE reach out to me if you have anything you would like to talk about or have me pray for - you may email me or text/ call 713-397-4184. 

    Love you all,

    Joey Thurston


Comments

  1. So very proud of you and your evangelism!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading! Hope you’re doing well!

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  2. Sounds like you are doing good there at school and your blog was excellent and enjoyed reading it . Looking forward to the next one you and your friends stay safe

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  3. Thanks for the update and for spreading the Word of God

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