Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Planting Season Starts Now

The Beginning

And the year is fast upon us! Welcome weeks are the busiest and most fast-paced time of year! Students are moving in and we have this two-week window where everyone is open to making new friends, trying new things, finding new communities. The amount of outreach we can do in these two weeks surpasses what we could do for the next 9.5 months. That's why we hit it hard from morning to night, meeting these new students and encouraging our students to be bold and reach out! And I am so proud to say that so many of our students are answering the call. They are talking to other students at the gym, the dining hall, as they walk the campus. They are coming to our events and welcoming all sorts of strangers into friendship with them. There is no other feeling like going to an event with a hundred people and seeing your co-laborers in Christ right there with you, blessing the people and this campus with the love of Christ. 

80 students showed up for a Bible class on Jonah!

Events


We had events every evening and some mornings and afternoons for the first two weeks of school! Please pray for our students and our staff to keep following up with the students we've met. For so many of the students we've met, it's the first time they've made friends at college. They're showing up and coming out of their hidey-holes after years of social isolation. We're happy to be here to be a part of their college journey!

First Friday Night Fellowship!

Our first Friday night was a great success! God is so faithful is consistently bringing people and maturing disciples to be a light on this campus. We had so many people come to Whataburger after one of our events that the entire restaurant was packed with only our students. 

Prayers

Please pray for God to continue touching hearts and for our students to be faithful with whom they've been given. This year is full of unknowns and we're excited to be a part of it. God is always at work and we're always looking to join him in that. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Summer and Seminary

Seminary Degree

Our SICM students' last day celebration
Some of you know that I've been working on my Masters of Divinity degree for the past four years. But if you haven't, now you do! It's definitely been a challenge to work during the day and night and then study even later at night but I know many of you have gone through that same challenge (and some of you had kids at the same time!) so it's not something I want to complain about! But here I am with only four classes left, and I wanted to thank all of you for supporting me during this time and my parents for funding a lot of this education. The end is in sight!

Some of you have asked me what I'm going to do once I graduate. And the answer is the same thing I've been doing. Campus ministry is where I believe I can do the most good, and I love doing it! This degree has been a blessing by my parents who have pushed and encouraged me to do it, and it provided me an opportunity to bring something to the FOCUS that we didn't yet have. So I've been excited to get to bring the things I've been learning (like Hebrew and Greek) to the table and apply it to my ministry and how I disciple my guys. 

Summer FOCUS

Summer FOCUS!
We've started our summer meetings and they've been off to a great start. We have about 250 students coming from our various campuses to worship and learn together. Many of my guys from my small group this past year who are still in town are coming and catching the vision of a united body of Christ following Jesus together. So please pray that students continue to encourage one another and spur each other on to love and good deeds!

New leaders at UTD next year!

Thank You!

And thank you for all your generosity that keep myself and this ministry going. It's support raising season again, and I always look forward to getting to catch up with so many of you and let you know in more detail what's going on in the ministry. I look forward to getting to talk with y'all, and thank you again so much for being a part of what God is doing here!


Thursday, May 19, 2022

I Got Married!


Married!

So it finally happened! After many years of wondering if I should remain single, many years after that dating Emily, and many months of planning a wedding, Emily and I finally got married! Thank you to everyone who sent a letter, a gift, came out, helped prep the wedding, everything was grace. We are so lucky to have friends like y'all. It was a great week with many old friends coming out to celebrate with us and just feeling so blessed by God and everyone that you would love us enough to sacrifice so much for us. Pray for us as we figure out marriage and ministry together now!

SICM

We're off at SICM (The Student Institute of Campus Ministry) for our annual leadership training in Bellingham, WA! Actually, we haven't been able to do one up here for three years! The last time we were up here was 2019! So it has been such a great way to finish this year with bringing nearly 100 students excited about doing ministry and potentially being leaders next year! God has truly answered prayers this year about finding out footing again and building momentum coming out of the pandemic. Wait until you hear the stories that these guys have and what God has been teaching them this week!

