Friday, November 16, 2018

There in the Ground His Body Lay


As we head into this season of Thanksgiving (and soon Christmas) I'v been reflecting on thankfulness a lot. We have an axiom in our community that we talk about that says, "Thanks never goes without saying". Too often, factors keep us from expressing our appreciation to people for things they've done in our lives. Oftentimes with parents, children have grown up with a sense of entitlement, that their parents have to take care of them, that unfortunately continues into their adulthood. Sometimes, we don't want to admit that we've been helped or that we needed help so we avoid saying thank you and implying our own helplessness. More often than not, our thoughtlessness means we don't even realize or take the time to reflect ton the ways people have helped us. 

But, thank you is such a big deal. For a long time, Brandon would thank me for doing certain things that were part of my job. Thanks for meeting with those guys, thanks for driving to that thing, thanks for taking the time to do that. And I thought it was unnecessary because it was just part of my job. But over the years I've found that the appreciation, even for the things I should already be doing, makes for a much more positive experience. The things I should be doing become the things that I get to be doing. 
I've seen that play out with people who don't say thank you as well. When I serve people over and over without a thank you it really puts a damper on my willingness to serve them anymore. Even when it's just thoughtlessness, it doesn't alleviate the lack of appreciation. 

And we need to find the little things that we should be appreciating as well! That it's so hard to mobilize the group, be thankful that so many students are a part of the group; that it's hard to plan a lesson because everyone is in such a different place in their spiritual journey, be thankful that we're reaching such a diverse group; or one that I often find myself appreciative about: I'm always so busy and I end up having to do tasks not in my job description, but I get to do campus ministry!

I also want to make sure I express how thankful I am for all of you! Because of your prayers and support, I'm able to be a part of this amazing, vibrant community and be a part of God's work here in DFW. I get to have amazing relationships and experience all that God has here for me. Thank you so much and if you are ever in the area, if you ever have a need or a request of some sort, please let me know! 

My parents surprised me by coming to Texas this year. I invited them to Family Night a few weeks ago, and they said that they wouldn't be able to make it because of the price of airline tickets. I was disappointed as this would be my 8th Family Night that I've attended, but I didn't express that. And then the night came around and my parents surprised me by showing up! It was such a great experience to be able to show them the community I've been a part of all these years. And I tried to express how thankful I was that they'd come all the way down here to see me.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Light of the World by Darkness Slain


Emotions. It's a part of life I actively try to avoid. Emotions get in the way of productivity, emotions result in confusion and subjectivity, emotions don't benefit anyone in any way, shape, or form. At least that's what I've convinced myself over the past few years. We have become a culture so infatuated with love as an emotion, or being true to my emotions/feelings, that it's hit a sour note within myself to not be a person ruled by my heart. And that has swung the pendulum the other way. Like most typical American males there are only two emotions: happiness and anger. Any emotion that is not happiness is expressed in anger. But over the past few years, there haven't been many emotions beyond happiness or the occasional frustration, so I didn't realize how big a problem it was until I was confused as all get-out as to what I was feeling this week. Due to a situation in my life, I was overwhelmed with emotion. What emotion? Hard to tell. But that's what made me realize my weakness in this area of life. And especially as we enter the fall season and October Blues, emotions become a big deal in the way we act and relate and our moods overall. Which is why it has been a good (if frustrating) reminder from God that this is one area in my life I need to grow and be transformed in. Emotions do have a purpose. Jesus felt deeply about things, and that affected him. But he used those effects to achieve greater things, they didn't hinder him. How do I help students master their emotions rather than just squash them? 

Fall Camp

In other news, we had our fall camp recently and had a great turn-out! It was slightly showering most of the time, but we still had fun outside and inside. This is typically the time of the year where the students who will stay, stay, and the ones who are flaky, disappear. So please pray as God continues to reveal to all of us the students he wants us to invest in and the ones who will show up as leaders.


I'm now in week three of Seminary and it is a beatdown! So much to read and learn, and so many things to keep track of when enrolled online. There's no professor to tell you exactly what is due the next time you meet up, it's just reading and rereading the syllabus to ensure that you aren't missing anything major. I'm enrolled in a New Testament class and a Vocation and Formation class and I can already tell that the VF class is teaching me so much for my own personal disciplines and growth and providing things for me to teach my students as well. Please pray as I continue to balance working and being a student again!

