Happy New Year!

Happy New Year donors!! I am so excited and grateful to start off the year with you all, I hope you all had a very great holiday season.

At the beginning of December, we had our Christmas party with the students to celebrate the end of the fall semester! The students had SO MUCH FUN singing karaoke, painting ornaments, taking family photos together, and hanging out in their pajamas! We had an activity at the party where everyone brought a $1 or less gift and split off into randomized groups where we took on family roles and took turns trading and opening our gifts! It was such a memorable and sweet time to celebrate the holidays together.

This season of the year can be pretty difficult for me. I struggle with bouts of depressive thoughts from time to time and it’s mind-boggling that in the moments I feel most down, God intervenes by showing me the most grace and mercy. This month God has shown himself through morning glories, a type of flower that I grew up with in my front yard. My mom has sent me photos of them, I have seen them around my neighborhood when I go on walks. These types of flowers bloom in the morning and close throughout the day and open again in the morning (hence the name morning glory). As I’ve seen these bright blue flowers bloom, I am reminded of the song:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,

His mercies never come to an end,

They are new every morning,

New every morning,

Great is Thy faithfulness O Lord,

Great is Thy faithfulness.

God keeps reminding me over and over that just as this flower, God’s creation, blooms every morning, his mercies are new every morning. Praise God for that tender reminder!

Going back home for the winter break was such a blessing. I was so excited to share some time with a number of you and was encouraged to see what God is doing in your life as well.

Every Christmas, my family and church members have gathered together to make and hand out tamales to the individuals who are homeless in our community. I was so moved by the ways that God moved in the hearts of the people we fed, but even more so at the ways that God blessed us through that experience. Every time I saw someone being prayed for, I knew God was showing my church brother/sister that he also cares for the poor. I kept being reminded of Jesus’ words of “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3-5). We have so much to learn from those we so often look down upon or cast aside, and I ask God that he would keep humbling us and showing us what our true needs are.

Over the break, all of the staff read a book, “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Phillip Yancey, and man oh man, it took me for a spin! One of the many things that stood out to me was the restraint that Jesus showed while here on earth. As we see over and over again in the New Testament, Jesus is physically powerful! He can calm the seas, he can heal people, he can multiply food to feed thousands. But if Jesus was so powerful, why didn’t he use this power to his own advantage and use it to spread the gospel further than he did? Why did he choose just 12 disciples when crowds sought and followed him anywhere he went? It’s not because he couldn’t do all of these things, but because he wouldn’t. His grander purpose was to choose us and equip us to do his work so that when he left, we would carry out his mission. What a risky move! I often am faced with my own inadequacy and how short I fall from Jesus. He could do ministry eternally better than I can, so why me? Why you?

If Jesus entrusted us with his work, he must know that we are imperfect, and yet he still trusts us. However risky that is, it is 10 times as empowering! I want with all of my heart to bring God’s light into this world, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to serve him at UTD. I pray that God would reveal to you how you can be serving him wherever he has placed you!

A couple of prayer requests for this month!

  • Please pray for our Winter Camp coming up next weekend! With this new COVID variant, please pray that we would stay safe and that this disease won’t get worse during our time there and leading up to it.

  • With the new year, new conversations are starting to be had of who will stay for next year! Please pray that God would guide our directors in making these decisions!

  • UTD has pushed their first week of classes further into January, and is slowly switching to online-classes for the first few weeks. Please pray that in this confusing time for the students and for the faculty of UTD, we would have faith and hope in something greater to come!


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