Hello friends and family! Thank you once again for supporting me and the students of Collin through your prayers and generosity. God's been working in lots of different ways this month!
This year we had over a thousand people come! The musical talent was exceptional (as always) and almost everything at the artisan market sold out. The goal was to reduce the price of the campus ministry leadership conference we send our students to in May, and we certainly did so: by at least $27,000!! If you would like to watch it, it's available online, and you can also make a donation! I particularly enjoyed the Musical Improv act.
The auditorium was packed to the brim!
This is my friend Katie, a UTD student I met several years ago and study scripture with every Friday. She was invited to the leadership conference and can't wait for May!
Honestly, it was wonderful to have this retreat in February instead of January! (We moved it because of covid.) Our pastors prepared talks on humility, surrender, intimacy/prayer, and sacrifice. The intimacy/prayer sermon was particularly enlightening. Garrett (Collin's director) talked about the dangers of thinking without God's input. He not only suggested getting rid of negative "self-talk," but all "self-talk!" I've been pondering this ever since, and have begun using spare moments to talk to God instead of just talking to myself. I've definitely felt my relationship with the Lord grow deeper. I'd love to hear about your relationship with God; do you talk to him at set times or throughout the day? How do you grow closer to him? I'm realizing how multi-faceted a relationship with our Father can be!
Our entire staff (over 50 people at 15 campuses) worshipping together.
For our New Testament class, we've been listening to lectures by Dr. Rick Watts, a Cambridge-trained professor at Regent College in Vancouver. He offered to meet with the apprentices for an hour each week to answer our questions! It has been a HUGE help to pick his brain on the finer points of scripture.
Here's Rick and the apprentices! We were a lot happier than we look.
Small Group (Core)
We've started meeting on Tuesday nights instead of during lunch, and while not many students have come, our discussions are off to a great start! A family in McKinney whose son was involved with FOCUS has generously opened their home, and the relaxed environment has helped our conversations deepen. So far we've talked about questions we have about God and the value and nuance of trust.
Before we had a location for our small group, we met up for dinner to jumpstart relationships (and make sure our students had Tuesdays free)
This week, the kid's meal toy joined us :)
This is our host family's cat, Sadie! The students adore her, and now she's our group chat profile picture.
This sweet girl took me shopping with her and decided to get a 3rd piercing!
Every Monday, our staff team has leader development/encouragement time with our student leaders. This semester, I've been hosting the girls at my house and making dinner with them! It's one of my favorite parts of the week, and I love seeing these girls grow.
If you can't tell from the blurriness of the picture, we have a good time :)
That our Tuesday night small group would bring students closer to the Lord
For A, that she would be open to studying the Bible with me (she told me she would "think about it")
For M, the Muslim girl I've been sporadically studying scripture with, that she would understand God's character
For T, a student we met last week who has a difficult life and tries to find hope in astrology and fiction, that he would find comfort in the Lord
Thank you for your continued prayers and support! It's encouraging to know there are many soldiers fighting for truth alongside me.