A New Year

 A New Year

Thank You

I can't acknowledge enough the great benefit I've received from your prayers. I can't possibly thank you enough for you to truly understand the feeling of gratitude I have for your support. I pray that out of His infinite love and power you would be blessed with understanding how wide and deep and long and high is the love of God for you. That you may know the incomprehensible wonder of an Almighty Father. I really don’t deserve all of the blessing He pours out on me so lavishly, yet here I am, blessed and happy.

Winter Camp

Oh my wow! Winter Camp is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had as a college student, and being allowed to be on the other side of the experience was just as enlightening and impactful! Winter Camp is a 4 day retreat for all of the students involved in or invited to FOCUS from all of the campuses. We all meet together at Sky Ranch in Van, TX where we spend our days in fellowship, worship, and learning from a key speaker (this year it was Rikk Watts). It is really hard to describe Winter Camp to you. Imagine this quote from  Acts 2:42-47

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

This is the best explanation I have for Winter Camp. Obviously it's not perfect, nor is it completely sustainable, seeing as how we don't live at Sky Ranch, but it is such a beautiful example of what great Godly community can look like. We didn't have amazing works done by THE apostles, but we had some pretty great love given by many disciples. We ate together daily. We were all on the same level, no rich or poor, no black or white, just children of the Most High God. Here is our schedule to give you a bit of an idea of what our days at Winter Camp looked like. There was a good bit of free time in between the listed activities.

A large chunk of what we do at Winter Camp revolves around board games. They're fun to share and easy for anybody to learn, and there's a HUGE variety of games to play. From Tic-Tack-Toe to Chess and from Catan to Betrayal of House on the Hill, there were games enough to meet any group of people that you wanted. Also, playing board games is a really great way to break the ice and meet new people, which is a huge theme and purpose of Winter Camp. It is one of the very few times that all of the FOCUS campuses get together, so we are afforded the chance to see friends from all over the metroplex that we might never see otherwise! Besides board games, there are sports, crafts, mazes, snacks, treehouses, and all of the beauty of nature to explore with new and old friends.

Speaking of the beauty of nature!! Sky Ranch has a few small lakes with activities like kayaking and paddle boating. These lakes are the perfect touch to add that little bit of extra majesty that you just don't see everyday. The lakes were an immaculate reminder of the power and beauty of our Creator. 

Waking up to the sunrise over the lakes and going to sleep with the colors of the sunset reflecting off of the water are more than enough to make an artist feel like they're in the presence of the most renowned composer. This first picture is the sunrise seen from outside of my cabin, and the bottom is the sunset from the same place.

Here is a picture of the Richland gang eating dinner together. This is actually a bitter sweet photo because it was the last time that Lap (pronounced "lop") on the bottom left would be eating with us as a Richland student. He graduated with his Associate's degree and has moved to UNT to get his Bachelor's degree in programing. There's just something different about eating together with loved ones that makes it mean so much more. I guess there's a reason that the bible talks about the disciples "breaking bread" together so much. The picture below is all of the Richland students together at the giant lawn chair before we all headed our separate ways home.

Back on Campus

Getting back on campus was a little more difficult than expected. With COVID cases soaring as omicron was spreading, we elected to have our first Thursday night FOCUS meeting over Zoom. Thankfully we have an amazing group of students who were so passionate about God and about community that they brought some great discussion and were all in that night despite being through Zoom rather than in person. 

Last week we were able to meet in person, but with the snow we are going to be meeting online again this week.

Apprentice Buddies

Have you ever heard of whirlyball? If not, you're missing our for sure! The apprentices got together one weekend to build our team bonding and we decided to play whirlyball. This was actually my first time, and let me tell you, it was a BLAST!!

The object of the game is to use plastic scoop/throwers to pick up, throw, and catch a wiffleball to try and hit a target. Oh yeah, and with the other hand you're driving a BUMPER CAR! Talk about multi-tasking!! 

My time with these incredible disciples has been a time of such growth and friendship. Though there are more than 20 of us, I still can't help but comparing us to Jesus' disciples. It is such an honor and blessing to get to be a part of the apprenticeship with these guys.

God of Healing

So, on Monday January 24th my mom told me that my 4 year old nephew was feeling really bad and in a lot of stomach pain. He had had COVID and it had just gotten worse and worse. Eventually, my brother and his wife took little baby Austin to Cook Children’s Hospital to get him checked out. After waiting for an excruciating hour, the doctor saw him and did some scans to find out that Austin had a perforated appendix. So they went into emergency surgery to remove it. As a great a father that he is, my brother was terrified, and I could feel it.

These boys are his life, he literally quit his job to be a stay at home dad so he could do life alongside them. The first thing that Austin said while at the hospital was “I wanna go home”.  So all day long I was getting updates during class and even at leader meeting. After a few hours of nervous waiting and prayers, I was informed that little Austin had gotten through his surgery well and was doing great! Once again, God has proven His strength and power and love are greater than what the world throws at us.

Prayer Requests

  • For students to find that the deep desire to be seen and loved can easily be fulfilled if they turn to God for comfort instead of the things of the world.
  • That FOCUS will be filled with the wisdom and discernment of God as they made decisions concerning COVID.
  • That I will continue to be filled with the passion and strength to fight the temptations for laziness and comfort to reach the student body of Brookhaven and Richland.


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