Summer

And now we're heading into the summer months! Pray for healthy students, that we can keep meeting throughout the summer, and that we can build a great student leader team with strong relationships going into the school year. 

Thank You!

Thank you so much for all your support. God has been doing big things in the hearts of these students and in mine. And I wouldn't get to do what I do without your support, so thank you so much!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Almost to the Home Stretch!

 Showcase 2022

We're deep in the Spring Semester! We just finished up our 8th annual Showcase fundraiser. It's that time of year where we're raising funds to send our students to the SICM leadership conference in Washington state! It was the 7th year that I've worked on it and the bar just keeps getting higher and higher each year. The performances are crisper, the show is engaging, you'd never expect a small little campus ministry like ours could pull off a show like this. Over 800 people came and we were able to net over $27,000 to help send our students. What a great gift from God that we have such a generous community to be a part of. If you want to see the show, you can go to anyfocus.org/showcase to catch a recording of it, it's totally free just open to donations.

Student Ministry


Obviously, the other big part of ministry is the relationships! While I know the good and the benefit that comes from being able organize and run big events, the bread and butter of our ministry and what I love most is the relationships I get to build with students. I was talking with one of our students, Sion, a few weeks ago and as we were talking he asked if I remembered when we had met. I told him that I didn't, but as he described who was there it sparked the memory in me. And he even had a picture to prove it! It was over 8 years ago that we had met at a winter camp and I had just come back from a semester in Washington DC my senior year. In that picture is my good friend, Sarah, who I had gone to school with and was now in her first year working with FOCUS at Denton. Since then she has gotten married, had a kid, and is still on staff with us here back at UTD! The guy in the beanie in the back is Drew, who was just an itty-bitty freshman in the picture. He had just joined a core because his girlfriend had told him to. It happened to be the core that I was going to help lead that semester and he was one of the students that I would reach out to study the Bible with. After that year, he would go on to lead core for the next three years at UTD, marry that girlfriend who made him go to core, both of them do the apprenticeship at UTD, and move to Denton where they still serve as campus ministers to this day. You never know what God is going to do with the people he puts in your life. But if you remain faithful you may get to see the fruit that some of them produce. Such an amazing privilege to get to do this on the college campuses!

Thank You!

As always, thank you guys so much for supporting me in this. It's because of you guys that I get to be a part of this. These events and relationships all take an enormous amount of effort but the investment is worth it. Just as I hope you realize that your investment is worth it. People's lives are being changed by encountering our living God who takes our small efforts and does big things with them. So thank you guys so much for all that you do for me and for God's kingdom!




Monday, January 3, 2022

Good News and Bad News

 

The Holiday Season


It's been a great time to spend special occasions with people you love. The biggest one on the list was getting engaged! I knew I wanted to propose to Emily at church because she's grown up in that church since birth and it's a special place for us both with a community that we loved. The tricky part was how to include everyone and also keep it a secret. Thankfully, her mom reminded me that the church was having a kids ministry fundraiser and with the right coordination everyone could be there and not raise suspicion. It went off without a hitch! Some of the guys in my small group got to be there as well and they kept joking with me throughout the day, asking if I was nervous. What a great opportunity to get to spend with these guys. Up next is the wedding!

Thanks and Prayer


Other than that, ministry has been trucking along. I've got some really awesome guys in my small group and we've had a lot of fun together. Here's some pics from our thanksgiving celebration and our Christmas party. Please pray for the COVID situation, as that is throwing a wrench in upcoming plans like staff retreat, Winter Camp, and Showcase. After a long time of avoiding contracting it myself despite many close calls, the sickness did catch up to me. It feels like a nasty cold, but I'm confident in the recovery, and hoping to be ready to go soon! Please be praying and thank you for all your support! Have a happy new year!





Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Beginnings

Hey everybody! It's been a crazy beginning of the year, it feels like I'm on a train that's going 100 mph and there's no sign of stopping!

