Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rejoicing!!

Welcome to my first post of the 2019-2020 school year! There is SO much good news to tell you guys, as God has shown up SO clearly these first few weeks of school!

Welcome Week

Weeks one and two at UTA and week one at DBU were jam-packed with relationship-building. Our amazing student leaders sacrificed so many hours outside of their normal work schedules and class hours to be consistently on campus meeting new people for the Kingdom. I am so thankful not only that we were able to host our own events for meeting students, but that the university hosted their own events that we could just show up to in order to make some new friends! And those friendships are already bearing so much fruit.

For example, we hosted a night of ultimate frisbee, kubb, Spikeball, and other games that we could invite students to come play with us. At this event, a Hindu freshman from India came up to us because he saw a dog that one of our students brought, and as we began talking and he learned that I was on staff with FOCUS, he pulled me aside and confessed his struggle to approach God when he is aware of his own sin. And I got to tell him that if Hinduism is true, God may actually be ashamed of us, but that if the good news of Jesus -- which I think is far more credible -- is true, then we can approach God with confidence because of his work on the cross! AND THEN I got to share with him the story of the prodigal son! AND THEN while I was sharing, another Indian student who was in our ministry last year and was captivated by Jesus joined us in our conversation and got to share his own testimony with this freshman. AND THEN this freshman told me he wanted to learn more about Jesus. Praise God that this is seriously just a small slice of the crazy conversations our staff and students were blessed to have to kick off a fruitful year of ministry!

We hosted a board game night on move-in day, before classes even began, and look at how many people came!!

We did gamble with the new students we met.... but with candy! So many students from our Candy Poker night are still coming around today!

Thursday Night Fellowship

We have had so many people at our Thursday Night Fellowship meetings these first two weeks! Not only have they gotten to worship with their peers and go play Zombie Tag, go to the movies, and go to eat afterward; they have also heard two amazing sermons on God's steadfast nature and the implications of that for their lives, should they choose to pursue a relationship with him. What a powerful and relevant message for a young student dealing with the life/career uncertainty and anxiety that college can so often bring!

Are you kidding me

Core

I have the absolute privilege of leading core this year at UTA with Nathan. 


I SO wish I was able to snap some pics of the first couple cores, because they were amazing. Week one, we had TEN people show up to talk about biblical community and what sacrifices we would need to make for core to be a place where such community could take place. Week two, we had FIFTEEN people show up to talk about Jesus-style friendship and what commitments we would need to make for core to be a place where our friendships genuinely an authentically help us look more like Christ. I already love these guys so much and I'm so thankful that many of them have already agreed to study the Bible with me and Nathan 1-on-1!

I also have the privilege of overseeing our DBU core and mentoring the students who lead that. They have been so hard at work getting this ministry off the ground this year and they did such an excellent job inviting people to core. We had around twelve people last week excited to learn how to reach any non-Christians or Christians-by-name-only on their campus!

You Guys

Thank you guys SO SO much for making all of this possible. I'm blown away that your generosity and the generosity of other supporters like you have placed five full-time campus missionaries on the UTA and DBU campuses, collectively, who are out here meeting students and equipping our leaders to do the same!

In addition, I wanted to invite you all to our annual UTA Open House!! I would love for you to come to campus Saturday, October 19 at 4:00 pm to participate in one of our fellowship meetings and see all this for yourself! It's going to be a blast.

With love and gratitude,
Jalen



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