Thank You!

Thank you all so much for your continued support! Without your generosity, this couldn't happen. Because of you I get to do what I love, and be a part of God's kingdom vision here in DFW. Love you all so much and thanks for your constant prayers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Then Bursting Forth in Glorious Day

Welcome Week

And here it is: Welcome Week. It's one of the busiest times in campus ministry. As many of you have experienced, it's a time when events are daily and new relationships are formed to change lives. These first two weeks of school an atmosphere unlike any other descends on the campus: one where it's not weird to talk to strangers, not weird to tell your life story, and not weird to exchange numbers and build a relationship. It's an atmosphere of openness unlike any other. And we capitalize on it. Every night we have an event that hundreds of students come to because they're looking for friends. Last week we had multiple board game nights, a pool party, zombie tag, and a worship night. Moving forward we still have a field day, our carpool to church, and our fellowship kickoff. Please pray for continued open hearts and energy for our students as many of them are feeling the fatigue from reaching out to so many new students and balancing their own schoolwork and jobs. I am so thankful that we have students who are so bought into the vision of God's kingdom that they are sacrificing so much of their time to make sure everyone can be invited to God's community. 

Planning Events

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

For me, this is also a time of intense work. While I would love to do nothing else than to be a student again and reach out and talk to as many new students as I could, that's no longer what I need to do. I have to think through one priority before I choose to engage in any task: "what are the things that only I can do?" And that isn't entirely accurate, but it encompasses the idea that there are things that lots of people can do: meet new students. We have over 50 student leaders along with many other returning students who are at each of these events meeting new people constantly. What our student leaders can't do is plan an event made for hundreds of people, make it go smoothly, and engender an atmosphere that's conducive to conversation. It's behind-the-scenes work, it's not glamorous, but someone's got to do it. It doesn't mean I don't get to meet students, I get to meet many in fact, but not as many as I used to when my only job was to meet them. But that is what being members of the same body means. Sometimes I get to be the hands, the one who is able to touch others and engage with them. And sometimes I'm the brain, the one who enables the hands to reach out. But without one or the other, all of this becomes extremely hampered. So I do my part with gladness, trusting in others to do their parts as well, and together we all do a better job in expanding God's kingdom. I would encourage you to think about your situation, "what are the things only I can do?" It may be certain people only you have access to, many of you it's probably your families: only you are the father or mother of these individuals, or it might be opportunities to serve that you have the skills or the drive to learn how to do it. No matter what it is, I believe that God's kingdom will be better for it if you prioritize highly the good things He's prepared for you that you are personally equipped to do.

Thank You!

Thank you guys so much for all your support. Fundraising season has wrapped up and I just have a few of you to follow up with and tie things up with a nice, little bow. Through you, God has provided for me for yet another year, so thank you all so much! Because of you, I'm able to do my dream job and work with amazing young adults. I get to witness firsthand the amazing things God is doing here, and I get to be tired doing it =). Please pray for the rest of welcome week and the beginning of the school year: for students to do well and keep up in classes, and to not let a single student slip through the cracks. Please let me know how to pray for you in any way!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Up From The Grave He Rose Again

Continuing with the challenge of speaking more deeply about my life, I want to share two lessons I've learned from my most recent adopted dog, Rachel. She was picked up off the street and probably came from an abusive home before, and she's been very slow to open up to anyone except me. She often shows her fear through growling and barking. She has less control of her bladder than my other dog, Penny, and is just an overall more needy and difficult dog. And all these things pile up, so sometimes I'm tempted to give her back. But I'm reminded that I made a commitment to take care of her, and that adopting her wasn't supposed to be for me, but for her. And that's the first lesson: it's not about me. Sometimes in ministry I'm tempted to drop a relationship because I'm not enjoying it, I'm not getting anything out of it, or this student is just a drain on my time and energy. But then I'm reminded that Jesus didn't enter into relationships to get anything out of it, but to give, and give without expectation of return. I'm sure that many of you have experienced that with your children: giving, giving, giving without much return. There's definitely lots of joy in there, and moments of excitement, but the relationship is not about how much your child can give back to you, because it's not about you. If we can go into relationships with the mindset of Christ: "honoring one another above yourselves" then we don't need to be worried or frustrated when we don't get anything in return. And if we go into relationships without expectation, then God will consistently surprise us with how he provides: close friends, life-giving friends that you never expected, energy-draining friends who become some of your greatest encouragers. He'll take care of our needs much better than we can, we just need to trust him. Which brings me to the second lesson: we need to trust that he'll take care of us. 

