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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 ministry is going to continue in ways it doesn't always in a normal year. 

Leader meeting this past monday. Students shared about what they had learned in ministry the past year. 

I have two praises from the past month. One is that McKendry who was in my core last year has gotten baptised! Nothing is as exciting as someone deciding to make Jesus Lord. I have been so encouraged to get to watch McKendry as she joined the ministry and grew into Jesus. The second praise is that we nearly reached our goal for Keep FOCUS Growing this past monday. We have raised about $30,000 which means with matching funds $60,000 has been raised. Students have also raised almost $10,000 themselves. The generosity and God's provision in the midst of a pandemic is incredible. We are still about $12,400 away from our original goal so if you feel led to give you can do so at and click the link to give on Facebook fee free! Thank you again for joining us in prayer and through giving. This annual fundraiser helps us to keep the lights on and be ready for what God wants to do on the college campus. You are a part of what God is doing at UTA and all our campuses in DFW. So thank you.

McKendry (on the left) was baptized by my friend and boss Sarah!

Core! These sweet girls have decided to keep meeting each week over the break. I am so excited to get to keep fellowshipping with them even though we aren't physically together.

Thank you again for your support and prayers! Check out the student testimony below and more of the beautiful views from Big Bend!!

Many Blessings,
Emily Umstead

Sunset at the south rim

Sunrise outside our cabin.


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