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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:

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 have control over how ministry goes. I have a set of skills and FOCUS has a set of systems that work for us but those are being shaken up. We can't depend on them anymore. I've been learning to seek God more and his Holy Spirit. God has just as much of an ability to make this year a whopping success as he does any other year. I follow a God who created everything, who defeated death, who wasn't surprised by COVID. A God who can use trials and sufferings to build character and make us more like him. I have since decided to get excited about the new opportunities that this global pandemic presents us with rather than wishing things were the same. I think this pandemic has revealed to people how empty and broken they are. People are so much more aware of their need for something more, for real community and we get to step into that on the college campus at UTA!

Summer Focus on Zoom!! We started doing small groups for more engagement.

Currently we are waiting to hear back if we can meet outside and socially distanced at an amphitheatre on campus for our Thursday Night Fellowships. We are also planning virtual and outdoor social distanced events for the first week of school. The school has no in person events planned so we could very well be one of the only orgs planning stuff on campus. Join us in praying for getting outdoor spaces reserved for events and that the Lord would equip our staff and students leaders for this next year of ministry!

These are my sweet roommates. I am so blessed to get to live with them. (Top: Me, Hannah, Emily M, Kaylee; Bottom: Megan, Charity)

I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you. I am now fully fundraised! God has been so so generous to our staff this season of fundraising. We have had our most successful year collectively as a staff this summer in the midst of a global pandemic. God is so good and I am so thankful for your partnership and generosity. This thursday at 6pm central time I will be making a commitment for this next school year. You can come watch me and other staff members make that commitment on Just tune in at 6!

Thank you again for supporting me! Check out the student testimony below!

In Christ,
Emily Umstead


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 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God  who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
The first two weeks of the school year are a time of stepping out in faith and perseverance. We spend much of those two weeks on campus meeting new people, getting numbers, and inviting, inviting, inviting. We use our lunches and dinners, classes, and school events as opportunities to meet God's children. Those who know Him already and those who don't. Those who love Him and those who are suspicious of Him. It can be a fun, overwhelming, fulfilling, and exhausting two weeks. But God is so faithful to respond to our efforts. He is steadfast in opening doors and moving in the hearts of those we meet. 

I am beyond excited to see what God does with this new year! Core starts this week! Please be praying God…


9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10
We have been doing a sermon series on Ephesians the last couple weeks and I have been reflecting a lot on what unity in the body of Christ looks like and what our response to the grace of the Gospel should be.  When researching for a sermon I came across the Basilica of the Annunciation which is in Nazareth, Israel. It was built to commemorate Mary being told she was to have Jesus.

This church has commissioned Christian artists from all over the world to depict Mary and Jesus in their cultural styles and symbols and the results are beautiful. Here are a few of my favorites.

I see this artwork and I reali…