It's been a month already?!

Hello again! I’m so glad you’re here. This month has been an absolute whirlwind! 

        Every year, UTD hosts welcome week events where we have the opportunity to reach out to students fairly easily, and to host events at residence halls to get freshmen plugged into our FOCUS community. With almost everything being online this year, this meant we had to be more creative with how we were going to reach students. Starting mid-August, we began hosting virtual events and personally inviting people on social media, as well as getting our name out there through sponsored ads. It has surprised me how open students have been to befriending strangers via media platforms, and how eager they are to connect and make friends on campus. 

This is during a livestream, where we talked about "How to Make the Most of College"

        God has been so good in leading us to students and leading students to us, that we have been able to start up our small groups! Through our online cores, we have reached students from outside of Dallas to connect with our community, which has been a huge testament to how the Lord knows no boundaries. This year, I will be leading core with my roommate, Caroline, who is a senior at UTD. Last week, we had our first core, and thankfully, we had two girls join us! One of them is a transfer student from Collin College, and I am super excited to introduce her to UTD and to have FOCUS be one of the first things she will be involved in. 

On the left is my co-leader for our small group, Caroline! In the
middle is Mariana, a sophomore who joined our core this year.
I am so excited to get to know them better, they are so sweet!

        I must admit that there have been moments of disappointment throughout this first month, and times that I have had to refocus on why I chose to do the apprenticeship. For so long, I looked forward to being able to do ministry full-time. I could finally devote myself fully to discipling a number of girls and build up a large core. With the way things are with COVID, it has been much harder to meet a lot of students easily, so even with all my time dedicated to just ministry, building a large core has proven difficult. However, even with a small group of girls, God has been showing me that he can still do big things if I choose to be faithful with what I have been given. I have been praying to let Him mold my heart and open my eyes to the vision that he has for the people already involved and those yet to be reached. Even if my core stays small, I know that God wants to use us to minister to one another. Some advantages of having a smaller group is that we can dive deeper into Scripture than we could with a large group, atune our discussions to what the girls really want to study/talk about, and foster a space where they can speak more profoundly about what they are thinking!

The second girl in this picture is Sarah, a freshman who just moved here to Dallas!
Next to her is Alyssa, my sweet roommate (this is our third year living together). 

        As far as classes go, we have read over half of the Old Testament and I have been learning so much about how patient and loving God is with his people. Last week, I fell into a mental state where I felt I had failed over and over by not meeting my own expectations for what I should have gotten done. I often get caught up believing the lie that I am not good enough, and that I must change things about myself in order for God to be proud of me. While reading through Hosea, I was so deeply moved and it broke my heart when reading through the section where God declares his love for Israel. He says “My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them. How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?” (Hosea 11: 7-8) This passage helped me meditate on the steadfast love and never ending patience that He has in caring for and pursuing people, and that He will always be there with us to hold our hands even when we are barely holding on. I am encouraged to know that God has trusted us to do ministry this year even amidst the pandemic, and that He wants to use us to make His name known.

This is a zoom training we had for virtual event welcoming international students!
The day of the event I got to meet three girls from all over the world!

Prayer requests!
        This month, please be praying for the students on campus at UTD! There have been many students who have mentioned living alone in a dorm room without any social interaction outside of virtual classes. With a majority of them coming from outside of Dallas, I’m sure it has been a major disappointment to not experience university the way they expected it to. Also please be praying for our virtual events to increase in attendance so that we can reach the lonely, the depressed, the anxious, and the broken! Pray for perseverance and creativity as we continue to come up with ideas for expanding the kingdom. Please let me know how I can be praying for you and your loved ones!

More photos:
We have church socially distanced and outside!
Thankfully, it's not too hot at 8:30 in the morning

Here is our setup for our virtual events. A few of our staff are
super tech savvy, and they make it all possible!

These two are the other UTD apprentices, Jacob and Lindsey.
I am so happy I get to work with them.


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