Rachel sleeping in her spot
Now I've only had Rachel for two months. Sometimes it feels like I've had her for a long time, but on the whole I really haven't. But with all her barking and disobedience, I finally had enough and had a dog trainer come and teach me how to teach Rachel to not bark anymore. But what he had me do was not anything that explicitly had to do with the barking, but rather to establish rules and trust in this relationship. He said that Rachel barks and has fear because she doesn't trust someone else to protect her. But by establishing rules, and making sure that she understands that she has to listen to me, I show her that I can be trusted to protect her, that when she listens to me she's better off for it, and that everything within my house is under my control. Nothing happens without my say-so. And through that I can then address the barking when I've established a trust relationship that I not only can protect her, I'm willing to protect her. It reminds me of two stories of Jesus: Mark 9 and Luke 5. In Mark 9, a man with a demon-possessed son says to Jesus, "'If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.'" and Jesus responds to him, "'If you can?'...'Everything is possible for one who believes .'" and the boy's father replies, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" And in Luke 5 a leper comes to Jesus asking to be healed and he prefaces it by saying, 'If you are willing..." These are the two things I'm trying to communicate to Rachel, that I can protect her and that I will protect her. 

With college roommate, Kash, for our annual date night
And that's why the second lesson is remembering that he'll take care of us. God has to remind us so many times that he's got it: that he can be trusted, that we're better off when we listen to him, and that everything in this universe is under his control. But so many of us, Christians and non-Christians alike of thinking that God is a judgmental God, a wrathful God, an aloof God. But if we believe that Jesus is the perfect representation of God, that the "mystery of God" is revealed through him, then what he is like is what we should believe God is like. We must remember that God is able to do things like transform lives, calm anxieties and overcome depression, to replace hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. And that God is willing to do all those things for us. That God is not high and mighty, but a God who stepped down into this world because he loved us so much. That he not only can heal your wounds, but wants to. That he's not sitting in his tower waiting for you to fess up to your mistakes and come home tail tucked between your legs, but he's running to you the moment he sees your face. That's our God. One who is able and willing to live and walk alongside us. 

With my favorite little buddy, Lauren
And I'm only able to realize these things because of your support in my mission here. Thank you all so much for supporting me. It has been a very fulfilling and amazing experience to work full-time for FOCUS and help build God's kingdom here in DFW. There's so much planning and changes coming up for the next school year, and I'll tell you all more about it when we get there! It's only because of your generosity that I get to do this, and I am so grateful to all of you for your financial gifts and your prayers. You all mean so much to me, and I hope that you know that you are a part of what we're doing out here no matter where in the US or the world you may be. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

And As He Stands in Victory

I was challenged by one of my supporters and friends this week to start being more vulnerable in my blogs. He said he wanted to hear the "deep thoughts" that occurred behind the scenes. So here's my attempt to bring you all into my inner world. 

Personal Thoughts

For a long time I've wanted to die young. I know, pretty morbid. Twenty-five to 30 years of age sounded about right to me. And if I could, I wanted to go out a hero: saving a stroller from in front of a bus, taking a shot meant for someone else, something that people would remember me by. But this past weekend I got to go to my church's kids camp: Jesus and Me (JaM) Camp. And as I sat at breakfast on the second day I thought, this is an amazing experience. I never went to summer camp as a kid. I didn't know what really to expect beyond having to take care of a bunch of six- and seven-year-olds, and all the work that entails. But as I warmed up to the kids and they to me, and I participated in this adult culture of unconditional love to all of these kids, I started to thank God for allowing me to live long enough to experience this. And that got me to realizing how selfish wanting to die young is: I wanted to be remembered, I wanted to be significant. But I'm only one person in history. And the vast majority of people in history are not remembered for very long. But God remembers each one. And my insignificant actions become significant only because He does something very powerful with them. And now all I want to do is ask God to allow me to live long enough to experience and take advantage of all he has in store for me: blessings like this past weekend and opportunities to serve others like this past weekend was as well. Blessing and enjoyment are not mutually exclusive to being a servant to others, and oftentimes they overlap. Valuable things are costly. And the children that I got to serve this past weekend were so valuable to me, even when we started off the weekend as complete strangers. And every cost of teaching them how to shower, comforting them as they cried, picking up after them and goading them into eating their food was worth it. I can only thank God for giving me that experience and pray that I get to experience that with my own kids one day. But it also opened my eyes to how much God is taking care of us from day one. These kids are experiencing unconditional love from people other than their parents and because of that, they are going to go through life knowing that there are people out there who will love them because they're worth it. The students that I get to interact with daily have various degrees of experiencing that, but have just as much of a need of it as these littles ones do. While I don't typically show my love for them by giving them piggyback rides or accompanying them to the bathroom, the actions I choose to do hopefully communicate the fact that I love them because they're worth it. 


