UTA packs the first two weeks of school with tons of events aimed at facilitating connection and friendship among the student body. Seeing this as a huge open door for us as Christ's ambassadors to invite students into spiritual friendship, our staff and student leaders spent these weeks going to as many of these events as possible in order to meet as many students as possible. I am always so eager to see how God uses this season of intense outreach to initiate relationships that will change lives, and he certainly came through! After connecting with new students at campus events like the Big Howdy (where we danced the night away to Hindi music with hundreds of international students) and Waffleopolis (the biggest waffle party I have every been to), we were able to welcome so many students to our own FOCUS events, where most of our attendees were new students who made friends with people who love Jesus, many of them for the first time!
|This picture was taken at a board game night we held on move-in day, two days before school even started. Day -2 and my mind was already blown!|
(10 points to whoever can find me)
|This was taken at our candy poker night. Want to know why you can't see me? We maxed out the room so I sat on the floor and played cards with some of my new friends :)|
Thursday Night Fellowship
A couple Thursdays ago, we met for our first Thursday Night Fellowship (TNF) of the year for worship, teaching, and relationship-building. Given that most of the events we had held prior to this point were games-related, we weren't sure how many of our new friends would be interested in coming to an event that was so overtly Christ-centered. To our amazement and tremendous joy, God brought in more students than we initially even had chairs for! Here they are below worshiping with us.
|Despite there being so many new people at TNF, our community didn't shy away from expressively worshiping our God!|
Finally, I wanted to take some time to tell you about core. Core is our weekly small group where we seek truth (read: Jesus) and genuine love (read again: Jesus) alongside brothers who may or may not be believers yet. This year, God blessed us with eight men's cores, each of which he then blessed with anywhere between 5 and 14 guys! I help lead one with my good friend Garrett and I was so encouraged by our first meeting this past week! We had such a diverse group of guys who came and found friendship and meaningful conversation that they were not used to experiencing. Some of our guys came to mature in their existing faith, while others are earnestly considering whether they want to give their lives to Jesus. Some our guys are American, while others are international students from countries like India and Nepal. I'm so glad our little community reflects the diversity of our campus and I'm so excited to see what God does with this group of guys this year!
Thank you so so much for your investment in what God is doing at UTA!! If the stories and pictures above aren't enough to demonstrate the tremendous fruit he is bearing through your generosity, check out the student testimony below, which was written by a student who was in my core last year, was baptized (see my April update!), and is now leading one of our men's cores!
With love and gratitude,