Monday, November 21, 2022

Help Us Keep FOCUS Growing!

Every year, we put on a big fundraiser to help us keep the lights on as well as move forward in planting new campuses. Many of you so generously support me each month and year financially, but it takes a lot more than that for us to do ministry! We need money for things like outreach activities/materials, administrative support, planting new campuses, health/retirement benefits, etc. This fundraiser is all about being around for the long haul and expanding our reach.


This year our theme is “Faithfully local”.
One of our core convictions is that we go TO the students and do ministry where they live, eat, study, and play. We move into the neighborhood, so to speak. We contribute to the good of the campus, seeking to improve the culture and experience of each place, and we do so for the long-haul – something especially unique at community colleges that have few long-standing student organizations. 
When new students show up, we’re the locals ready to welcome them to the neighborhood. We train our students to do that well, knowing it’s something they can replicate in the future, wherever God leads them after college. 


Keep FOCUS Growing is about bringing vibrant Christian community to every campus in DFW, and ensuring that we can remain “Faithfully Local” to college and university students for decades to come. 


Here are the details: Some of our generous donors have banded together and agreed to match up to $54,000 in total donations during this campaign. So if we receive $54,000 in total contributions, they will kick in a SECOND $54,000! Your chance to give will be on November 29th!
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1dYXwafg4k7S0flfcIEQU6NbR0Z6KnkvH

Many of you already give so generously to me specifically. I don't want anyone to feel pressured to give to this as well! This is simply another opportunity to support us if you are able and willing. And prayers go such a long way in this so if you could be asking God to provide for us, I'd really appreciate it! If you have any questions, please reach out!!

Love y'all,





Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Semester So Far: God is Faithful

    How are already halfway through October?! I've been wanting to update y'all on a lot of things so this might be a bit longer but the first couple months of school have already been so good!

    You might have heard me mention that this year I'm focusing the majority of my time over at TWU! My peer team (the core leaders I meet with) are all at TWU and I am leading a core there too. And I have absolutely loved getting to spend more time on this campus! Welcome week (the week before school starts where we try to meet the new and returning students getting on campus) was just a blast! TWU itself doesn't have a ton of events until the end of the week so we spent a lot of time hanging out in the student union, playing games and chatting with anyone who wanted a place to hang out.

TWU takes over Rusty Taco.


Of course we always end up at the Denton Square at some point. We have so much fun exploring, playing games, and hanging out. Two of the girls pictured here ended up in my small group and I've loved getting to know them more!



Students love crafts at TWU so we did a lot of those! Here is us doing Tie Dye a Tote Bag! I met a girl here who I actually get to study the Bible with now!

    Welcome week was so incredibly encouraging. Both UNT and TWU have really high enrollment numbers this year so at times I was honestly a little overwhelmed with the number of students on campus. But God has been so faithful to bring us people looking for community and friendship. We have a lot of students who grew up in church but at some point stopped making that a priority. As they come to college, they are curious and interested in who Jesus is. Honestly, some of them don't stick around as they get busy with school work or other ways of spending their time that are more attractive. But many of them stay. The fruit I can already see God forming in their lives literally leads me to tears when I think about it. Our God is so faithful.

    The first week of school, we had our first Thursday Night Fellowship. I was blown away by how many students were so excited to get together and worship God. We packed out the room!


    Our team strategically decided that we needed to focus more effort at T-dub because 5 of our 7 student leaders are graduating in the spring. Our prayer is that God will raise up new leaders out of the girls currently in cores. So that's my role right now! We have four cores and about 60-70 girls overall in the cores. I meet with all of the corefas (student leaders) at TWU each week. They have also been such a source of encouragement to me. Most of them are seniors and very busy in their majors, yet they carve out a lot of time each week to invest in their cores, classmates, professors, and anyone else they meet on campus. I have not gotten a picture of my peer team yet but I'll share one when I get them together soon!

    The other main thing I do at T-dub is lead a core! I get the privilege of facilitating core with Hannah (middle) and Madai (right) and have absolutely loved that! You might remember Hannah from my peer team last year too, so I get to spend another year with her!

    Our core has been so incredibly sweet! Watching them become friends and care about each other is such a cool experience.






And the last big update: Fall Camp!!
    Last weekend, we took the students to Mt Lebanon Camp and spent about 24 hours playing, worshipping, and building friendships in our community.

Our whole Denton community!

The TWU girls representing

For a fun core thing, we bleach dyed shirts and they turned out so cute!



From left to right: Me, Madison, Hannah, Christianna, Madai, Abby, Addy, Madeleine

If you can't tell, I'm just pretty obsessed with these girls. 

