Let us not neglect meeting together

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25

Things have started to slow down a bit this last month. Our students finished their spring semester and summer is now in full force. Our apprentices finished their 10 month program with us and we sent a group of almost 90 students to Washington State. We've started our weekly summer classes and weekly fellowship. The summer is upon us . The summers are nice because they allow for time to pray and reflect on the last school year and prepare for the next. I've really been reminded of this verse this past month. Summers provide great opportunities to love on and be loved by the staff team that I work with. During the school year, we spend lot's of time pouring into our students and the summers allow time for us to motivate each other in acts of love and good works. During the summer the staff from all 9 of our campuses get together weekly to do a devotional, plan, envision and often share a meal together. As we have reflected more on the year, I'm reminded of how faithful He truly is. Despite my continual attempts to take control He still works and is true to who He is.

End of the Year Staff Dinner
These are some of my closest friends and co-workers at our end of the year staff dinner. 

Last week all of our apprentices gave their final sermons. After the sermons we had a end of the year dinner to celebrate and reflect on the year. Apprentices commit to a 10 month full time intensive program. The apprenticeship trains people who are interested in doing ministry by providing them opportunities to work alongside our campus pastors and take courses in pastoral and biblical studies. 
This is the entire FOCUS staff.

At the end of the year dinner we gave our apprentices gifts and told funny stories/memories from the year. I get to work with such a fun, caring and hospitable team! 

Student Institute of Campus Ministry
We sent 89 college students to the Student Institute of  Campus Ministry at be beginning of May in Bellingham Washington. We send students to this training each year to equip them as student ministers at 9 of the college campuses in the DFW area. This trip trains students in how to study the bible one-on-one, lead small group studies, be bold in meeting people and sharing the gospel with people in their day in day out lives. This training will equip them well in college ministry but the tools they gain also apply to the rest of their lives. Many of these students we ask to be our student leaders, which then become some of the students I meet with each week to continue discipling and equipping.

One of the tools that I gained from SICM when I went 6 years ago was how to study the bible one-on-one with people. There really is no better way, in my opinion, to approach friendships, discipling and mentorship than getting together one-on-one consistently. In I one-on-one settings your attention isn't divided, its more comfortable to share vulnerably and directly speak into each others lives. This honestly isn't a value I see in many churches today, and understandably. It's a hard thing to maintain as life seems to get busier and busier, but I think working at maintaining on-on-one relationships is so worth the planning, challenges and re-planning. One-on-one settings have been some of the most growing and fruitful environments for my faith and maturity. As a freshman it was in a weekly one-on-one study about friendship with my friend David Wright where I learned to get over myself and talk to people. It was in consistent one-on-one time with my campus minister and now my supervisor Matt Clark that I've been supported and challenged to be more vulnerable and open. It's in my weekly one-on-ones with college students that I'm continuity reminded of how little ability I hold in redeeming people, but that His grace and love will renew minds and hearts.  

This is a picture of myself and the group I went to SICM with back in 2011. I was invited to SICM as a freshman at Collin Community College. In High School I had a lot of interest in doing ministry in some way. God had already taken care of me by introducing me to FOCUS during my freshman year, but then getting to go to SICM further motivated my desired for ministry work. This trip was a defining moment in realizing that God was calling me to do college ministry specifically.
This isn't all of our students who went, but it sure is close. What a great group!!
This is Yvonne and Alex. They both go to UNT. Every day the students had classes in the morning through the afternoon. This was on their first day of classes.

Here is a lesson that Alex said he learned from the classes at SICM: One lesson I learned at SICM that I want to implement in discipling others is about being purposeful; It really helped me think about how to be intentional with others in conversations. This lesson brought to my attention that some conversations can be meaningless and don’t build up a relationship very well. Being purposeful is intentionally forming relationships. It could look like asking someone questions about themselves to get to know them or being consistent in spending time with them. I think this is one of the key aspects in disclipling others. If we as disciples only talked to others when we feel like it, no one would be talked to.   – Alex Leatherman

The students started the beginning of every day by singing songs of worship and in prayer. Seeing our students grow in their relationships with one another by deepening their experiences of him makes me excited to see how the Spirit will work through these students on our campuses this next school year! 

You may have seen these two on the left in some of my previous posts. Danielle and Matt have been married for almost a year now and help lead our Denton Campuses.  Tony is on the right. He is one of our UNT students. I'm so glad Tony got to go! He found our community through a string of connections at a community college that we aren't planted at yet. He transferred to UNT and has become a great friend to many of our students. Tony works on campus at UNT in the cafeteria, He always smiles, shakes my hand and asks me how I'm doing, such a friendly guy!

Here is a lesson Tony said he learned from SICM:
I got to experience that God calls me to be faithful before He calls me to be anything else. So in moments where I may not see/understand/feel/think that He is there, I am still called to be faithful like He has always been. God is constantly molding me, and if I only focus and seek experiences where I think God is 'directly' talking to or shaping me, then I miss out on being a disciple and molded in many other ways.
- Tony Thomas

On the last day the students spent time praying for each campus and the students that would return there to spread the good news of Christ. Here in this picture they are praying for NCTC. I sent two students from NCTC this year! Kasey and Tyrus. 

This is Aileen showcasing her SICM diploma!  

Fundraising Update
During the summer I begin raising my funds for the next school year. I started my fundraising for this next semester this past month. Right now I am 60% fundraised. I'm looking for 5 new donors who can do $100 a month and 4 current donors who can raise their current amount. Through the summer I plan to keep you updated on the progress of my support raising, so that you can continue to pray. I encourage you to pray about beginning to support me or increasing your support. I know God will provide the funds needed. 


"I grew up going to church but didn't know how to have a relationship with Christ. It wasn't until I got involved in the youth ministry at my church that I really started to seek and encounter God. When the time came for me to attend Collin College I found myself in a dark place. I was not considered youth anymore. Many significant people in my life were no longer around, and I felt like a burden to those that were. I felt secluded, and was reminded of my past failures, fears, and insecurities. I began to believe that my past defined me, and I felt worthless. In the midst of my anger and frustration towards myself, I turned away from Christ. I tried to do life on my own and quickly found out that relying on my own strength made everything feel impossible. I remember eventually falling to my knees and asking God for life transformation. That's when God led me to FOCUS, and started to reveal Himself to me through the people there. Through their discipleship and outpouring of love towards me, I have been able to radically encounter God’s love. During my involvement in FOCUS, I have found my purpose in life-- to know Jesus, and make Him known."
- Michelle Kim (Sophomore, Collin College - Preston Ridge, Nursing)

Pray that our students would use their summer wisely; that they would be productive with their time and grow in their faith and love of God. 

Pray for our staff and incoming apprentices, as they reach out to current and potential donors and invite them to prayerfully and financially partner in their ministry


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