For those of you that I haven't met with this summer yet, I have an announcement to make. Starting this Fall I'll be attending Fuller Theological Seminary to pursue my Master of Divinity degree! I'll be taking their online classes so that I can continue being a campus minister at UTD, but I'm excited to be a student again. Please pray for the time, motivation, energy, and finances to come together as I apply for scholarships and ask for people to continue or start joining my support team for this coming school year. 


And a second announcement: I have adopted two dogs! The brown one is Penny and the black one is Rachel. I'm very excited to be a homeowner. After being a dad, being a dog-owner has probably been my second biggest dream as a child. So, while all my dreams are surrendered to the Lord to do with as He wishes, I'm glad He has at least allowed me to fulfill this one. Penny is perfect, but Rachel is still very rough around the edges as she came from a rescue organization and most likely has experienced a life of abuse. So it will take a lot of time and effort to get her to trust people, but I have confidence she will one day!

Thank You!

And so thank you to everyone who I have been given the opportunity to be your friend. Thank you for your support, thank you for your love, thank you are everything. I thank God every time I think of you, and the privilege He has given me to serve Him full-time, and that He has placed in my life so manny good friends, mentors, and people who love me. Many of you are those very adults who showed a little boy that people other than his parents unconditionally loved him. And when that boy became a campus minister, you showed up again when he asked you to consider supporting him. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me. I love you all so much. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sin's Curse Has Lost Its Grip On Me


I wanted to do some reflecting as I finish up my third year as a campus minister. It has been a really wild ride that has had its major surprises. I'm in a place where I didn't expect to be even after I had decided to be a full-time minister. I didn't think I'd be in Dallas long-term, I didn't expect to be a homeowner or a dog owner, and I didn't expect to have my life, personality, and who I am to be so radically transformed by Jesus even after I thought the years of rapid growth and change were behind me. He has made me into a better servant in my relationships and with my roommates especially, a much more open person who is willing to let others in and invest myself in others, and one who is earnestly seeking to learn and grow in Him. I get to watch my boss, Brandon, get married and be his best man, when really it has been him who has pursued deep friendship with me over and over again for the past seven years. One of my friends told me just recently that he still remembers when he was a student and would follow Brandon's blog. When I decided to be an intern with FOCUS, Brandon mentioned how excited he was to have me on staff on his blog. Being here was never part of my plan, I wanted to be a lawyer and make six or seven figures a year, but God knew what He wanted me to do. And now there's no money that you could pay me to make me to go back and pursue that dream again. 

Just this past week we took over 100 students to the Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM) as we do every year. But this was the first year that I decided to take a seminary course at Regent College in Vancouver, BC and that I was living in the FOCUS guys house with nine students. I have absolutely loved going to class every morning and learning from Iain Provan, an amazing teacher and disciple of Jesus. But on Wednesday, I finally got some time to hang out and talk to some of the guys at night, just to get to know their stories and how they ended up with us. One of the guys, David, asked me if I had ever been filled with the Holy Spirit, and I was confused and answered the best I could. But after some follow-up questions, I realized that he was really wrestling with understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So I got to have a great conversation about my thoughts and the things I still ask God about regarding His Holy Spirit. We were also able to rope in another guy, James, into the conversation and get to hear his thoughts and background on the topic. After that night I felt so encouraged by the good questions they were asking and earnest seeking after God that I thought, "this is why I do this, this is why I love my job." To be a part of these guys' formative years, and to be able to play a role in it, there's nothing else that compares. I know this is where God wants me to be. I know I'm imperfect, I know there's so much I don't know how to do, but He's still working through all of that. In the end, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than where God wants me to be. 

