This past weekend was our winter staff retreat. It's one of my favorite times of the year when the entire FOCUS staff (now 13 of us) comes together to discuss several higher level ministry topics and enjoy fellowship with each other. We rarely have time together like that during the year and it's something that we consider important for a team to function well.
One of our biggest events is coming up on January 18-21st: Winter Camp! This year we will be going out to Sky Ranch in Van, TX. All four of our campuses will be there, likely totaling over 300 students. It's a very exciting time to experience our whole ministry at large and I would like to invite you out there for a day, evening, etc. Let me know if you would like to drop by and I can give you details on the schedule. Winter Camp is also an opportunity for us to do some longer, in-depth teachings to the entire ministry. Our speaker for the weekend, Geoff Mumley, is from a ministry in Bellingham, WA, that we have had a relationship with for many years now. Their ministry has actually taught us a lot of what we know about campus ministry and we have been sending our potential leaders up there just about every year for a campus ministry leadership conference called SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry). Geoff will be speaking on "The New Kingdom" which will include what God's kingdom is, what it has looked like in history, what it looks like now, what it produces, and what all of this means for us as disciples.
I would also like to point out a need in regard to Winter Camp. We, as a staff, always want every student to make it out to camp regardless of money issues so we offer scholarships to those who need them. Due to the size of our ministry we aren't able to offer as many scholarships as necessary so if you are interested in providing a scholarship for a student, please either let me know or visit our donations page. Even feel free to do this after camp is over as many students sign up at the last minute and we collect most of the payments afterward anyway. The cost for camp is $135.
Please pray for our four campuses as the semester starts. Pray that our students will engage with their classmates purposefully creating relationships with them. Pray that our staff is spirit-led and focused on God's mission. Pray that God gives me the strength necessary to lead the UNT ministry. And lease pray that we will see a lot of transformed hearts this semester.
I have a special prayer request for one student’s mother. She has several marble-sized tumors in her brain and a few smaller tumors in her lungs. She has dealt with cancer for around 6 years now and has fought it off twice already. She originally decided not to do any chemotherapy or radiation, but recently she changed her mind. The doctors are pretty confident that they will be able to put the cancerous tumors into remission, but that family needs a lot of prayer. Austin, her son, is one of our small group leaders at UNT. He had actually written a student testimony last year so I wanted to share that with you in case you would like to connect this request with a face:
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Thank you so much for all you do. You make this ministry possible. You are advancing the gospel. May God bless you.
Yours for the Campus,