Seasons of Rest
December was very abbreviated for us, as we only had about a week and a half with our students before their break. That being said though, we still managed to get up to a lot this month! On December 4th we had our Christmas Party, at which, I embarrassingly forgot to take pictures. This event is mostly a fun one for our students, where we focus more on games and fellowship with more carol style of singing built into the final part. One unique thing we did this year was have Christmas Trivia. Almost everyone in attendance decided to participate if that tells you anything about the kind of students we are working with! The event ended up being a huge success, and we were able to use the money made on the event to send two people to our upcoming Winter Retreat for free! We raffled that off at the end of the night. The only image I have to share from this night is me with two of our small group leaders David and Jared. Both of these guys are leading for the first time this year, and they are doing an incredible job! They put a huge number of hours into outreach at the start of the Fall semester, and that is reflected in the fact that they have the largest and youngest small group in our whole ministry! Jared is a guy who I have been meeting with since I was an apprentice on staff back in 2019, so being able to work with him now is super special to me!
A few days later, we had our Christmas Service, which is a more worship focused service that is centered on the significance of the birth story. The wonderful Cornerstone Family Church hosted us for this since we couldn't get a room on campus with finals starting. The members there made cookies for our students and where so sweet to us. They joined us in singing praises and in sharing about Christmas. It was a wonderful night of praise and fellowship, and I think it was really good for our students to be able to connect to an older crowd, and make connections with people from older generations.
The last thing we really got up to this month was our apprentice sermons and staff banquet. This year we had 6 apprentices who shared on "What is My Gospel". They told their stories, and shared about the ways Christ has shaped them and shown them the good news. It was incredibly encouraging to hear he ways Christ has been present and working in their lives, and extra encouraging to hear how they have noticed that. At our staff banquet, we split the meal into three parts, and were sat with different people to share about the year we have had. It was a great opportunity for me to not only share about how things have been going at UTD, but also for me to hear about the state of other campuses. One of the campuses I have long had a heart for is SMU. This year it sounds like they have really been taking off, which is a huge testament to the work our director Laurence has been doing over there the last half decade. That campus has had a lot of difficulty with getting momentum, but the last two years they have been able to maintain some serious growth, and it sounds like the fruit coming from that is really encouraging the team that is over there now.
Thank you all a ton for an awesome 2022! This calendar year for me has certainly been my favorite on staff thus far, and I don't really think there is a close second. It has been incredibly encouraging to work where I do, and work on behalf of you all for our students. Here are a few pictures and the student testimony for this month.