SICM

We did our first Texas SICM right before school! We had a whole week of training in Camp Eagle right outside San Antonio. About 150 students came to be trained on how to be small group leaders and disciple-makers on campus. What a drastic difference it made to be able to meet together, worship together, and learn together again!

Welcome Week

Which led straight into two weeks of welcome week. For years now welcome week has become weeks of welcome because it takes that long to move everyone in and to put on events for them! It gives us more time to meet people, but it means we have to keep going for longer! Campus is, for the most part, back to normal. Classes are going on in-person, on-campus housing is filled back up, hundreds of people are outside at any given time. There's definitely safety measures begin taken, especially inside, masks and social distancing, but the students are here and they are back in full force. After three weeks of reaching out to students I was able to personally meet and invite over 130 students. Of that 130, about 40 tried out a small group. Of that 40 about 25 are still attending in a somewhat consistent fashion. So about 1 in 5 students have chosen to pursue Jesus in community when they were given the opportunity. Obviously this is just my experience and from my perspective. God is working in people's hearts without us, and I don't get to know whether someone is pursuing him outside of my window into their life. However, it's nice to see how God is blessing the effort that we put in and allowing us to participate in what he's doing! 

Thank You!


This year, I have a core small group of about 10 guys who are the ones I'll be investing in. Thank you so much for your prayers for them. I know that made a difference. I'm excited to be studying the Bible with them. I've already had two say yes to me and I'm going to ask a third tomorrow! Please be praying for these studies as well as our fall retreat this weekend where we'll be getting significant time together. Thank you so much for all your support!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Summer is Ending!

With the old 2007-08 CECV Worship Team!


Visiting some FOCUS alums!

Summer

Hey everybody! Summer is coming to a close! I know for many of you that summer is not much different than the rest of the year. Once you're out of school and/or you have no kids in school, nothing really changes about summer. There's no break, no enforced vacation, no excitement that comes with a break to the school year. 

For us campus ministers, summer isn't a break from work, but it is a drastic change in work! From having meetings and Bible studies with students every day, teaching them about Jesus or building up their leadership, to spending a lot more time preparing for the new school year, planning welcome week and events, raising support, and dreaming/preparing for what God might do this next year. 

It has been a blast getting to see so many of you this summer. With COVID, last year was a bit of a bummer not getting to travel and see you guys. But I'm so glad that this year worked out. Hopefully as things get better, I'll be able to catch up with so many more of you! Summer is really the time to spend time investing in relationships that I don't normally get to in the school year. So much time and energy is invested in these students to prepare them for their year of ministry and for ministry beyond college, that little is left over for the ones outside my immediate sphere. That's why I love the summer, I get to see old friends, catch up with you guys, and see how you're doing. 

SICM

With summer ending, we're fast approaching our very first SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) in Texas! Many of you know that we go to Bellingham, Washington every year to train our students in campus ministry skills and leadership. Unfortunately, that was canceled for this year as well. But we're excited to put one on ourselves for our students this year! But instead of doing it in May, we're doing it in August! We hope that this will bring momentum into the school year and that we'll be able to hit the first weeks of school hard in terms of meeting new students and befriending them! 

Pray

Please pray for the beginning of this school year. It could go any number of ways. UTD is fully open and we are praying for safety and for renewed student life. This past year was a downer for so many of us, and we hope that the incoming students of last year and this year are excited to get involved. Please pray for open hearts and a big sowing season for us. We want students here, and we want a lot of them! 

Thank You!

First time with my niece, Nora!

Thank you guys so much for all your support. Some of you it's your first year supporting me, and I'm so thankful for willingness to start! For some of you it's been many years, and I'm so thankful for your faithfulness. We couldn't do what we do here without you. I couldn't do what I do without you. God is moving here, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. Visiting with you guys is always such an encouragement to me. Your hearts for Jesus, and your relationship with me fills me up as the next school year approaches. I hope you are doing well, and please let me know if there's anything I can do for you or pray for you about!