    All that to say, thank you for praying for us! I have felt your prayers as we've been working on these campuses. Hearts are soft, making a way for people to see their need for Jesus.


    I'm so grateful to each of you for being a part of this mission with me! Thank you for your prayers and support. If there is any way I can be praying for you or anything you need, don't hesitate to reach out!

Love y'all,







Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Prayerfully anticipating the school year!

It's the start of a new school year! I'm so excited to jump into this year and see what God has in store for us and these campuses. But first, here's a little bit about my summer! 

What a summer it's been! At the end of the school year, we took about a hundred students on a trip to Washington to attend SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry). We spent a couple of days exploring Seattle before heading up to Bellingham for the conference put on by our friends at another campus ministry up there. 

The gum wall at Pike Place market is disgusting but somehow pretty at the same time - go figure.


I could not get enough of this view!

The last time we were able to have SICM in Washington was at the end of my apprenticeship in 2019. The left picture is of me and the other apprentices from the same class and the right picture is us going back this year!


I love getting to hang with Darby and Shayla. Working with them in Denton has allowed us to form close friendships and it's one of the sweetest things about my work to me.



I think these students were so blessed and challenged by the conference, I know I was. I was reminded of how big God's mission is. He is working worldwide and we get to partner with him wherever we find ourselves. I've been encouraged more to pray for the world and world missions! 

Honestly, the whole trip was a big reminder of how much more I have to grow in prayer specifically. I often feel a pressure to cover more ground in my prayers - to pray for more people and situations, not forgetting anything. But the truth is that having a relationship with God means moving beyond my prayer list and letting the Spirit lead me in how I pray. It's comforting to know that I can trust Him to develop our relationship, that burden isn't solely mine. What a good God!


Jon and I celebrated 3 years of marriage in July! We made a plant terrarium at my favorite plant shop.

I got to visit my grandma too!! I haven't been able to see her in the pandemic so I loved getting to be there.

A few girls from my core got together for brunch in Fort Worth!

I wanted to say a big thank you to those who have prayed and contributed to my fundraising season this summer! This was probably my most encouraging fundraising round and it's because the people I've gotten to talk to have been so kind and encouraging. I ended up at around 94% of my goal, which I'm really content with! I plan on fundraising some into the semester but I just feel so blessed by God providing for me. Whether you yourself were able to give financially or not, I very much appreciate you being a part of this mission with me. 


Looking forward

Our staff has also been spending a lot of time planning for the school year. One of the things I'm most excited about is some plans we have for TWU. The last few years, we've mixed the UNT and TWU corefas (student small group leaders) so that each pastor meets with both UNT and TWU students. This year we're changing it up and making a TWU peer team (group of corefas that get regular time with a certain staff person). And I'll get to head that up! The corefas for TWU we have this year have all been corefas before so we have some real momentum there we want to capitalize on. Our goal is to build up a new generation of leaders and really emphasize disciples making disciples. You might have heard that a church can disappear in one generation and that's even more true for college ministry where we get barely four years with a student. So if we don't pour into people now, we would struggle in the coming years. As I write that, I realize that sounds daunting but I'm really not worried. I am confident that the Lord has made a way for his kingdom to grow at TWU. I'm really looking forward to getting integrated over there and getting to love that campus more!

Ways to pray

- Would you pray for TWU? For me and the corefas to be faithful and love that campus so well. For students there to find community and friendship and ultimately the Lord.

- Pray for our corefa team and other leaders in our community to serve the Lord wholeheartedly this year. 

- Pray for our community to root their identity in the Lord and to find their security, comfort, and purpose in Him. This is the prayer our staff has been praying and we'd love for you to join us in that.


Love you guys! As always, feel free to reach out at any time to chat or ask for prayer!
Kindly,






Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Halfway through the semester, already?!

Between the ice days in February and spring break in March, this semester has absolutely flown by! For this update, I wanted to share some reflections that have been on my mind and heart.

1. God is working whether I'm there or not.

Something that has been sticking with me about Jesus is that to become human, he accepted limitations. He became a physical being who would be limited by time, space, and energy levels. He had to eat and sleep and rest. He wasn't out healing people and preaching to the masses 24/7. And it seems like he was okay with that. 

Ministry never really ends and that means that I can't (and shouldn't) be present for everything. But the cool thing is that God is working with and without me! He is inviting me into the work he's already started. When I meet someone on campus and they've been looking for a ministry to be a part of, I know God has already been moving in their lives to prompt that desire. Even in just a solid conversation, the Lord went ahead of that. I've talked about this before but this year has been a lot about me accepting my limitations and seeing the reality of God being sovereign and faithful. And me learning not to just rely on myself.

