Those Who Plant in the Fall
|A sea of international students at the Big Howdy|
I have recently come to love everything about plants. I love planting something and watching it magically shoot up and grow into a lovely, full-fledged beauty. I love the joy that it brings me to see healthy, full of life plants in my window sill. But planting isn't always fun. We have all been let down by a plant that we had high hopes for that just dies no matter what we seem to do. We have all over or under watered and killed innocent plants. We have all tasted the disappointment of never seeing a seed sprout. But I thank God everyday that he is the supreme gardener. That "he was the gardener before even Eden was breathing," as my friend Rhett Hayes sings. God has given us the great gift of helping with his garden this month. He has allowed us to go all throughout the campus and plant seeds for this year, but only he can make those seeds grow. I rest in the comfort that he is a much better gardener than I.
We have had so many opportunities to plant seeds as we go in the first weeks of school. We started the year off by playing games in the dorms, and inviting freshman to join us. One of the freshman we met later told me that it was because of this game night that she decided to come back into a christian community after being apart from one for eight plus years. Now she has come to almost every event, and has been consistently coming to church and a core.
|Students and staff playing Secret Hitler|
We had so many events the first two weeks that were extremely successful. We got to invite hundreds of students, and welcome them to come into friendships with us. Here are a few pictures from these events:
|We had two field days this year that were full of childhood fun! Here is a picture of some of our students playing with the 50 foot parachute we have.|
|We played games on the very public Plinth to welcome passing students on their first day of classes. We met some new guys, and played four square til we passed out from the heat.|
Planting Beyond Our Garden
The picture at the top of this post shows hundreds of students at the Big Howdy. This was an event set up by some christian groups on campus to welcome new international students to the country. We also had another event where we were able to give around 80 international students and their roommates free furniture and household essentials. At the Big Howdy I got to meet a graduate student from India who will be here for the next three years. I failed to get her contact information at the event, and was so upset with myself. Luckily, when I was driving students to the furniture giveaway, I was paired to pick her up and help her! I am so excited for this new friendship and opportunity.
We have been so blessed at UTD to get to interact and befriend so many diverse students. Some of the alumni we have met have gone back to their own countries and areas, and have been able to spread the word of God all because someone planted a seed when they were in FOCUS.
Friday Night FOCUS
The steadfast love of the never ceases;
Our first large group meeting was on August 23rd. Brandon and Rhett introduced our new theme for the year, which is Steadfast. Brandon shared Lamentations 3:22-23 above to speak of God's steadfast faithfulness to us. We were blessed to have a large group of students come to our first and second meeting. I am so excited to see how God will use this time to minister to the students and staff at UTD.
- Pray for the international students who have traveled far from home to go to school at UTD. Pray that they could meet Christians on campus that will invite them into friendships and show them the love of God.
- Pray for our student leaders (Corefas) as they begin leading their core's. Pray that they could be strong leaders, and help students learn more about the nature of Jesus.
- Pray for the FOCUS staff as we figure out how to minister to students and each other.
- Pray for the students on campus who haven't found a Godly group or community to plug into. Pray that God could be at work to lead them to a christian on campus.
- Pray for my fundraising. Pray for God to provide more donors who are excited about college ministry.
I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me financially and through your prayers. I have already been so blessed by this job, and I could write pages and pages about what all God is doing already. I know that none of these things would be possible without people like you guys! I thank God every time I think about all of you. Please ask me more if you see me in person because God has filled me with extreme joy and I would love to share that with all of you. Peace be with you through this month, and thank you again!