Goodness of God
We just completed our first full month of the spring semester, and it was full of fun, but also some hills to get over. This month we had one of our 3 major events of the semester (the rest are in April so just around the corner), some trouble in the government, and trouble on our campus with some persecution. Here are the highlights!
For most of the month, we were able to have our services as normal, but we did run into some trouble with the campus on the 24th. That week the university scheduled a test in our normal room that started right when our normal service ends. With the time it takes us to pack up and leave, we knew a few weeks ahead we wouldn't be doing a full service that week. To adjust, we did shorter songs and a condensed sermon, and then we sent our people off in groups to continue the fellowship in a smaller setting. One of the guys I meet with named Hudson hosted my group, and it was a great time. We took the time to go around and get to know everyone, and we played a game called fishbowl together. It overall was an awesome time! That week, we kicked off a series about what it looks like to be a good neighbor, and giving people the immediate opportunity to practice that was great!
One of the major events we had this month was called "Release: A Celebration of Black Art". One of our ministers named Lailah put on UTD's first ever black history month celebration, and built it so well around the goodness of God! For God to be so central in UTD's first celebration of blackness was I think an incredible showing of the love of our Lord. Some of the talent on display was absolutely incredible. There was a West African Dance crew, a few musicians, some people reading poetry, and a couple of improvised dances. All in all the fact that all of that was happening, with repeated themes of how God has been good was such a great message in the middle of a culture that likes to divide over issues of race. Below are a few videos of performances from the event!
I would like to update y'all to some of the things happening with FOCUS at UTD. Starting on February 24th, we began a saga that continues to this day. That night, all of the signs we use on campus were stolen late at night, and have yet to be discovered. Since then, after replacing the signs, we have encountered vandalism and theft a few more times in the process. As a part of this series about being a good neighbor, we put out signs that read "Does Jesus Care About _____" with a QR code that takes them to a page that says "Yes, come see why". People on the school's reddit page have taken these questions a completely wrong way, and think for some reason there is some kind of hateful message behind it (obviously in an effort to justify action against us). The police are involved and being very helpful with us, but please keep this process in your prayers. Pray and thank God for how helpful the campus police have been in this process, pray for our team and students as we deal with this petty persecution, and please pray for the people who are acting out. I sincerely hope some good comes out of this for everyone involved.
One last thing I would like to update you all about is an issue we are encountering with the Department of Education. The DoE has decided to rescind protections for Religious organizations that currently allow them to have guidelines for who they ask to be a leader or officer in their organization. This isn't just an issue facing Christian groups, but it also effects groups of other religions as well. A group called Campus Access has come together to try and get comments gathered regarding this change. We have until March 24th to make comments on the change, and the more comments that are made, the more work that the Department of Education has to do in responding to the concerns of the citizens. We would love it if you were willing to help! You can go to https://www.campusaccess.us/make-a-difference.html, and there, you can find instructions on how to make a comment. Campus access provides ideas of what is important to say, and what options you need to select to make sure your voice is heard! Thank you a ton for your help, prayers, and of course your generosity toward me. This upcoming month is a busy one in spite of the Spring Break, so be ready for a longer blog!