Happy New Year!


Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I hope that this holiday season has been filled with sweet memories spent with loved ones, and I hope that this year has already been off to a great start.

On one of the last days of November, I had the sweet opportunity to baptize one of my students, Savannah! I met Savannah last January, and she told me she had just transferred to UTD and was looking for a Christian community to be a part of. She mentioned to me that she grew up in the faith but had strayed and was looking to make room in her heart for God again. We ended up studying the Bible together and she joined my core that semester! From the get go, Savannah blew me away by how she dove right in–she avidly participated in core, asked me good questions, answered questions vulnerably and honestly, and grew rapidly in her relationship with the Lord.

By the summer time, Savannah was invited and attended a leadership training in Washington that we send students we see leadership potential in, and she loved it! However, her family was moving to North Carolina and Savannah had decided to move with them, already having signed a lease for an apartment there. But the Spirit was already at work, and Savannah wrestled with whether or not she should stay. She told me she felt God showing her that just as he had made a way for her to encounter God here at UTD, she could be a part of someone else’s journey in finding God, so Savannah decided to stay and serve as a core facilitator this year! It has been so sweet getting to see Savannah pour into the girls in her core and serve them with her whole heart, and what a powerful testimony it is for her girls to see Savannah get baptized! Praise God!

With the end of the semester came some celebrations for Christmas for our community! We had a Christmas party, a Christmas service where we were hosted by a church in the neighborhood who has been looking for a way to serve college students, and David and I hosted a pozole party for our Latino students! It was awesome!

One of the things that we encourage our students to do is to continue spending time in the word and in prayer during their month-long break because it can be easy to disconnect and slip into old habits of spending time doing things that are not very productive or restful. At our Christmas party, one of the students, Jacob, surprised me when he went up to the microphone during announcements and told us about a weekly meeting he would be hosting over the break in Austin for anyone in the area to come and join him for. He named it “Winter Friday Night Fellowship” and they were going to be discussing different biblical topics, have some worship, prayer, and fellowship. Another group then started meeting here in Plano over the break to do those same things. I am so proud of our students for allowing the Spirit to move through them to lead their fellow peers and to take initiative in ways that really matter to God.

Over our staff winter break, I was able to be home for both Christmas and New Years. Unfortunately, my family had to take our mom to the hospital because she was not feeling well and we spent both holidays there. However, there were many people who came and visited, called, texted, and sent us encouragement that the hospital did not feel lonely. My mom’s kidney transplant was failing and she would be starting on hemodialysis again, like she had been doing for 15+ years before her transplant. With the combination of it being the end of the year and being in a quiet room with my mom, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on the ways that God had been moving in our lives that year. I was led to write down Scriptures that God had used to carry me and my family through this difficult year. One of my favorites is in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, which has given me great hope. It says,

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

One of my big prayers for my family and for you is that this year we would hold steadfastly to God’s unchanging hand. That we would put all of our trust in Him, for only He has the authority, the power, and the willingness to carry us through difficult times. God delights in us spending time with him, and so my prayer is that He would be our first refuge, our great Counselor, and our eternal hope.

I love you each dearly and I am eternally grateful for your support towards me this past year. Thank you and have a blessed start of the year!

Prayer Request:

Our Winter Retreat is coming up this weekend! Students from all of our campuses will be joining us at Riverbend Retreat Center for a weekend of worship, prayer, and lots of fun. Please be praying that our students would be kept safe on the drive there and back, and that the weather would permit us to enjoy the outdoors as much as we can. Most importantly, that each student would be brought closer to God through their time at retreat as they spend time reflecting on the messages, engage in our worship songs and prayer, and as they grow closer to each other. Please also be praying for students who may decide last minute to come, that God would move in hearts of students who are hesitant to come and find what God has in store for them at retreat!


Popular Posts