"For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go"
Hello everyone! I hope each of you is having a great and rejuvenating summer so far. I pray that you and your families have been staying healthy through this recent spike in COVID cases. This month has been a series of ups and downs, but I pray that this update will encourage you!
This past month our team of FOCUS pastors has been fundraising pretty heavily to raise our salaries for the year. God has been abundantly blessing our team, and almost all of us have hit our goals, including me! Thank you so much to each of you for partnering with me in ministry, I have been so encouraged by each of your generous hearts. I am excited for how God is going to use your gift to continue to spread the message of Jesus on our UTD campus and beyond.
Towards the beginning of the month, our UTD staff team met together and prayed through what some of our overarching goals were going to be for the next few years as a ministry. One of the visions that God laid on our hearts was to continue to create a space for minority cultures to feel welcome in our community, including our Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and Black students. Since joining staff, we have been putting on events aimed towards welcoming UTD’s minorities and have had some success, but one of our bigger goals is to create a more consistent space for them.
This month, I have been spending some time praying through what my own experience as a Latina in FOCUS has been, and it has been a gracious journey as I wrestle through my own hispanicness vs. American-ness vs. campus ministry, etc. (It’s kind of hard to explain as you can see). This past week, I had the opportunity to gather up some of our Hispanic students from across our UTD ministry and take some time together to share what some of the barriers are to joining our ministry and how we could lower those barriers. It was a fascinating conversation to say the least, God was so present in that meeting. They were all so excited to have a space to share their thoughts and shared so openly that we were able to come up with some incredible ideas for this next year.
One of our students, Arielle Perez shared about how she would like to incorporate praying for the Latino community as current events come to light. She brought up the recent tragedy of the 53 men and women who died in a trailer while trying to cross over into the United States, and how she would love to make space in our fellowship nights to pray for the families of these victims.
Needless to say, I am overcome with great hope by the wonderful opportunity to lead our community through change as we navigate how to create space for students to feel more seen and loved. Please pray that as we come into the year, that God would move our hearts and our feet to make our Latino students feel the love of Jesus as they step onto our campus and into our ministry.
These past couple of weeks have been pretty tough! After months and months of avoiding COVID, I tested positive a couple of weeks ago. My mom also tested positive a couple of weeks prior to me testing positive, so we were able to quarantine together, which had its ups and downs, but overall proved to be a blessing to get to spend lots of time with one another. I came back to Dallas for a few days, and then found out that my mom had been rushed to the ER due to COVID complications after having it for 3 weeks. I picked up my stuff and drove to San Antonio at 3 in the morning to find her still waiting in the ER. I ended up staying in the hospital for a week looking after my mom, and let me just say, it was tough. Thankfully, she was able to come home on Monday and has been doing LOADS better, and I can’t thank God enough for being a God who sees us and loves us unconditionally. Thank you to each of you who reached out and helped root us in God’s goodness as we awaited healthier days.
Throughout the summer, UTD has been hosting orientation fairs for incoming freshmen to see what organizations are out there for them to join! It has been so fun getting to coordinate students who will work our table and interact with these new students. We have been praying that these incoming students find a home at UTD and that they would see and feel the presence of Jesus here. We know that God has been working through each of their lives already, and that we get to just join him in his work as they step onto campus. Please pray that as August rolls around, that we would have eyes to see the students as Jesus sees them. It’s tough not to tear up while typing this!
I think that’s all for now! Please feel free to send me your prayer requests, I would love the opportunity to pray for each of you and your families!