Sunday, August 7, 2016

Color and hope

I've been talking about posting this blog for months and here it finally is!

First off, thank you so much for accepting the invitation to be a part of these next ten months with me! Many of you have decided to invest your money in me, so I can do this apprenticeship full time these next ten months, and just as many of you (if not more) have decided to dedicate your time to intentionally lift us, the staff, up to the Lord through prayer (wow!) With graduation, and summer classes, leaving work at the Apple Store, Denton, and getting to fundraise- these last couple of months have been a whirlwind BUT getting to sit here now, I realize I am overjoyed and ecstatic about how the Lord has, once again, showed His faithfulness. Looking back, I now see that the daunting task of seeking out financial partners these last couple of months has only served as another reminder of how much the Lord wants to provide for His children (because He is fully capable!) and how consistently He is pursuing all of us to know Him more deeply. He invited all of the members of our staff (almost 30) to work alongside Him on the UTA, UNT, TWU, NCTC, Collin- Preston Ridge, Collin- Spring Creek, Richland, TWU- Dallas, and UTD campus and with great expectation we are ramping everything up to be ready for what He's got in store. Catching up with a lot of you has not only brought me joy but it has given me new insight into, and reminders of, God's character- thank you! I do want to remind you guys that we started August 1st so if you haven't submitted your donation, please do so soon.
                            (A very large majority of our entire community from all 9 campuses)
Change (for the better)
Many of you may have read that I would be spending a lot of my time at UTD and Richland but that has actually changed. Instead, I'll get to return to the campus where the Lord embraced me like never before and had many help me start building on (and repairing) my foundation- Collin College! I'm beyond thrilled! (If you have any questions about this change, let me know, I'd love to tell you more!)

Staff retreat
The apprenticeship kicked off with a staff retreat to Lake Travis. Besides having loads of fun through made up games and existing games* alike, we got to spend time reading a book titled, "In the name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen*. I highly recommend it for anyone seeking to better understand how to be an effective, genuine, intimate and vulnerable minister. Our overarching goal was to continue to let the Spirit unite us through our synchronicity with Him and one another. Through reading the book and spending time with our staff, I was really challenged by the following thoughts- Why do I tend to think that God is more concerned with the aesthetics and setting of my times spent with Him over my sincere attempts to know Him better? How can I show that I am nothing without Him, that I'm "completely impoverished and wholly dependent on Him"? (-Brandon) and lastly; How can I lead from a place of intimacy, from the foot of the cross?

          Some of our staff getting ready for worship and sharing our thoughts on "In the name of Jesus"
Ways you can (continue to) help
Until next time, please be praying for the following three things;
1) For the new people that will be joining the Collin College student body; pray that they will be open to seeking out christ-centered fellowship and new friends that can point them to Jesus
2) For our 26 student leaders (more than twice as many as there were when I was on the leader team almost three years ago!) to be sensitive to the Spirit and who/how He may have them be Jesus' hands and feet
                        My first year on the leader team at Collin, there were 12 of us (2013-2014)
3) For the new staff and I to remember the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord so we can confidently walk through this new path He's invited us to walk on
        ShaylaHannahRyan and I get to work at Collin while Sandra works with Kristin (not pictured)
Because it can't be said enough...
Lastly, thanks once again for enabling me to do what I feel the Lord has called me to this coming year. I wouldn't have ever guessed that I would be here during this time; five years ago, when I first broke down and asked God to do with my life whatever He wanted I was desperate to be and do what He intended but would've never guessed my last four years would be a part of it all. As Nouwen said in his chapter titled "Do you love me?" we need to be "men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, cares, reaches out and wants to heal." That way we in turn can help grow "vulnerable brothers and sisters who know and are known, who care and are cared for, who forgive and are being forgiven, who love and are being long."

(I'm beyond blessed to be)
Yours on the campus,

*P.S. Please consider using Amazon Smile: + Fellowship of Christian University Students when purchasing fun games like Wink or Avalon or while ordering the book I mentioned by Nouwen!