It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Thank You and Goodbye

After working in campus ministry for the last 10 months, I have decided through much prayer and conversation, that I will not continue in campus ministry after this month. While I have decided not to stay, these last ten months have given me a wider and deeper view of the story of God and my place within that story. I just wanted to take some time to let all of you know that I am extremely thankful and grateful to have been able to serve you at UTD this year. To all of my donors and those who have prayed for me along the way, thank you for working alongside me this year in campus ministry. You are the reasons I was able to work with hundreds of college students and get to show them a God who loves and cares for them. There were so many students this year who were able to learn about God and come into a community that loves them and will help them continue to grow in their faith. I am genuinely honored and grateful for all that God has done at UTD, and you all played a huge part in that! As for me, I am going to take what I learned throughout this apprenticeship and continue applying it to ministry within the workplace. Someone once said, "Your mission field is wherever your feet are." I am not exactly sure what line of work I will be entering, but something I do know is that wherever I am I will be serving the Lord. Thank you all so much again. I know that God is at work in the DFW area, and he has a mission and vision for all of us! It is so hard to say goodbye to FOCUS and campus ministry, but I know that I will still be involved with this ministry for the rest of my life!

My Last Month 

My last month in this apprenticeship has been very rewarding. Even though COVID-19 has changed so much, ministry can never be kept in quarantine. Here are some images of what the last two months have been like:
We have been using Zoom for our summer focus meetings to help students connect with each other. Here is an Instagram add with one of my favorite artists, Elton John, to announce our meeting! 

Since not all of the roommates were able to go home for Easter, we decided to have our own celebration together! It was a great time of celebration and fellowship.  

Speaking of roommates, I moved with two of my roommates to Richardson! We are so thankful for everyone who helped us move during quarantine. 
All of our wonderful apprentice classes have come to an end. Here is a picture of all of the apprentices with Ronnie Worsham. Ronnie is a pastor, and has helped us think through the ups and downs of ministry. These classes were so extremely valuable to me, and really helped me connect more with God!

Thank You, Especially You 

I am so thankful to everyone who has helped and supported me this year. I was surrounded by friends, family, students, and staff members who loved me so deeply and have made me feel like a princess this year. While I am grateful to everyone, one person has made this year extra special for me. Tana Worsham was my supervisor this year and she has met with me every single week since the beginning of this apprenticeship. She is so graceful, wise, beautiful, and loving. She has really shown me what it's like to have someone who is my biggest fan and not my biggest critic. She has helped me think through so many difficult situations this year, and has in turn helped so many other students at UTD. Thank you Tana for your continued love, support, and humor. I love you so much!
This is Tana in her truest form; wearing head to toe animal print. 

This is a picture from when Tana found the baby Jesus in the King's cake. She was so excited!

This is Tana cleaning up soda off the floor after someone missed her hand when giving it to her. 

Stay Creative!

One of the major things that I have enjoyed this year is getting to learn how to be creative when talking and thinking about God. I want to continue doing these things after this apprenticeship, and I hope to continue sharing them with others. That being said, here is a short story that I wrote for one of our classes. The prompt was to write a story that shows something about the character of God. Enjoy!

