Welcome back to my updates, everyone!
It’s been another packed month of ministry, and I feel I have way too much to share about! This blog is going to be a mixture of ministry updates with some reflections on my experience so far as things are ramping down for the semester.
This month we did an SMU girls night event that is now my favorite event we’ve ever done: Emo Night. Laura, a student in our ministry, and I hypothesized that most people have had their own experience of an “emo phase” in their middle/high school lives, and we wanted everyone to share theirs with each other. So we pulled out the eyeliner, leather jackets, and black nail polish to create an unforgettable night. We began with some cookies and brownies, an important staple for any girls night. Then we jumped into poetry and diary entry reading. Turns out we have some very talented poets and writers! It was so special to see these girls be vulnerable about some of their darkest moments and how they persevered just as David did, by bringing their everything - good, bad, and ugly - to their Creator. We topped the night off with Emo Karaoke. Personally, I showed off my rapping skills with “Migraine” from Twenty One Pilots, and we had some performances of My Chemical Romance and Skillet. The night bonded us girls in a way that many events don’t because its purpose was to call us to share our bits and pieces we are tempted to hide from our community. It will definitely be returning next year!
Every November, nonprofits participate in Giving Tuesday, which is a time for people all over the globe to donate and show their support for missions that are meaningful to them. This year, FOCUS was able to raise over $120,000, which is absolutely incredible! I think it is such a strong testament to how many people this ministry has been able to impact over the years. This money will enable FOCUS to keep bringing thousands of students into community and pointing them to Christ. Thank you for all who were able to send your support! I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you again for the support you are sending to me personally. It is because of you that I am able to be a small participant in the amazing Kingdom work that is being done here, and I cannot express how grateful I am for that.
God Works in our Weakness
I think one of the most impactful parts of this past month for me was my one on ones with people. I get to meet with students in many different contexts, and the one on one times always seem to be where I witness what God is really doing in their hearts. Many times it is also clear that God is using them to minister to me just as much as He is using me to minister to them. As some of you may know, I have struggled with depression for a few years. In the past it has been inconvenient when it got in the way of my school studies, but now that I am in full time ministry, I was terrified of it getting in the way of my new responsibilities. While I was focusing on all the negatives of this weakness of mine, God only ever saw the ways He could use it to bring life. If my depression has shown me anything, it is that God is not consumed with my productivity in this life, rather He is passionate that I fully realize His love for me and share that with others. One Thursday Night Fellowship, after leading worship, I realized my heart had not really been “in it”, and a wave of shame washed over me. As I was wallowing in my self-perceived “failure”, a student took me aside and confessed that she had been struggling with depression and was seeking advice and help. In that moment, my heart sprang to life because I knew that even if I didn’t have the ultimate cure-all for depression to give her, I could simply share what God had been teaching me. My vision for my purpose was renewed because I could deeply empathize with this girl. I could see then that the arrows of the Enemy were so insignificant compared to the master plan our God has for my life and for this students’ life. How good is the God we serve!
Classes are starting to wrap up for the semester, as are Cores (small groups) and Thursday Night Fellowships (big groups). Christmas is around the corner, and while I’ll miss the students over break I’m excited to have time to rest and reflect on what God has been doing so far. I hope this blog has found you all well, and that God is guiding you into all peace through His Son that gives us life. Please continue to pray for the ministry that is being done here in DFW, and that God would use me, His humble servant, to bring His Kingdom here. Feel free to read this month’s testimonial and have a great December!