I'm so incredibly appreciative for you! I can't thank you enough for all of the support, prayer, and mula that you have donated to helping me bring God's light to Brookhaven and Richland college campuses. What a unique blessing it is to have so much care and support from you. I pray for you as much as I can, and that God would bless you even more than you've blessed me!Karaoke Night
On November 9th, we had a Karaoke Night! After the spontaneous outbreak of karaoke at the Halloween party, we decided to dedicate a Tuesday hangout completely to karaoke! We had a really fun time singing together and goofing around to some funny songs like "Never Going to Hit Those Notes" (link) and all time classics like "Can't Help Falling in Love". This is a picture of Benji lip-syncing to Bryan who was NOT having it (jokingly).
Thanksgiving at Brookhaven
The week before Thanksgiving, on Tuesday, we had a Thanksgiving lunch and crafting session at Brookhaven. Claire and I brought lots of snacks and I brought crafting supplies to make turkey hats! While eating and crafting we played Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on one of the school's projectors. Lastly, I brought thank you cards and pens and set up a table in the doorway for passers by to write thank you notes to their professors, friends, and family.
Lots of new people came to this event and said they'd be interested in doing stuff like this again. (The top picture is some new friends who made some turkey hats with us. If you look closely you'll see a tiny turkey hat on Claire's thumb that she made (bottom left). The bottom picture is our turkey brigade!)
Thanksgiving at Richland
The week before Thanksgiving, on Thursday night, we had a FOCUS Thanksgiving celebration at Richland! We invited all of our friends and decorated the whole room with Thanksgiving-y things. At our service that Thursday, Joey gave a a brief word where he reminded us how important prayer and giving thanks is. The verse that stuck out to me the most was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 where Paul said, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." I think that this was really put into perspective when Joey said that it's important to thank God when life is good. Far too often we only look to God when we are in need and neglect to rejoice with Him when our lives are going well.
Then after the sermon, we all ate together! Chiloso so graciously donated a free fajita dinner buffet with enough for all 40 of our Richland and Brookhaven students to enjoy! That was quite the fun time of discussion, joking, and spending time with the students. One filled with the phileo (friendly love) of God!Thanksgiving with the Apprentices
Just before Thanksgiving, I invited my fellow apprentices over to my place for a little Friendsgiving. My roommate Stephen donated BBQ from Rudy's Country Store and BBQ, and we gathered to just hangout and relax. We eventually played some Jackbox games after we had eaten our fill. This was really meaningful to me, and my original intentions to get to know each other better were well met with great reciprocation and friendliness. There were a LOT of leftovers that my roomies and I snacked on for quite some time (pictured here).
Dec 7th with Manuel
On December 9th, we had our Richland FOCUS Christmas party! Lot's of students came to help decorate the room (but I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures, sorry), and we even had a tiny Christmas tree! The theme of the party was "Christmas Morning", so we all dressed in PJs and Claire, Joey, Sandra and I made breakfast casseroles to share with everyone.
After decorating, eating, and catching up with each other, we sang Christmas carols together. Our Christmas band was made up of Richland alumni and FOCUS alumni, and our sermon was given by our very own Joey Thurston. Joey reminded us of the original Christmas story from Luke chapter two and how incredibly meaningful it is that our God set the perfect example of humility and love by becoming a human to save humans. All in all, it was a fantastic time together with friends praising God just like Simeon as we experienced a bond of godly friendship.
Christmas Hang with Guy Apprentices
One of the apprentices, named Graham, invited all of the guy apprentices to have a little Christmas hangout at his and his wife's apartment. He lives in Arlington and works with UTA, so several of the other guys and I carpooled together so we could hang out as much as possible! (and save gas)
At Graham's house, we spent some time goofing around with each other as Graham showed us his collection of three Nerf guns that we proceeded to shoot each other with. Once everyone was there, we shared in the snacks of beef jerky and cheese balls that we had accumulated and began playing some party games on the Nintendo Switch.
As short as it was, this was one of the most beautiful times I've gotten to spend with my fellow men-after-God's-own-heart. While we had had our small interactions here and there, I felt like this particular time spent together brought such meaning and substance to my relationships with those guys. It was such a delightful way to bring my fall semester to a conclusion, and even prepare me for another semester of ministry with my fellow disciples.
Starting Next Semester
Well, this next semester has started and I feel exceedingly ready, mildly anxious, and determinedly set on making this semester even better than the last! Sadly, the month of January has been already saturated with new cases of COVID's weird cousin called omicron, but luckily most of these cases have been more mild than the og COVID and the delta variant. Due to these cases, our staff retreat (which is more of a week long boot camp than a day spa) was rescheduled for February. So we spent that week doing alternate assignments and getting a head start on preparing for this coming semester. School officially starts next week on Tuesday. Before we can get there, however, this weekend is Winter Camp!! I'm still wonderfully excited for Winter Camp! I can't wait to update you on how it all goes (and I will have LOTS of pictures, so don't you worry)!
Oh yeah, and I got engaged last week.
- A continued interest and desire in the students' hearts at Brookhaven to seek out a community, and that we can provide a place of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth and understanding for them.
- For me to continue to practice resting with God rather than feeling like I have to always be on the move.
- For the alive and active Word of God to infiltrate and take over my heart and the hearts and minds of all of the students in and around FOCUS.
- For all the people with COVID to get healthy soon and to take the proper precautions to help keep others from getting it.
- For Winter Camp to be safe from COVID and still just as Spirit-filled and life-changing as ever.