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January 2021

UTA Staff with the gifts we got in our secret santa. I seriously love this team. Earlier this month we had our annual winter staff retreat. It was smaller than usual and many precautions were taken before going but I am so glad we got to do it. Staff retreat is always so sweet and restful for me. It gets me excited for the upcoming semester. I get to see staff members who work on other campuses and hear about what God has been doing there. This year specifically we had two sessions where we talked through the history of FOCUS. (Those who couldn't attend in person joined us on zoom.) It was a time for each person in chronological order to share about how God brought them into FOCUS and then brought them on staff. We heard from those who were there when Focus came together in 1996 at UTD a campus that had no student life let alone christian ministries to get involved in. FOCUS actually started the first welcome events that UTD ever had in a effort to bless the campus and reach out to
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December 2020

View from the South Rim of the Chisos mountains in Big Bend National Park where I spent Thanksgiving. It was very restful. As the semester comes to a close in the next two weeks everything has gone online. We are wrapping up cores and Deep Dive for the semester over zoom and the internet. As a result our typical Christmas party is not happening. Instead, as a staff, we are brainstorming different ways for our community to stay connected over the break in ways we haven't explored before. Many students have gone home since the start of Thanksgiving break. It will be another two months before they come back and many will be isolated due to COVID. Our staff is going to be providing book clubs, scripture readings, and virtual hangs for our students to get involved in over the break. One on one bible studies will continue virtually and we are encouraging our corefas (core facilitators) to get their core together virtually a few times over the break. So in many ways because of COVID minis

Only one thing is necessary...

The view at a recent spiritual retreat in Eisenhower State Park 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 I recently got the opportunity to go on a half-day outdoors spiritual retreat that was put on by one of our staff members. We were each given an itinerary to follow on our own. It was a time of silence, prayer, scripture, and worship. The scriptures we were given almost all had either Mary Magdalene or Mart

Jesus is Lord

  Deep Dive! Here is part of our community watching deep dive in person and socially distanced. The rest were watching the stream. Over the past two Sundays we have put on a stream for Pizza Theology an event we put on once a semester. Focus really values encountering God and processing what it means to follow him at the educational level we possess. Often our faith and knowledge of that faith sometimes stays at the veggie tales level and we don't pursue anything beyond that. At Pizza Theology we take time to wrestle with our faith and process through it at the college level. This time we talked about how to think like a christian in society. One of the best talks in it was done by my co-worker and friend Jalen. He took some time to discuss the upcoming election and what he had been wrestling with in what to do. His talk was humble and convicting and got me thinking about where I put my hope. Am I putting my hope in a particular candidate or political party? I think it can be so so

A Voice in the Wilderness

Mav Stampede!!!!!! Hanging outside with some of the gals we met!   A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare     the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert     a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3 God has been so good and faithful the past two weeks in the middle of what has felt a lot like uncertainty and the unknown.  Despite limitations from Covid we have still been able to meet students and invite them into community. Students seem to be more desperate for friends and connection than ever before with many finding it difficult to make friends this year. Hannah and I with two of the sweet girls we met in the past two weeks. I got to have a really sweet conversation with one of the girls I met this week. She sort of grew up in the church but has been feeling distant from God recently and like she can't approach him. I got to share the story of the prodigal son with her and God's radical immense grace. It was a grace in and of itself to get to share how good our G

New Opportunities

Our last Summer FOCUS was in person, socially distanced, with masks! Sarah Worsham gave a fantastic sermon framing this next school year that you can check out here:  https://www.twitch.tv/videos/695806552 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;     yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will consider all your works     and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11-12 Reflecting on this upcoming school year has been a mix of emotions for me. Everything seemed up in the air. There was no way to predict what it would really look like. I mourned what wouldn't be the same. This is my last year on staff and that fact was stark to me. How would we meet new students? Would we even get to do Thursday Night Fellowship every week or Winter Camp in January? What were classes going to look like? Would our students even come back to campus? I found myself putting hope in a vaccine that would put things back to 'normal'. This pandemic has just shown me how much I think I

Unprecedented

Virtual Summer FOCUS The Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. Exodus 33:15 Much of this summer has been spent watching and waiting to determine what ministry will look like in the fall. News on COVID is constantly changing so decisions from UTA for the fall have been slow. Recently the school announced they would do a mix of classes online, in person, and hybrid. All of this would be done in a way to maintain social distancing. I had also put in requests for rooms for the start of the semester in case we would be able to meet in person on campus. They just recently were rejected because they couldn't provide social distancing conditions for us. I really think this year is going to be a year of leaning on the Holy Spirit. FOCUS as a ministry has been around for over 20 years. Our staff has experience in how to do college ministry well. None of us have encountered how to do that in the midst of a global pandemic. The ability to l