We also got to witness two baptisms at SICM this year. One of them was Charlie, a guy who was part of our house and someone I recently started studying the Bible with a month before the trip. He's been very inquisitive and a deep thinker, and I'm so proud that he had the humility to rethink his conviction and his preconceptions about baptism to make the decision to be all in. The other was a guy from Arlington that has been studying with my coworker and friend, Austin. The kingdom of God is so much bigger than any one of us and I'm so happy to have been able to witness some of the fruit of another's ministry.

Thank You!

And I would not be able to do any of this if it weren't for your generosity. Because of you and your continual support for this mission, I'm able to be where God wants me to be. I'm able to be in a place of constant harvest and encouragement. I expect that someday we will also experience the dry season, but I will always consider it pure joy to suffer for the Lord. Thank you all so much for your consistent encouragement and support for me. I hope to see many of you soon.

Friday, April 20, 2018

For I am His, and He is Mine

Student Spring Impact

Well, it finally came and went. We had a week-long evangelism outing with student from Washington. It definitely started out a little slow, poor weather meant less traffic and made it harder to initiate conversations. No doubt good things still came out of it, but it didn't match up to previous years in terms of turnout. But as the sun came out in the middle of the week, so did the moods and attitudes of all the students on campus. We unveiled a nine-square-in-the-air game, and one of our students said that he got more numbers through playing that than he had ever gotten during any other event. The Washington students also commented on how much fun and how much resolve they gained from it going back to their own campuses. God does amazing work even as we may get discouraged. He knows what He's doing, and will get done what He wants to get done, all we need to do is surrender to His will.

Spring Showcase

And finally, the project I spend the most time stressing and worrying about every year: Spring Showcase! It was great to see some of you come out for that! With about 1,000 people coming to the show, running it is always a stressful deal. But we had a lot of great acts, lots of great people who helped and volunteered, and as always in the end it was amazingly successful. The event raised over $20,000! It's only because of supporters like you that we could ever pull this off, whether you came or not, your support allows me to work on things like this. We already have talks on how to make next year's even bigger and better. All of the proceeds go to paying for students to attend SICM, the leadership conference we have in the summer. And this much money will go a long way for that. And if you weren't able to make it, I'm sorry that you missed out on my group's amazing country performance.

Thank You!

As always, thank you all for being beside me throughout this time. Whether you've been with me for a couple months, or since the beginning almost three years ago, thank you. Thank you for believing in me, for believing in the work we're doing here, and investing in college students' lives. I have faith that as long as we stick with it, God will multiply our investment in lives around the world.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Bought with the Precious Blood of Christ

Pizza Theology

We had our second semester Pizza Theology on Jesus' Second Coming. And as you can tell by the picture, we had a pretty packed house. Take a second to imagine almost 500 college-aged students willing to drive long distances to attend a four-hour, sit-and-take-notes type of lecture on a spiritual topic. It's not something that happens often, and outside of seminary students, maybe ever. But that's why I love this community. They're people who will go on to lead lives in the workplace, have families, live in the city, the suburbs, the country, and have this strong foundation of thinking critically about, and relating intimately with, God and his people. That's a transforming movement right there.

Spring Showcase

Coming up real soon is our annual Spring Showcase. It's a fundraiser to help send our potential student leaders to our leadership training conference up in Bellingham. The cost of a week-and-a-half up in Washington state with plane tickets ends up being about $700 per student, which is not something every one of them can afford. So we as a staff and community put our time and effort into helping those who need the help. Ministry leadership shouldn't be just for those who can afford it. So if you want to see a show with professional-caliber musicians, dancers, and more, then mark your calendars for April 7th. We have two shows, one at 3pm and one at 7pm with an art sale in between starting at 5:30pm. You don't want to miss this, trust me. 

Prayers and Thanks

Please pray for this next week as we enter our Student Spring Impact Week. We have a crew of students from Western Washington University who are going to be spending their spring break here to help us evangelize to our campus. Pray for good weather, good conversations, and for God's will to be done. 

