Scraping Away the Scales

Hello Dear Friends, 
  As I continue on in this apprenticeship I have come to realize that I don't know everything I thought I knew, and that I can't continue on believing everything I think. As I read more, discuss more, and learn more I find myself faced with a very hard hitting reality: growth hurts. The best way I can describe this is to refer to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S Lewis. In this book there is a young and selfish boy named Eustace who thinks he is the smartest and brightest boy that ever existed, and basically he gets turned into a dragon through his ignorance. There is a scene in the book that describes Eustace's transformation back into a boy with the help of Aslan. But in order for this transformation to take place, Aslan (who is a lion) has to use his paws to scrape the scales off of Eustace's body. As he begins scraping Eustace becomes very aware of how painful this process is, but he allows it to happen because he knows that in the end he will be transformed into something even better than he was before. Though this whole process was extremely hard for Eustace, when the scales are pealed off the new creation is revealed. And even though Eustace is a boy again, he has gained so much new wisdom from his time as a dragon.
     So I guess what I'm trying to say here is, I am Eustace. I approached this apprenticeship thinking I would have so much to give, and that these students would be so blessed to have me. But as I step back into the reality of my new situation, I realize that God is leading me back into humility. The growth I have had just in these last two months comes from what these students are teaching me! Each time I have to leave behind my old ways of thinking and processing things, God scrapes away another scale.

Fall Camp

Fall Camp is a sort of retreat for our students to get to know their core groups and fellow friends in our ministry. We went to Mount Lebanon Baptist Encampment for this camp, and spend 24 hours together. The first year I went to fall camp was 2011 (see picture above), and it helped me connect with other people in FOCUS and catch the vision for the upcoming year. Fall camp this year was a great time for students to bond. We listened to sermons together, worshiped together, made bracelets, danced, and had deep conversations that will hopefully lead to deeper friendships. Our speakers talked about making decisions, and we had many people share about hard decisions they have had to make. We also placed scriptures along the wall and had students write encouragements to other students who really live out those scriptures. Here are some pictures from camp:


Some of our male students worshiping together

Just some guys and gals making bracelets

Some students learning a new dance
One of our encouragement posters for verses that students live out

DOTS 

DOT stands for Devotional Opportunity Time. We created DOTS to give our students a place to have devotional time with God. We sometimes bring suggestions for what that could look like, but it is mostly to help them and us stay accountable to spend this time with God. Each apprentice leads a DOT every week, and we try our best to get students involved. 

Here I am at a DOT with some of our female corefas

Thank YOU!

Every time I write a blog I am reminded that none of this could be done without people like you who support me financially and pray for me each month. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and love that I am surrounded by because of you. Thank you deeply for the way you support me and the FOCUS ministry. Please continue praying for the items listed below:
  • Pray for the students at UTD who are struggling to find God, and are in deep need of a community
  • Pray for us as we go out to do outreach at UTD. We have a Halloween event coming up as well as contact evangelism
  • Pray for our staff as we have pastoral discussions about issues surrounding our campus
  • Pray for the apprentices to be open to growing and listening to God's voice 
  • Pray for me as I continue to look for partners who can help support me financially and through prayer
  • Pray that God can show us how to be a diverse ministry who shows God's love to all who encounter us

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