God has been working at Richland for sure! I think one of the hardest things at Richland has just been my expectations for it to look like the other campuses that Focus is at. In Focus we have this axiom that goes “Aim for base hits, not home runs.” This means to celebrate the small baby steps of progress and don't only be focused the spectacular moments. I think I am learning more and more that “base hits” are how God is working at Richland this year. Though we may not have a large quantity of students at Richland Focus yet, I think God is truly working in the lives of the students he's blessed us with thus far. Richland is a place that is starving for community but maybe doesn't know it. I think these base hits, these few students we are getting to invest in, will have a huge ripple effect down the line! Also these students are just so great at rolling with the punches. Because Sirak (the campus pastor at Richland) and I are both new to the Richland Focus community we are trying out a lot of new things. They aren't always the most successful but that doesn't seem to discourage our students! Be praying for this great group of young men and women, that God would use them to be the building blocks for his work at Richland in the future.
Fall Camp is one of the bigger events we organize in the fall semester and this year Richland had the great opportunity to go with UTD and TWU Dallas. We all drive our students out to Mt. Lebanon Baptist Camp and have 24hrs packed to the brim with fun, friends, fellowship and activities to help our students grow closer to God.
UTD, Richland and TWU Dallas students at Fall Camp (photo by Charles Guo)
It is so amazing to see the fruit of Fall Camp. Something about spending a short weekend with the same people really helps to solidify friendships that were already forming at our campuses.
Richland girls carpooling to Fall Camp
Walk and Talks are something we do at Fall Camp to really help deepen friendships in our cores. Two or three people get paired up in their core and walk around the camp talking about the prompt we give them. The first thing we had students talk about was “What has your relationship with God looked like up to this point?” I walked and talked with a girl named Felishia, from my core and then the three other girls, Catherine, Hazel and Raquel from our core went together. The Holy Spirit must have been working in those conversations because our girls were so open, the group of three talked for two hours!
Craft tables I helped to organize at Fall Camp
My biggest prayer is that the momentum that Fall Camp got going would only build and carry throughout the year.
As an intern I have classes twice a week taught by the staff of Focus and the pastor at Northeast Church (a church in Garland that works alongside Focus). We are currently taking an Old Testament Foundations class that goes until the end of this semester. That class is pretty tough in terms of homework amount and just things to think through. We have a textbook to read with that class as well as listening through a lecture course by Iain Provan from Regent College up in Canada.
I've never realized some base assumptions I had about the Old Testament and how it applies to my life today until taking this class. One thing Iain Provan keeps mentioning is this idea that the Old Testament Law is not composed of kingdom ideals only, but that some of the laws were instituted as a way for God to meet the Israelites where they were at and to redeem what could be. That has really intrigued me and I've been thinking through that a lot. What does that mean for how the Old Testament Law should apply to us today?
UTD/ Richland staff (photo by Charles Guo)
Ronnie, the pastor at Northeast, has a class with us twice a week. His class has been one of the strangest to me in some ways. As interns we are not graded and thus what we learn goes so much deeper than just being able to regurgitate information for a test. Ronnie's class is very fluid and not structured like most classes I was used to in college. He takes the time to help us get out of our comfort zones, leading the class in prayer activities or having us present admonishments to the class from scripture. This class in particular has had me reevaluate how I learn and process things which I think help me tremendously now and will continue to in the years to come as I keep growing closer to Christ.
How you can be involved:
-Pray that God will continue to work in the hearts of the students at Richland.
-Pray that Sirak and I are flexible to try new things at Richland and not try to cement it to the idea we have of what Focus should look like.
-Pray that God continues to grow my heart. God has really been moving to soften me which is really hard but I think will help me better relate to him and his people.
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