And thank you all so much for your continual support. As the end of the year fast approaches I'm looking forward to having the time to spend some time with many of you again!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

No Guilt in Life, No Fear in Death

Social Justice

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-30

One of the topics this generation is particularly passionate about is social justice. And yet the church culture as a whole has started to separate our "personal" walks with Jesus and the practice of justice. We wanted to preach to our students how near to God's heart the poor, oppressed, the widow, the orphan, and the foreigner are. Justice is not about doling out due judgment, but about lifting up the low and speaking truth to power, just as Jesus did. The series hit close to my heart as community service and combating racial discrimination have always been passions of mine. And it was so great being able to share with the community a call to bring justice to this world until He returns.

Science and Faith

We've now dove deep into our next series exploring the relationship between science and faith. It has been amazing listening to Sirak preach on the questions that science can and cannot answer and the questions faith can and cannot answer. We are literally overflowing in the room we meet in, not a single chair is empty and people are bringing in chairs from other rooms or sitting on steps listening. This is still such a relevant topic and has divided even the church on whether science and faith are at odds or complements to each other. There is a hunger in believers and seekers alike to know the Creator and how he relates to his creation. I saw at least a dozen new faces at our last meeting, please pray for these new individuals that they may find the life-giving water they may not know they're looking for.

Thank You!

Thank you all so much for your continued support. Without you, not only would it be much more difficult financially to do what I do, but also emotionally and mentally. Knowing that you all have my back is an enormous support. I often tell my students about how much I love fundraising because it gives me the opportunity to build relationships with all of you, and I mean it.


On a personal note, my grandmother died a few nights ago. Please pray for comfort for my family and particularly my parents as they deal with the necessary things in Taiwan. Thankfully my grandmother was a Christian and we know that she is getting to see Jesus face-to-face before we do. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

This is the Power of Christ in Me


Wearing crowns because we're British now
Thank you guys so much for caring about me and praying for my holiday season. It meant a lot to hear from you. Our Christmas ended up going well. We skyped most of our family in the morning, minus the mom and dad who were with our grandma in Taiwan. And then we were welcomed into one of my friend and coworker's house for Christmas lunch. Our first Christmas as a segmented family went off as well as we could have hoped. 

Corefa Class

Taking notes in corefa class
To get ready for the semester we get all our corefas back to prepare for the new year. This time we brought in a psychiatrist from the Meier Clinic to help our students better understand mental illness, the causes, and the different ways to treat it. It was helpful to hear from a professional, one with a Christian perspective, how he views mental illness in its physical and spiritual facets. He also explained the effects of certain medicines and when he chooses to prescribe them and how he chooses to wean people off of them or keep them on indefinitely. As anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts plague this generation, our leaders face these challenges more and more. Whether it's within themselves or in their groups, the problem is pervasive and we want to equip our students to be able to handle those situations with grace and understanding.

Winter Camp

From on-stage
Look at everybody!
And finally, we kicked off our semester with our annual Winter Camp. This is the biggest event we put on all year with all of our campuses joining together for four days of retreat. As with most retreats we have services with worship and guest speakers. This year we had Geoff and Jessica Mumley from Campus Christian Fellowship at Western Washington University come and talk to our students about being sent ones. What makes this conference different is our community, how much they love each other how much they look out for each other, and how anxious they are to build new relationships and build on old ones across these campuses. It's a time for them to get a vision bigger than themselves, bigger than their small groups, and bigger than any individual campus. If our mission is to establish a ministry on every college campus in the DFW Metroplex we're going to need a lot more hands and a lot more laborers in his vineyard. Pray for students to continue catching the vision and considering that God could be calling them to a life of vocational ministry. Pray for students rising to leadership and accepting the opportunity God has given them in their college years. And pray for students who are finally taking the chance to be a part of this community and experiencing the blessings God has poured out to us.

Thank You

Our UTD Staff
Thank you all so much for your constant support. This past summer our FOCUS staff had a CRU minister come and share with us his wisdom on support-raising. He said a curious thing, would you rather have 30 donors giving for your salary or one? While it makes logical sense to not have one donor to whom you would be beholden to, what about one vs. 300 or one vs 3,000? Would I not rather have to keep track of one person than hundreds? Well this year, God has surprised me in this arena, as if to teach me something. So many of you have come out of nowhere to support me. Some without me asking, some with just a few words, and all with such joy when choosing to give. Now, without a doubt I would choose the many over the one because that means there are 3,000 people who are willing to sacrifice some of what they have for me. That is something beyond any amount of money, so thank you all so much for being in my corner and believing in the work God is doing here.