Bryon Bellamy Has Some Questions

Byron Bellamy always felt like he was missing something. As he sat in the big sunny window of his uncle’s two story house, a house bigger than any he had ever gotten to be in, he wondered what it would be like if things were different. He was grateful for his simple life. He had a mother who loved him deeply, a mutt that he had found roaming out by Bill Parson’s farm, and a brand new package of Big League Chew Bubble Gum that his uncle had gotten him at the E-Z Mart down the street. But even so, as he sat looking out the window watching Ted Harrington teach his son how to use an ax to chop wood, he couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to have a dad. 
He snapped back to reality when his uncle screamed, “If you want to come fishin with us you better get off your butt and get down here boy”. He slipped on his Crocs and ran out the back door to the pond. When he got to the pond he sat on an old log next to his older cousin Larry. As he baited his hook he turned to Larry and asked, “Larry, what is it like to have a dad?” 
Larry, who was annoyed that anyone had broken his concentration on fishing responded, “Dads are only good for whoopin your ass and teaching you the rules.” Bryon pondered this statement, “hmm. I wonder if I would even like that. Sounds an awful lot like Principal Rigsby if you ask me. Maybe having a dad isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” 
He waited another week before his curiosity peaked again when he saw Henry Packard teaching little Bobby how to ride his bike outside of Dixie’s Corner Store. He walked into Dixie’s and saw Goose, the tall and lanky middle aged clerk who had worked there since his teens, behind the counter. “Goose, can I ask you somethin, What is it like to have a dad?” Goose was used to making small talk with the customers, and was always excited to have someone’s attention, “Dad’s are alright I guess. My dad was always nice to me as long as I helped him and did what he asked. He was so proud of me getting this job when I was sixteen, but he’s not very proud of it no more. I guess we don’t really talk a lot nowadays.” Goose began to reflect on what exactly he might need to do to earn his dad’s attention again. Byron bought some Fritos and left even more confused on what this whole dad thing was about. If he had one would he have to earn his attention like Goose with his dad? If dads were so bad, then why did he want one so much? 
Even with all the new questions and doubts Bryon had, he still had that feeling in his stomach. He felt like a drill that was missing its bit. Bryon was so confused that he began to question if maybe he was asking the wrong question; he decided that maybe he just needed to ask more people. He talked to Tom who mentioned that while his dad wasn’t a bad guy he just wasn’t really ever there. Fred said that his dad was great, but when Bryon asked for examples he couldn’t quite name one. Birdie mentioned that her dad was a lot of fun, but he often smelled of cigars and cheap whiskey. The weirdest response was from Sal who said that while he had a dad he refused to recognize him as such and always referred to him by his first name. Bryon finally came to realize that maybe there was no such thing as a good dad, and finally after much searching he gave up looking. 
A few years passed and while Bryon didn’t ask anymore about what it was like to have a dad, he dreamed about it a lot. There were little moments that he witnessed with dads and their kids that made him almost start asking questions again, but he was afraid that the reality of what a dad was might ruin the picture he had created in his mind. That summer he went to stay with his uncle, and he played with his cousins all summer long and let his dreams of a dad stay in his head. 
When Bryon came back from his uncle’s house his mom sat him down in the living room to talk. “Who died?” He asked with a hint of sarcasm. His mom was nervous, normally she had no problem blabbing on for eternity, but now she seemed to not be able to find her words. “I.. I’ve met somebody Bryon.” 
“Well whaddaya mean mom? What are ya trying to say?” 
“While you were gone this summer I met someone and now we are dating. I want you to meet him tonight.” Bryon didn’t know how to feel about this. All 10 years of his life so far he had had his mom all to himself. She had never once dated anyone after the premature death of his dad. He didn’t know how to feel, but he could tell things weren’t going to be the same. 
Bryon met Gary that night, and he cautiously tested his motives and character. He didn’t understand it, but he immediately liked Gary. There was something about him that was so easygoing, so fresh. Bryon began to open up to Gary and feel comfortable around him, but he still had a lot of questions. What does this guy want with us? Is he safe? Can I trust him? I wonder if he really loves my mom. 
The next months were different for Bryon. The dreams he had had about having a father slowly started shifting into reality. It seemed that Gary not only liked him, but maybe could actually love him too. It started with all three of them doing things together. They would go to the movies, get burgers from Shady’s and eat 'em by the lake, and even ride bikes together. Then Gary started doing things just him and Bryon. He taught Bryon how to tie a square knot, taught him how to shoot a shotgun, took him fishing, and even let him try some beer when his mom wasn’t looking. Even though Gary wasn’t his dad, Bryon started to have hope that maybe one day he would be, and that his dreams about having a dad might be true. 
The next summer, Gary asked his mom to marry him. Bryon felt like a stang that had just been released from captivity. He tried to cover his tears as he walked down the aisle with the rings. Bryon had found a friend in Gary. Someone who really loved him. Someone who cared for him. Someone who would really be there when he needed him. A month after the wedding Gary came into Bryon’s bedroom to talk one night. Bryon loved talking to Gary before bed. He would always sit there and tell him stories about his life, and he painted a future for Bryon that was so much richer than any he had ever been able to think up. But this night, Gary came with a serious look on his face, and Bryon could tell he had been wiping away tears from his eyes. He looked square into Bryon’s face and said, “I have something I want you to really think about before you answer. I love you buddy and I’ve always considered you my son and my friend. I want to adopt you and make you my son for real, but i’m going to leave that choice up to you. I don’t want you to answer right now, but will you think about it and let me know what you decide? Either way i’m going to love you forever buddy.” He kissed Bryon’s forehead and walked out. 
Bryon was shocked. “He really wants me? He really loves me? I’m finally gunna get to see what it’s really like to have a dad?” Bryon thought this over all night. Part of him felt like he was crazy to even think about it for so long. Of course he wanted to say yes, Gary had been a better man than any he had ever known, but there was still some fear in Bryon’s mind of having a permanent dad. After all his biological dad had abandoned his mom before being killed while driving drunk all those years ago. What if Gary hurt him too? What if he hadn’t really loved him at all, and all this stuff was just for show and once he adopted him his true colors would really come out? Even though Byron had his reasons to fear, he trusted Gary with all of his fears and doubts. 
He raced down the hallway the next morning and jumped on Gary and his mom’s bed. “Yes. I want you to adopt me! I want you to be my dad!” After that day, Bryon and his Dad lived a wonderful life together. Bryon struggled with discipline and added structure, but he also experienced the joy of getting to say that he had a dad that was so much better than any dad that had ever been described to him.  His dreams were lived out for the rest of his life with Gary as his father.

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