Steady Growing and Learning

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October is over, bring on November!

Richland Focus

     October flew by, and we're less than half way through the fall semester. Crazy! Gosh I'm not even sure where to start for this month. October has been a mixed bag of great blessings and tough times. Richland has been steadily growing in ways, and at times it feels like we can't keep up. Above is a picture from our Wednesday Focus meeting which includes the largest amount of our students (we still have other students that come to our Cores and can't make it Wednesdays). Our Richland group is pretty small and humble, but thinking about the fact that we have four leaders total, it can put into perspective how hard it is to make sure each student is being invested in on some level.  I have also seen that really all God needs from us is to be faithful. None of what has been achieved at Richland can be accredited to me or the other leaders in FOCUS without God, we would get nowhere. But as limited as we might be in terms of manpower, I believe God can multiply our efforts far beyond my imagination. I just ask that you continue praying for our students as well as for me and the other leaders, that God would fill us up and send us out to continue loving Richland students in His name.
A few FOCUS students at Klyde Warren Park
  I think one of my favorite things I've learned this month (and one of the hardest things) has just been how to have fun with these students. I didn't think I would really feel any different than a college student since graduating and becoming an intern. So much of my lifestyle still lines up with that of a college student. However I have seen that being on staff has put me in a Martha mentality, and I can sometimes forget how to be Mary and to just enjoy what Jesus is doing in my life and the students. God has been shaping and molding my heart a lot over the past few years but more so in these early months of the internship. In times where my personal growth seems to be slow going, it can be hard to have grace for myself. It has been moments like this picture above that have been full of peace and joy, allowing me to just revel in all that God is doing.

Intern Classes:

In our Old Testament Foundations class we've been studying the minor prophets. So far one of our class exercises was to share what we thought God's message might be for our ministry in the style of one of the prophets. I took a section from Zechariah 10 and modernized it a bit and structured it for Richland, bear with my poor poetry:

Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime;
it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms.
He gives showers of rain to all people and plants of the field to everyone.
The culture speaks deceitfully,
the media shows the lives of false happiness,
sets the standards of being “okay.”
They give comfort in vain.
The students of Richland wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.
“My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders;
the Christians who fail to reach out.”
For the Lord Almighty will care for his flock, the students of Richland and make them like proud horses in battle.
“I will strengthen Richland and save the community colleges.
I will redeem them
because I have compassion on them.
They will be as though never rejected,
for I am the Lord their God
and I will answer their silent cry.
The faculty will become like warriors, fighting alongside the students,
and their hearts will be glad as with wine.
The students will see it and be joyful;
their hearts will rejoice in the Lord.
I will call for them
and gather them in.
Surely I will redeem them as never before.
Though they are diverse and from scattered parts of the world, broken homes and forgotten dreams,
they will know me.
They will pass through the sea of depression;
the sorrow will be subdued
and all the depths of loneliness will dry up.
I will strengthen them in the Lord
and in his name they will live securely.”
Declares the Lord.
 The amount of sadness and depression I've seen on campus at Richland has just been disheartening. Students seem to come in as a bright and hopeful light but dim the longer and longer that they there. Be praying that FOCUS can bring God's light to the campus and inject a little life into it.

Leadership Conference:

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At the end of the conference April led us in singing “Lean on Me.”
   The leadership conference is one of my favorite events of the Fall semester. This is an opportunity for the leaders from all of our FOCUS campuses as well as the three churches we work with (Northeast Garland Church, Wylie Northeast Church, and Denton North Church) to meet together and really recapture God's vision for us. It is so cool to see our student leaders give up a Saturday to really learn from the churches and our other FOCUS ministries. This year's topic was “Spiritual Friendships” which is really the basis of good christian leadership. As Ronnie (the pastor of Northeast Garland Church) says: “You can't lead someone where you're not going.” This has been something I feel God is trying to teach me over and over and over again. Leading students is never successful unless I'm willing to walk alongside them as a friend and lead them to Christ with me.

FOCUS Pocus:

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photo taken from the sound booth
We ended this month with a Halloween dance party called “FOCUS Pocus.” This was such a fun opportunity for our students to dress up, hang out and dance a little. I love dance parties. It's one of the few environments where I don't have a hard time having fun. It was so great to serve the students at UTD and Richland and help to facilitate some friendships between the two campuses at this event.

How you can be praying and get involved:

  We are starting our 2nd Annual Keep FOCUS Growing Initiative! Our social media team is putting together some video interviews of students that have come through our ministry and have had their lives changed to follow Christ. We need your help to spread the word by liking our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/anyfocusministries/.
 By liking the Facebook page the videos will be seen by you and potentially some of your Facebook friends. Be praying about this fundraiser initiative, that it spreads far and wide and if this is something God wants you to get involved with. Money to FOCUS goes to things like scholarships for our students to go to Winter Camp or Fall Camp and event fees to keep events cheap for our students.

 Also just continue praying for Richland and our students. We are doing outreach this week at both Richland and UTD, hoping to engage students in conversations about Jesus and faith. Be praying for open doors, open minds and open hearts. I am excited to see what is in store for next month!
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