A side effect of this is that ministry is so so fun because I get to be a part of what God is doing without stressing myself out! And I get to learn to trust my teammates, making those friendships even sweeter!


Kailey (purple gloves) and I introduced Darby to kickboxing!



I'm passing on my newly found passion for plants to Hannah.



Katrina and Blue Belle chilling during core.

2. God gets to work in his own timing.

There's a theme here of my impatience :). But this is another idea that's been starting to seep into my heart. Growth isn't often fast and change is a process. My core was talking a couple weeks ago about how hard it can be to wait. We were complaining at first but then we started talking about how that process of waiting can lead us to lean on God more. In that space, God develops a greater intimacy with us.

God does not seem to be in a rush to correct every ignorant thing we think and do. And he’s also not in a rush to give us everything we could ever want to know upfront. He’s serious about willful sin but He is patient with us and reveals things in the timing he sees as best. Which means that this process takes a while and we can’t do much about it. Gosh, I can be so impatient in this area. I want to know upfront how I need to grow and the exact steps I need to take. I would really appreciate it if he'd tell me the best way to help people, thank you. 

But when I trust God's timing, I am free to make mistakes and own up to them. My security must be rooted in the Lord, and not in my own goodness. My goodness is way too shaky for that. I'm so excited to see how this truth will change my ministry.

I hope that whatever the Lord may be teaching you in your season of life, you are encouraged by how sweet our God is. 


A fun night learning to dance!



Aileen and Ernesto got married! Aileen and I were students together and she was in my peer team my first year on staff. I'm such a big fan of this couple!



We had an Olympic themed leader meeting and won gold!


Thank you for reading and wanting to be a part of this ministry, you guys mean the world to me. If there's any way I can be praying for you, don't hesitate to let me know!




Kindly,





Monday, February 7, 2022

Winter Camp and Other Random Updates!

I'm praying this update finds each of you well, warm, and safe after our little winter storm!

I can't wait to share with the the things that have been happening!

Showcase!

We get to have Showcase this year! Each year hundreds of our college students are invited to attend the Student Institute of Campus Ministry where they learn the foundations of being student missionaries on their campus. To help fund this leadership opportunity FOCUS proudly hosts an annual benefit concert and artisan market. You can purchase at anyfocus.org/showcase. I hope to see you and your loved ones there!


What's been happening?!

So much! The start of the semester has already been hectic but sooo good! We got to start the semester off with Winter Camp! This is one of our biggest events where we go out to Sky Ranch for a long weekend and get to retreat from our daily lives to connect with God and build better friendships with each other! This year we had a guest speaker, Rikk Watts, a professor from Regent College. We've actually used a lot of him materials and classes in the past during our apprenticeship classes to study Biblical Theology and the New Testament. Rikk is a talented speaker but he is firstly a pastor who just gets so excited to tell people about Jesus. If you'd like to listen to his talks, you can go to anyfocus.org/wintercampvideos. Winter camp is also a huge way we build community!


Micaela and I painted rocks together!


Some girls from the cabin!




I'm not sure if this video will work but I spent a lot of time up in the sound booth so this was taken during one of our worship sets. One of our apprentices led us in a dance to help us practice worship in more diverse ways!


I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted to but this really was such a life-giving time. Students are still processing through the things God revealed to them and many of them are more equipped to be disciples than before!

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Two weeks after Winter Camp, my peer team had a sleep over!! I just love hanging out with these girls. We played that one game where candy is wrapped up in plastic wrap and you have to get it open with oven mitts on, which was hilarious! And of course we did face masks, had snacks, and watched a movie! Then in the morning, we did a sabbath activity together.



Sabbath has been on my mind a lot recently. I know I need that regular extended time to take a break from my efforts and connect with the Lord. Relaxation and Biblical rest are different (and both can be good) but I often seek relaxation and even to turn off my brain before I go to the One who invented the healthiest rhythms of work and rest. This is a graphic that I've used a lot this semester to give me some structure and direction in my Sabbaths.


Random Photos!


This is Katrina from my core. We both love boba and got to meet up over break!!


The most important thing that happens at staff meetings is playing with Jude.


Y'all recognize Taylor? She's out in Boston at Law School now but I got to snag some time with her while she was visiting.


It's never a dull moment, especially when we have to livestream TNF because we didn't have a room and there are cats everywhere!


My core does a "Puddle" (Prayer hUDDLE) after each core and Blue Belle always wants to be included.




I just want to say, I am so grateful for each of you. It is so encouraging knowing I have people who want to know about and be a part of this area of God's kingdom. You guys are a constant source of encouragement and support to me and I appreciate you being here. I'm praying for you and hope you're well. Love y'all!