Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September is Here

August has come and gone, and what a fun-filled, exciting month!  New students have moved in, classes have begun, and we’ve started our Friday night meetings and our Cores.

Our team at UNT Move-In

Freshman move-in day at UNT conveniently coincided with my birthday.  I got to spend the day working alongside this dedicate team of student leaders to get new students moved in to Victory Hall, one of the newer dorms on campus.  We met so many new students (and their parents) who were thrilled to be starting their college career at UNT.  Our FOCUS students worked tirelessly to carry boxes, bags, and even a few mini-fridges.  Every year, we volunteer to help with move-in at our campuses for a few reasons.  First, this is an amazing opportunity to meet new students and invite them to FOCUS.  But perhaps even more importantly, this is a chance to bless and serve our campus.  New freshmen often arrive at college without knowing anyone in the area, and we can help them by befriending them, getting them settled in on campus, and showing them around Denton.  So many cool stories came out of move-in day that I can’t even begin to share them with you!

My new friend Tingting

If you think being a freshman in a new city is tough, try being a new IELI student!  The IELI (Intensive English Language Institute) is a department at UNT where international students come to develop their English skills before applying to a regular university in an English-speaking country.  These students come from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and many other countries.  They arrive knowing very little English and even less about UNT or Denton, Texas.  One of our goals in FOCUS at UNT this year is to mobilize our current students to reach out and connect with IELI students.  These young people desperately need friends to show them around, help them practice their English, and most importantly introduce them to Jesus Christ.

There are so many opportunities to get to know these international students!  There’s a ladies’ group that meets every other week.  Many of the women in the IELI program come to the US with their husbands and sometimes their children, so they appreciate the time to relax with other women.  There’s the Conversation Partner program where an English-speaking volunteer is paired with an international student.  The partners meet together once a week for about an hour to talk, have fun, and practice English.  Then there’s the weekly Conversation Hour, where a large group of IELI students meet together with a few volunteers to discuss basic topics and practice speaking.
Each one of these programs is a chance to change someone’s life through the simple power of friendship!  Pray with me that our students would reach out in love to these new internationals.

First Friday Night FOCUS

After move-in and the hectic adventure of Welcome Week, we celebrated with our first Friday Night FOCUS.  We overcame some last minute technical difficulties and had a great time praising God together.  And we had so many new people who are excited to join together with us and walk their spiritual journey side by side!

Prayer Needs:
- Please pray with me for our student leaders as they begin their Cores and one-on-one Bible studies.  Many of these leaders are new to leading, but I am confident that God will use them in amazing ways to bless this campus and the lives of other students!
- Pray for international students on our campuses.  Pray that they would make friends, overcome homesickness, and find connections with Christians who will share the good news of Jesus with them!
- Pray for our interns.  The interns have begun their classes now, and they are facing the challenge of intense study in the Old Testament.  Pray that they would work hard and learn a lot, and that what they learn would ultimately help them to love God and communicate His truth effectively.

Thank you for your prayers and support!