Thanks for taking the time to read my September blog!
I just want to say thank you so much for being on my support team and allowing me to do campus ministry this year. I've been reflecting on just how much of a blessing it is to be able to work hard at something that is important and life-changing. I thank God for all of you!
Here's what I've been up to...
This is (part) of the small group that I've been helping lead this year so far. We meet at a park in downtown Plano every week on Fridays at 1 pm. I really love these guys and I'm so glad that they've invested some of their time into this community. They come from very different backgrounds and have diverse personalities, which can make pastoring them more challenging, but honestly I think our diversity seriously enriches our experience as we try to push each other to be more like Jesus.
(Pictured from left to right: me, Tony, Ben, Nathan, Logan.
Not pictured: Collin, Dylan, and Arthur)
I want to spotlight Logan this month (he's the one furthest to the right in the core picture).
Logan grew up in church and has called himself a Christian for quite awhile now. He's one of the only people I've met who took the initiative to get plugged in with Focus before he ever met anyone from the ministry, and I'm so glad he did. He's one of those guys that knows the "christian answer" to a lot of questions, but hasn't thought more deeply/ personally about many things... yet! Recently, we were discussing the topic of suffering at core. Afterward, I asked Logan what he thought about the discussion and he told me had never really thought about suffering before, but he wanted to learn more about how suffering should play into a Christ-followers life - a great question for us all to think about! I'm excited for what God is doing in him this year. Please pray with me that he would take the challenge to serve Jesus seriously and be a disciple that seeks to make more disciples.
I'm still trying to reach students on campus. I think the theme for this last month with outreach was "innovation". I spent a good amount of time trying to think of new ways to reach out to students - this led to sign making, playing a game called Spikeball, and playing Hacky Sack among other things.
I didn't take many pictures of myself, so here's some of other people:
This is sweet Adriana, another pastor in our community,
asking students if she can pray for them.
This is Pedro, an amazing guy who I look up to,
talking with a student at the Collin Spring Creek campus.
The sign pictured says "I'm a campus pastor. Want to talk? Let's Chat!"
There have been encouraging moments with outreach this month, but it's been hard for me. It's getting increasingly difficult for me to spend a lot of time just walking up to and talking to students on campus because less and less people are interested/ receptive and honestly it can be pretty draining for me. Partly, I think I've been impatient - just wanting God to lead me to people that won't "waste my time" by not immediately joining the ministry. What a terrible attitude! Please pray for my outreach ministry (and my attitude towards it at times). God's been teaching me that I shouldn't be focusing on only the fruit that I can see. Instead, I should trust that He is working in ways I don't understand. Makes me think Isaiah 55:8-9!
“'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the Lord.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"
I'm really loving my classes! Surprisingly to me, the classes I get to take have been my favorite part of what I get to do lately. I think that's partly due to the other apprentices. They have become some of my favorite people and I'm so glad I get to see them throughout the week.
Here are some things I've been learning:
- God cares so much about people who are powerless and defenseless. In story after story He shows up for the people that no one else would show up for.
- His creation was made good - He meant for us to love and enjoy the things He made. I'm starting to think of eating good food, walking in nature, and hearing pleasant music as acts of worship to Him.
What God is doing in my heart...
Honestly, this past month God has revealed to me a lot of ways that I fall short and miss the mark. In all of this though, God is very clearing teaching me about His grace, that He still loves me literally no matter what I do, and that this true for ALL people. These are lessons that I thought I already knew, but I've had to humble myself over and over again as I've learned just how good God really is.
God is also forming me into someone who is truly dedicated to being a life-long learner. He's shaping my heart to desire not just what's good, but what's best for all things. I guess what I mean is that I've been focused on learning and preparing myself to be a better minister in the future. This is helping me to accept myself and my flaws even more. Because I don't need to be good - God is the one who is good - I just allow Him to use me and try my best!
Things I could use prayer for:
- That more scripture would be written on my heart and that I would minister through the Word.
- Pray for all the students I come in contact with, that I might represent Jesus well to them.
- Pray that I would get adequate rest as the year goes on and gets busier and busier.
Thanks again for checking out my blog this month! I really appreciate all the prayers and support.
Love you all!
This is the testimony of one of the students in our ministry. Check it out!