Gearing up for a great year of ministry!

A good amount has happened this past month and God has really been impacted these campuses. We are back in full swing with our students. As a staff we took a trip at the beginning of the month to reflect, pray and prepare for this coming year of ministry to begin. It was very recharging. We spend a good amount of time in prayer, confession and worship to get our hearts and attitudes in line with the Spirit leading us. We also spent time with our student leaders and prepared them for these first couple weeks of outreach on campus.

Staff Retreat
Staff retreat was very inspiring and motivating to just be with God and connect with him in preparation of this upcoming busy season. It was also great to build unity and relationships for a few days with our fellow staff members before we go out.
Myself, Miriam Freeman, Danielle Clark, Matt Clark, Brittany Tydlacka, and Cody McCarty. Our UNT, TWU, and NCTC Pastors at our summer retreat. 

Leadership Prep
Student Leader Prep: Every weekend before we start meeting students on campus we have a weekend prep for all our students who will be helping reach out. These students will also be studying the bible with students they meet and leading small group bibles studies in their homes, dorms, and apartments. Our preparatory weekend went great. Our leaders had such great attitudes and were so motivated to reach-out to their fellow classmates.
Our student leader team for UNT, TWU and NCTC at the Leadership Prep

Welcome Week

Welcome Week: The Monday after our leader prep weekend we start off all of our outreach efforts by helping move freshmen in. During that entire week the campuses have several events set up for people to get involved on campus. We also as an organization host several event to meet students. Out strategy during this week is to meet as many people as we can. From there we continue to invite them to large group events, out to lunch and just generally get to know them and introduce them to our community. From there we start gauging who is interested and consistent and we offer one on one bibles studies to anyone who is interested. This past week we started our small groups. One of our small groups had 17 international students come. That makes me so excited! We are reaching out to the nations right here on these college campuses.

A group of us helping move students in on move in day!
This picture was taken at one of the girls small groups this past week!

Specifically at the North Central Texas Campus, welcome week went great! Since NCTC is a community college they don't have any welcome week events. They have one event at the end of the first week to welcome students to campus. So in order to meet more students and build a presence at that campus I planned and had approved welcome week events every day that first week! This went really well. Our biggest and largest event was a free burgers and hot dogs event. NCTC is a very small campus and I figured we would maybe have 50 people show up. We fed a hundred people, but ran out of food with dozens of people left. We had our NCTC small group this past Wednesday and had a great discussion with lots of new students.
We did an "Identity Board". Students could draw, or write something that defines them. This created great dialogue and helped us to meet a wide range of students. 
Lawn games with free hotdogs and burgers.
We had a booth set up at the end of the week at NCTC's "Welcome Back Bash" we talked to people about our ministry and I did free face painting. It was as a hit. 
Come Celebrate 20 years of FOCUS 
On October 8th we are having a FOCUS 20 year celebration! It will be on the University of Texas at Dallas campus. We will have refreshments, recap the past 20 years, tell stories and share our vision for going forward. We will also have a time to thank all of you, our supporters, who keep us going! I know for many of you this may be quite a drive, but if you live in the area or want to make a weekend trip to the Metroplex I encourage you to come!

Student Testimony 

"I came to college knowing about God but not knowing God. I didn’t grow up as a Christian but went to youth group with friends in high school. As an overachieving perfectionist I saw church as a place to prove myself. Religion was a set of rules explaining how to be “good”. As is all too common, I had completely missed the point of Jesus.FOCUS quickly turned my attitude about God upside down. Seeing so many people who were willing to say “these are my flaws. I’m not good, but God is” was life changing for me. These people clearly knew God and had a relationship with Him. Yet they weren’t perfect and weren’t pretending to be. It’s still difficult for me to remember that I can simply accept God’s grace; He wants me to have it. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not responsible for earning grace on my own. God has a sense of humor. Shortly after leaving UTD, God called me to Thailand. I now live in a country that is 95% Buddhist. I am immersed in a culture that is obsessed with earning merit. I see the Thai people worship idols and give offerings, and it breaks my heart. Then I look at my own life and see that, in my own way, I am trying just as hard to earn merit. God is so strategic. He puts you exactly where you need to be. He knew I needed to be in FOCUS. And now he’s brought me to Thailand to minister to people who share the same heart struggle as me. FOCUS changes students’ lives and then sends them out to minister to others. And because of that, I truly believe FOCUS will reach the world."
Ways To Be Praying
Be praying for all our new students and those who we are reaching out to right now. Be praying that we as leaders would be in tune and receptive to the Spirit's leading as we work to minister to them and provide for them. Pray for boldness in our student leaders that they would be bold and confident in expressing their faith and the love they know and have received from God. Many college students are making big decisions as to who they want to be and what they want to give their energy to while in school. Pray that hearts are thirsty for something greater than what is often more easily found in reckless living and harmful relationships. Pray that we as a community can continue to grow and provide more students to know they have the choice to live for something much greater than what television and social media shows them. Pray that God would change the atmosphere of these campuses. Pray this especially for our NCTC campus. College students don't typically like community college, they see it as just a stepping stone to the university and don't care to meet or get involved with people there. As a ministry we want to provide Christ-like communities at every campus in the metroplex; all the way from the largest to the smallest! Pray that our NCTC campus would become a place that students love going to and want to be at because they have encountered a community of students who genuinely love them because of the love that Christ first showed us. Pray boldly and with big requests as we are out on these campuses! Thank you for your prayers and support. 


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