Friday, May 4, 2018

Not What We Had Planned

Our students worshipping and celebrating at our Spring Formal. There's something really beautiful about getting to praises God while outside in His Creation.
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, 
I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day 
until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it
on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV)

As I quickly come to the end of UNT and TWU's school year and the end of my time with the FOCUS staff in Denton (don't forget- I'll be on staff at UTD next year!), I'm struck by something that hits me pretty much every year- this did not go as I had planned it.

When I think about the things that defined this year of my life- this things I'm grateful for, none of them are things that I had really planned. Sure, I had planned to apprentice with FOCUS for a full year before applying, but I could not possibly have planned to be impacted by unforeseeable relationships and situations. I had no idea that I would spend my first semester fighting anxiety, but few things have deepened my faith in God's love for me like the experience of knowing He is with me despite my inability to be at peace in the moment. I had no idea I would meet people like David Nathan, or Collin, but God taught me a lot about loving Him, loving people, and discipling others through these guys. I had no way of knowing which freshmen I met during the first week of school would fall off the map, and which of them would stick around and potentially become a student leader next year. I certainly didn't know I would go back to Richardson after only a year in Denton. However, these are some of the most defining points of growth and blessing from the apprenticeship. God shows Himself to be faithful and wise beyond my perception and understanding, and I've grown a lot because of it. I believe a lot of the students I know would say the same.

Spring Formal

Every April or so, each campus celebrates the year they've had by coming together, socializing, dancing, and honoring the people in the community who have given their time and energy for others. We spent time worshipping God through singing and through prayers of praise, and it was incredible to see the joy, comfort, and boldness with which students prayed out loud to God in front of a hundred of their peers. I love these students, and I'll miss them a lot when I move back to UTD.

Peer Team

My peer team and I, and a whole lotta sky. Matt Clark (second from the left) is standing in for Bekwele Wodi, who had another engagement (he was planning a worship event, so we'll let him slide). Go to the student testimony to see a picture of Bekwele smiling super big (and, more importantly, to learn what God has done in his life).

This week, I've been talking with my peer team guys about what they believe God has taught them this year, and what He's putting on their hearts to grow in and pursue in the summer. The things they've been sharing are proving to me that God has been the One in control of their growth this whole year, and because of that, they're going to be just fine when I move away (not that there was ever any doubt in that respect). Love you guys!


Many of our potential leaders (from all FOCUS campuses) are going to be headed to the Seattle area starting next week to learn how to be missionaries and disciple-makers on their college campuses at the Student Institute of Campus Ministry, and I'll be there with them! 

Thank You

As I approach the end of the FOCUS Apprenticeship and look towards my next year on staff with FOCUS, I'm struck again how amazing my job is, and how blessed I am to be supported through prayers and donations in doing it. I don't always see you all, but thank you to everyone who has been pouring into FOCUS- we don't do this ministry alone, and having you as colaborers is a big blessing.
Also, shameless plug- if you know me at all, if you have a heart for college students, or if any of my blogs have blessed you at all, I would love to have you as a prayer and / or financial supporter and share more of what God is doing with you. Just email me at

  • Pray for our students who are going to Washington for SICM. Pray that God would give them the alertness and openness to take everything they learn in both with their minds and their hearts.
  • Pray for our students as they enter the summer. Pray for intentionality in finding community and pursuing God despite a change in the structures around them.
  • Pray for our students to be able to grasp God's faithfulness to them as they process the year. Pray that this would translate into a long-term growth in their faith as individuals and members of the Church.