April Update

 Hello everyone and welcome to my final blog as a FOCUS apprentice!

They said it would go by quick, but nothing prepared me for how fast it would actually go. It feels like I blinked in August and it was May. I also feel I was not prepared for how transformative these 10 months would be. I believe this year will serve as a foundation for continued growth in my faith and ministry for the rest of my life. Here are just a few things I’ve learned:

1) It’s not about goodness, it’s about life. This statement was frequently used by Rikk Watts, the professor from Regent College that we apprentices had the incredible opportunity to learn from this year. His classes were full of pastoral advice threaded through each Scriptural lesson. He argued that from the beginning of time, God was not concerned with our righteousness so that we would be considered “good”. Rather, God longed for His creation to experience life to the full, and He knows far better than we that life to the full is found in obedience to Him. This simple axiom serves as a beautiful reminder to bring people to Jesus’ life, not the Law’s goodness. 

2) Life is found in walking in the light. I learned this lesson in my classes and by living in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. A part of my testimony is that I had a fear of showing people what was really going on in my heart because it was much dirtier than I dared to admit. I was always convicted by Scriptures that talked about confession, like 1 John 1:5-10 “And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we do not have sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, so that he will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” After living in a caring, compassionate Christian community, however, I learned that this Scripture is not scary; in fact, it is one of the most beautiful messages I could hear. I no longer have to live in darkness, hiding my sin as if I’m expected to be perfect. I’ve been learning, albeit quite slowly, how to consistently confess the sin in my heart - not to receive condemnation, but to be reminded of the grace that is extended to the darkest parts of my heart. 

3) I’ve also learned more about the infinite depths of Scripture. I feel as though I’ve scratched the surface of why people spend their entire lives learning about it. I have become fascinated with the structure and perspectives of the early church - what they believed about eschatological realities and how they persevered through seemingly impossible persecutions. I’ve found myself wanting to know more about the web of connections between the apostles and how they sent people to plant churches where the gospel had never been. 

All these lessons, and more, have made this apprenticeship year one of the most memorable of my life so far. And it’s all thanks to each of you who supported me. I would have never had this experience and learned these invaluable lessons if it wasn’t for your generosity. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

I will be transitioning off of FOCUS staff after May 31st, but I do not plan for my ministry and connection with these great people to end. The relationships I have made over these months are relationships I intend to keep for as long as God wills. These people have not only helped teach me the lessons above, but they consistently remind me of what I know to be true and encourage me to walk in that light. I am planning to pursue a degree and license in biblical counseling starting in August, and I would very much appreciate prayers for that. There are many, many things about this life that I have to learn about, and I am excited to launch into this new chapter to continue to prepare for whatever ministry God has planned for me to step into next. 

I will be reaching out to each of you individually to personally thank you for the support you have given to me and talk about ways you can continue to support this ministry which has changed my life and continues to change hundreds of others. 

For the last time, make sure to read this month’s student testimony and God bless!


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