Skip to main content

February 2021

Cedar Ridge Preserve

School is officially back in session and so is campus ministry! It has been sweet getting back into the swing of core and meeting up with students. Many interactions have been virtual lately due to the increase of COVID cases. I am so thankful that there are ways we can meet in person safely and virtually when that is not an option. Ministry would be much more difficult without the technology we have today. 

On a hike with Juli and Riannon

Due to COVID we rotate the people who can come to our weekly ministry-wide meetings (Deep Dive) with the service streamed to the rest of the community. It was my cores turn this past week and it was so special to get to come in person again. We also started our outdoor worship session that we are going to be doing every week before deep dive from now on. Worshipping as a church body is so vital and important. Every time I get a special chance to do it again safely I remember how sweet and filling the experience is. I am psyched we are going to be doing it every week this year!

Outdoor worship (we wore masks for extra safety)

For Deep Dive this semester we are continuing our series on Mark. It has been so cool to dig deep into Mark and encounter Jesus through this series. I think sometimes we can think the Gospels are basic but there is so much good stuff to write on our hearts through repetition. I also started two new FOJ studies this semester that I am so pumped about!

Deep Dive!

Over the past month I have been wrestling with my future and some decisions that lay before me. I've been in many conversations with God and his people about whether I should stay on staff or transition off once I get my Master's degree in Social Work in August. Campus ministry, specifically FOCUS, has been integral to my walk with God. I really believe in what God is doing on college campuses and I believe it is extremely strategic. I have been utterly blessed by this ministry as a student and staff person for the past 7 years. Over and over I have gotten to join in the work God is doing and watch him transform the lives of young adults. It is important and good work. I have also felt a pull for most of my life to care and advocate for those who are oppressed. It's why I got my Bachelors in Psychology and am now pursuing a Masters in Social Work. I believe this passion was given to me by God. College students are not usually oppressed or disenfranchised. The ability to go to college is a privilege. If I stayed on staff I wouldn't be able to use the part of my heart that hurts for those who are down and out. Both college ministry and social work are God honoring jobs and I feel that God has given me a choice. So I've decided to transition off of staff by the end of August. I am sad to leave UTA and the staff team and students I love deeply but I am so excited to get to use my passion for the disenfranchised in my career in social work. I hope to work in victim advocacy specifically and will start searching for jobs in the summer. I wanted to thank you again for supporting me over the past couple years. Your partnership in the Gospel has been such a blessing and has made this work possible. 

Many Blessings,

Emily Umstead


Popular posts from this blog

Let Justice Flow

Summer Leadership Training small group! Earlier this month we had Summer Leadership Training (SLT). It was a three day training for all the potential and past student leaders in our ministry. (Most of it was held online with the option of some social distancing in person.) Since we couldn't take our students to SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) up in Seattle, Washington like we normally do we developed this three day training as a replacement! Students learned new ways of walking with God, what servant leadership and discipleship is, why we do core, how to ask good questions and more! Each day we got to discuss with our small group what we had learned that day. Over 100 college students dedicated three whole days investing in their growth as leaders and disciples. This is not normal. I often forget how countercultural it is to value something like SLT. Yet these students have caught the vision. They are fired up and excited to spread the good new on their campuses.   My f

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

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