Friday, October 6, 2017

Settling In

Last month, I shared my thoughts about how new I was to everything around me.

While this month has not been a particularly easy one, I've been able to see the seeds of ministry and friendship that had been planted over the last two months begin to grow. I didn't realize how much I had needed to settle into friendships and into God's peace until I experienced those things again in Denton.

Fall Camp
The group picture of students at Fall Camp. Such a fun and God-loving group of students. I'm the white dot in the third window from the right. Hey there.

     Twice a year, FOCUS sends their students to a camp ground in Texas to spend an extended amount of time together getting to know one another, worshiping the Lord, learning, and just plain having fun. The first of those two camps is Fall Camp.

     Our theme for Fall Camp this year was the same as our theme for FOCUS as a whole this year: Send Me. We had several students share stories of how they were faithful to God's call, often in ways that were completely unexpected, but also completely unglamorous. It was a useful and poignant reminder to see how God can work through our confused, reluctant to decisions to follow His call. It was also an important reminder that we don't always understand what God is doing through our faithfulness to His callings, even as we are in the midst of following them.

A number of our students playing a game on a field. God blessed us with some surprisingly good weather for a September afternoon in Texas.

     Each Fall Camp, we also have a two hour worship night with our students. Getting to worship with these students while also observing them worship was an incredible blessing. The things I saw and stories I heard of students praying for one another, encouraging one another, and worshipping God more fully and intently than they were used to remind me of what the Holy Spirit can do when a group of people is gathered together to worship God. At the end of the worship night, I realized that I was the most at peace I had been in months. In a season of life marked just as much by anxiety as by growth, this was a much-needed time of rest.

Peer Team
Two guys from my peer team named Drew and Alex. They're pretty brilliant.
     Probably the most consistent blessing and area of leadership growth for me has been in my time with my peer team guys. They are an amazing group of 8 hard-working, God-loving student leaders, and it has been an amazing experience to get to speak into their lives. Like any of us, they all have their strengths and weaknesses, but God has worked very dynamically through their individual willingness to put their strengths to work for the Kingdom and to grow in their weaknesses rather than hold onto them as part of their identity. Imagine the humility it takes to choose to be mentored by someone who is almost the same age as you. 

Two more peer team guys- Bekwele (left) and Ivan (right). Ignore my weird pants. It's a Denton thing.

     These guys have certainly taught and encouraged me more than I have taught and encouraged them. Several of them have taken the time to take me aside or text me to encourage me.


    Imagine eating a delicious, nourishing meal, but every time you finish something on your plate, someone comes and adds 4 more courses. That's what classes are like in the FOCUS Apprenticeship. But a good minister is a good disciple, and a good disciple is a good learner, so that's exactly how it should be. 

    We've continued to read through the Old Testament, and I've learned more about the minor prophets in the last few weeks than I had in my previous 21 years of life. We've also gotten to spend 4 hours a week learning Christian ministry from a more foundational perspective from Ronnie Worsham, the pastor of Northeast Church. Add a class on leadership habits, a class on evangelism, and class on body stewardship (a hugely pertinent topic in this day and age, especially for college students), and you've got a very busy but very happy disciple. 

  • Please be praying for the communities in Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, who have both experienced very different, but very real catastrophes.
  • Pray for our students and staff as we go deeper into the semester. I've often found October to be a rough month for students, simply because they're going through midterm tests and working long hours at their jobs, but the end of the semester still seems like a long way off.
  • Pray that God would continue to show Himself to our new students and guide them towards Him. 
  • On a more personal note, please praying for God to give me the peace to work diligently without seeking to exert control over my environment. I've been dealing with a fair amount of anxiety with all my new responsibilities.