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Grace Upon Grace

I can hardly believe it. The school year is once again coming to a close! Wrapping things up while separate physically has been difficult for me to process through. So many sweet moments will be different this year. Graduations, end of year party and summer FOCUS gatherings. Yet at the same time there is so much to be thankful for. God is still moving. Here are some of the things He has been doing!:

  • One of the girls I have been studying the bible with 1-1 all year has decided to follow Jesus! Her name is Alexandra. She came in not really knowing who Jesus was but has been so enraptured by his love and grace for her that she wants to make him Lord!

  • Ashlie (the lovely girl I lead core with) and I decided to create smaller groups out of our core that we are calling Anchor Groups. Girls meet weekly sharing life, praying for and encouraging each other. Keeping up with each other virtually as a core of 15 was difficult. In these smaller groups they have more time to share about their lives and can keep up with each other more easily. Our girls plan to continue this into the summer!

Two of our smaller Anchor Groups!

  • Our women and men's leaders have been meeting each morning over zoom to read scripture together for 30 minutes! One the women's side we have been reading through the Old Testament specifically 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings. I have found sweet consistency and connection in the times with these girls. It is such a wonderful way to start the day and I hope we continue to do activities like this when quarantine is over. (In fact I wouldn't have thought to do a morning call like this before the pandemic. Everything was about meeting in person which made this near impossible to do everyday.)
  • We have put together a group of men and a group of women who we see potential leadership in and are meeting weekly. These are the students who would have gone to SICM but given the circumstances we have decided to mentor them through weekly meetings. 
  • God has graciously provided for us through the Paycheck Protection Program. This will create stability for our staff salary-wise and make up for any shortcomings brought on by supporters having to step off our support teams. 
  • Bailey who I have also been studying the bible with 1-1 all year is about to start a 1-1 bible study with another girl in our core named McKendry. I am so excited for Baileys opportunity to now go out and make and mature disciples and build up McKendry in that vision as well! That is the end goal of all we do. To make and mature disciples who will go out and make and mature disciples.
  • I got to see some people (from a distance) in Arlington recently and it filled my heart to see them in the flesh again. I can't wait for when we will be reunited again. 

Obligatory show and tell of our animals. 

We followed a Bob Ross tutorial

Emily and Esther both Seniors graduating in May.
We have our last TNF (Thursday Night Focus) this week! Please pray that it will be a blessing for our students and serve as a good send off for the year. Summer FOCUS will be starting virtually on May 14th. Prayers for working out the kinks and finding ways to make it interactive and meaningful
would be wonderful. 

On a closing note, I have been reflecting and I think now is the time that students need to know the good news of Jesus more than ever. The world seems to be in chaos with many things they lean on being swept out from under them. What better opportunity do we have than now to tell them of a creator who loves them so much that he came a died for them then was resurrected. Our staff and student leader are not being passive we are pushing to make the good news known. We are working out new ways and tweaking old ways of doing this that work in the world of quarantine. God is still moving, the harvest is still plentiful. 

Thank you again for so generously supporting me and making ministry possible!

Many Blessings,
Emily Umstead


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