October, yay!

Hello, friends, family, and pets!

Happy October, to y'all! How about this amazing weather? I tell y'all what, just when I thought I couldn't take the humidity any longer, I felt like God answered a personal prayer by bringing out the nice outdoor weather. Though, I'm sure He was either answering a lot of folks' prayers, or the weather was finally to chill out. Either way, I am glad the fall weather is here.

A pastor's pasture in Denton, TX

In the beginning of September, my good pal Samantha, who is a part of the UNT FOCUS ministry, asked me to baptize her. I met Sam almost 2 years ago. At the time, she didn't consider herself a Christian, but due to several different Christian experiences in her life, she was led to FOCUS, and began to ask a lot of good questions about Christianity, discipleship, and the practicalities of being a Christian. I remember thinking that I wasn't smart enough to be her friend or good enough to be a Christian mentor. My thoughts had nothing to do with Sam, who is lovely and endearing, and an amazing dancer, by the way. My thoughts had to do with my insecurities about myself, and about who I thought God was. You see, I thought it was my job to save her. I thought of God as a distant, but caring father. I was so very wrong. He is a God who wants to be involved in our lives. He's the dad that wants us to call him every day. In the last two years I have learned this: you can't save anyone, people have to choose to let God save them. While being alongside Sam in her journey, I saw her say yes to Jesus. Then she asked me to baptize her, and I did, and it was humbling, and special to be a part of the Spirit's work in her.

Myself and Sam after our joint baptism!

On that same day, I got baptized by one of my closest friends, Becky Glass. Bet you didn't see that coming! Becky has literally lived with me through my best and worst. We were roommates for three years in Denton and those three special years were so distinctly different, and especially important in our growth as friends and as disciples. Having Becky be my baptize made a lot of sense to me. She knows every part of me, good and bad, and how wonderful our God is to put people in our life that have hearts that reflect His will. I chose to get baptized to be born of water and spirit, and to proclaim that my life is no longer my own, but that of the Father.

Becky and I after we changed into dry clothes.

Another cool thing that happened this month was our Collin FOCUS Fall Retreat! If you know me personally, then you know that I dress like a camp counselor year round. So naturally, when any opportunity arises to sleep overnight at a camp somewhere with a bunch of my friends, I am all for it. Joking aside, I really do love Fall Camp. At Fall Camp, this is where our students get to experience the broader FOCUS community in a number of different ways. We play games that make us look really athletic like slip'n'slide kickball or duck duck goose. We have "walk and talks" where you get to know other students better in a one on one setting. We have a couple of sermon sessions, and a night of worship. All of this happens in less than a 24 hour period.

Picture of my Preston Ridge girls and I at Fall Camp.

 Fall Camp is a microcosm of what it's like to live in Jesus-centered community. While Fall Camp is definitely fun, it is so much more than that. Fall Camp is about our students connecting with God in many different ways, and connecting with each other. We all laughed, cried, some of us nearly got hurt playing kickball, and many of us became real friends through the lens of discipleship. I also think it's one of the first times they witness how integrated they are into our vision for them, and  the many ways they can experience Jesus.

Nicole Bristow praying during one of the worship sessions. It was hard to deny the Spirit's atmosphere in that room during the worship sessions. It was intimate, and humbling.

Last but definitely not least, you are all invited to the 20 year FOCUS Celebration! Below is the invitation, and I hope to see y'all there.

I want to end this month's blog post by saying Thank You to every person who has made this apprenticeship possible for me, financially, prayerfully, or both. I am forever thankful to you for the experiences that I am privileged to be a part of because of your belief in campus ministry.


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