Ministry Blog for October

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for being patient with me getting my blog up for October; it’s been a busy month! I’m so excited to share what we’ve been up to this month and how the Lord has been guiding us and working through us in the ministry. Thank you for your support in letting me be a part of something so life-changing for myself and others at SMU; may God bless you for your faithfulness to Him!


FALL CAMP


We were blessed to bring almost 40 people to Fall Camp this year!


The biggest event we had this month was Fall Camp! Fall Camp is our retreat where we take our students to an overnight camp to spend time being in community with each other and to connect with God. While we were there, we had a lot of fun playing games and doing different activities with each other, which gave the opportunity for our students to intentionally get to know each other better and build friendships with people outside of their small groups. We also had sessions where we all gathered together to worship and hear students reflect on these two questions:

“How have you or someone you love experienced the cost of following Jesus?”

“How has God helped you persevere in your faith?”

It was so impactful to hear so many different perspectives and stories on how God has worked through people’s lives and has given them strength through the struggles and difficulties of life. I personally was able to share about my friend, Meghana, who has had to count the cost of being a Christian in a family of Hindus and faces persecution and spiritual warfare from that decision. Sharing her story allowed me to honor her and all that God is doing through her and also encourage others in their faith to count the costs and commit to Him, though it may be challenging.


 Some of the sweet memories from Fall Camp!

One other activity we did that was so impactful was giving everyone a chance to honor one another by writing about people who have lived out specific ‘one another’ passages that show up in scripture. Below are two of the posters that included such sweet encouragements for our students, leaders, and staff. I hope to continue to heat up the value of honoring one another in our community since it is such an important part to have in relationships with other Christians. 
Our students did an awesome job of loving on each other through these sweet stories and encouragements!




CLASSES

In the month of October, all of the Apprentices and I read all of the major and minor prophets, history in Ezra and Nehemiah, Ruth, 1 and 2 Chronicles, and Esther, as well as most of the wisdom literature, including the Psalms and Proverbs. It is so amazing to have read so much of the Old Testament in this short amount of time because it allows me to see so many more themes and connections between the different books and genres. I now have such a better understanding of the Biblical story and how the themes of Creation, Law/Obedience, Worship, and Redemption play out through the overall narrative. 


This was taken in our small-group discussion in our Old Testament Foundations Class. Sirak (far left), the Dallas Campus Director, teaches this section. 

I personally have been convicted of how small my vision has been for God’s plan for me and the whole earth through studying the scriptures; I have seen that I am saved not just so that I get to be cleansed from sin and have a “free pass to heaven,” but that God has saved me to join the royal priesthood of His People and that through the Holy Spirit inside of us we are sent out to bring restoration and redemption to His whole creation. How amazing is that call? It is so challenging because it means it isn’t just about my own relationship with God, but also my relationship with the whole body of Christ. 

1 Corinthians 12 says this: “But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” I want this truth to sit in my heart and be rooted deeply in my faith and in my view of God and His people. 



DISCIPLING MINISTRY

This month I was able to start two one-on-one Bible studies with freshman girls named Kyndal and Suvwe! They have been sweet parts of our community this semester and I have already been blessed by my time with both of them in our conversations and study of the Word. God has given them the strength to be vulnerable and open with some of their struggles with me, which has been an honor to bear those with them and help them think and pray through it. I continually pray that I can speak the truth in love to them and not just give the wisdom that is in my heart, but true wisdom from the Lord. I am able to love these girls and walk with them closely because of your support and faithfulness!



PRAYER REQUESTS

1. While this month has been so sweet and has been full of encouragement, one thing that has been difficult is some of the changes we had to the small group (core) that I lead. For different reasons, we had over half of our core girls leave, which was heartbreaking for me and my co-small group leader, Laura. For some of them, they felt called to join another campus ministry, and for two of them, they wanted to prioritize school and other things over attending. 

Please be praying for the two girls who have stayed and for Laura and me to be committed to loving and serving them well. Also, please be praying that we can meet people to bring into our group and be able to build up their faith! I am trusting God’s plan in this and know that all I am called to do is be faithful with what He has given me.  


2. Every year, we do an organizational-wide fundraiser called 'Keep Focus Growing' on Giving Tuesday. Our staff salaries are funded by generous people like you, so this fundraiser is exclusively for evangelistic events, Bible study materials, and administrative costs across all our campuses. The extra investments ensure we finish the year strong and are poised for what God will do on DFW campuses next year. 

I wanted to share this opportunity if you feel called to give! Some of our generous donors have banded together and agreed to match up to $52,000 in total donations during the campaign! The best way to give is on the FOCUS Facebook page, @anyfocusministries, on November 30th. (Facebook itself also offers matching funds, so there's a chance some could be applied to your donation!) If you have any questions about this fundraiser, feel free to visit our KFG page at anyfocus.org/kfg, or ask me directly :)


Thank you for sticking with me in this long ministry update!! Please email me at siena.walter@anyfocus.org with any prayer requests or life updates you want to share!! I'm always excited to hear from y'all :)

In Christ,
Siena








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