Kicking Off 2021-2022!
The last weeks have been a blur of camps, events, trainings, and lots and lots of new students, and there is so much to tell! As you all are getting back into the swing of this time of year, I hope you have had restful summers with lots of time to rest and prepare for life in this busy season.
Each year, our FOCUS staff take a few days at the beginning of August to pray, plan, discuss, and prepare for the upcoming semester. Since we do not work in an office together, our teams have few times like staff retreat where we can have concentrated work time and also little breaks together. It was meaningful to get to know the 3 apprentices we have at UTD (out of 19 total--our biggest apprentice class ever!). They fit right in with our group! Lailah, Michelle, and Taylor are already contributing great questions and ideas, and they each have a passion for God's work in students that is revitalizing to all of us.
|UTD Campus Ministers' Lunch|
SICM, Limited Texas Edition
At SICM, students learn to think pastorally about their relationships; they learn to consider the aspects of a small group that make it relational and how to develop those aspects in a group they are in; they learn to read Scripture with critical reading skills and to put things into words that even a student from Bangladesh would be able to understand; they learn to write and ask good questions that stimulate discussion; they learn to think about faith as it flows into every area of their lives, not just church; they learn again to love as they have been loved by Jesus.
|Hiking with Cathryn and Jessica!|
At UTD this Year
We host 2 weeks' worth of events at the start of each school year to try to welcome and meet as many freshman as we can. Those events those weeks are in a way our most concerted push to reach out to the campus each year. It's an ideal time because students are trying to get to know the campus, make friends, and get involved in something. Lots of them make friends and get involved in FOCUS!
One event I was especially excited about was the LatinXplosion we did for Latino/Latina students. We hosted a few ethnic-specific events this year, but this is the one that I helped coordinate and that I have a soft spot for considering my own Cuban heritage. We played a couple rounds of trivia and loteria, had a few fun snacks like sweet bread, and then we did a short time of sharing about places at UTD where we'd been able to find community. My friend and fellow FOCUS pastor, Andrea, shared with the whole group about her experience in FOCUS. She told me at the end of the night that the president of one of the other clubs was so touched by the whole event that he asked if he could join FOCUS, too!
I'll share more about the 6 girls in my peer team and more exciting happenings next time, but for now, that's all! Thank you all so much for your continued investment in me and this mission field. God is working powerfully already this year. I can't wait to share more with you about what he does!