Merry (early) Christmas! I pray this advent season reminds you in new ways of God's extraordinary love for us. Thank you for enabling me to share that love with our students at McKinney!
We've been reading The Vulnerable Pastor by Mandy Smith, and I was struck by her description of Scripture reading. While our Western inclination is typically to dissect the Word with increasing skill and resources, a much better approach is to let Scripture dissect us. "We long to experience the power of God's Word, but really we'd rather wield that power, not submit to it." My eyes have been opened to my lack of vulnerability when I come to Scripture, and I pray God continues to change my heart.
This is our last Old Testament class! Michelle (on the laptop) wanted to be in the picture too.
Small Group (Core)
One of our girls is Messianic Jewish and wanted to throw a Hanukkah party! It was a sweet time of bonding for our group. This was our last official meeting of the year... but many of the girls will be in town over the break so I'm excited to still see them for hangouts and Bible studies. While it can be discouraging to see people come and go week by week, I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7: "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." I pray everyone who comes is planted and watered, and that God transforms them!
This is the party right after we did our gift exchange!
I and the 4 other Collin apprentices planned an outreach event this month! Since all 4 Collin campuses do outreach weekly (usually in the form of conversations and games), we wanted to try something different. The Plano campus is pretty diverse and has quite a few international students, so we did a cultural event to honor them. We asked students in the ministry from different backgrounds if they would be willing to make some food from their culture or talk about their experiences growing up. So many new people came!! Students loved it and some shared about their faith, and we were able to make lots of connections.
This is one of the flyers we used...
...and here are some of the students who came!
Every year in January all the FOCUS campuses go to Sky Ranch for 4 days full of teaching, worship, and fellowship. It was by far one of my favorite experiences as a student! Each year my small group grew closer together and was poised for deeper and more spiritual friendships. I always walked away with a deeper appreciation for God and his Word. This year, we have the privilege of hearing from Rick Watts, a professor from Regent College. He teaches the New Testament class us apprentices will be taking!
For several years, Collin College granted FOCUS student organization money specifically to offset camp costs. Unfortunately, this year they are doubling down on (and changing) some rules and thus denied our request for funding. That means instead of camp costing $50, it will be $175. We're coaching our students on ways to get the money (extra work shifts, Christmas presents, grandparents, etc.) but we know that some have very limited resources. Would you consider helping sponsor a student? Anything will help! We have a general fund but you can also contribute any amount to a specific student. Let me know if you're interested; I'll know in a few days who from my small group needs help!
This is the sponsoring link: anyfocus.org/wintercamppay
This is me and some girls from my small group at the 2019 winter camp! 2 of them have become great spiritual encouragers to me. (Fun fact: I ripped my jeans just before this picture, trying to photobomb it.)
This 10-month apprenticeship is almost halfway over, and I've become more and more grateful for the partnership I have in each of you. I'm excited for what God will do with the next 5 months! Merry Christmas and enjoy this season of rest and remembrance.
For A, who is starting to make Christian friends and is learning what godly community looks like. She was very frank when we talked about sin during Bible study and I'm excited for how God is working in her!
For M, who was excited to have her very own Bible! She is very thoughtful and open but doesn't understand God's grace.
For J, who is very energetic and doesn't like to slow down for deeper conversation. Pray I learn how to share Jesus with her in a way she understands!
For V, who has so many thoughts during our Bible study! Every time we meet a learn a new way to see scripture. Pray she encounters the Lord powerfully and sees him as her loving Father.
For J, V, and all other students who have less than ideal lives at home and will be spending extended time there over winter break.