Ministry Blog for December

 

Welcome, 2022!

Can you believe that it's already the new year??! It's crazy to think that I'm already halfway done with the Apprenticeship program... Thank you so much for your support in my development as a minister and in what God has been doing at SMU this year!! 

I hope you had an amazing Christmas with your friends and family, even in the midst of rising COVID cases. This is a great time to reflect on all that God has done this past year and start praying about what He has planned for us this upcoming season. 


Apprentice Testimonial Sermon

One major thing that happened in December was that I gave my first sermon to the other FOCUS staff. The topic of the sermon was "This is my Gospel," which stems from 2 Timothy 2:8-9, where Paul talks about the truth about who Jesus is and what he has done. All of the Apprentices were able to share the aspects and truths of God and the gospel that have most profoundly impacted them in their walk with Christ.

For mine, I talked about three truths that God has used to shape my life and faith:

1. Our brokenness is great, but God is good and is redeeming us

2. As Christians, Jesus is not only our savior but our Lord

3. We hope in God’s restoration and His coming kingdom


If you are interested in listening to it, you can go to this link: https://youtu.be/MK3QJ70Plp8
My sermon's timestamp is from 19:40 to 45:30.


End of Semester Reflections

I wanted to take some space to reflect on this past semester and what God has done. There are many areas of my job and life where He has worked, but I wanted to share three specific ones with you:

Community
It still amazes me to think about how much our community has grown and changed this past semester. We were so blessed to have such amazing people join us who have made FOCUS their community and home-away-from-home. I get so excited to see and hear about all of the girls and guys having fun with each other at our events and also taking their faith seriously in small groups and one-on-one Bible studies.


It also is humbling to have multiple people involved that don't call themselves Christians; that they have trusted us enough to learn about a faith that isn't their own and are eager to call us their friends brings tears to my eyes. I am so excited that they get to experience a genuine Christian community and are able to encounter Jesus personally. 


Core
While our small group turned out differently than I expected this year, God has still been so sweet to us during its ups and downs. For one, I am so blessed to be leading with my co-leader, Laura; she has such a heart for the Lord and for reaching the outcasts on campus. I have loved building a sweet friendship with her and being able to lean on her when things have been hard. 

While we have had girls come and go, God has been faithful to keep those who left connected to some type of Christian community. He has also given us opportunities to meet new people and invite them into what we're doing. 

Personal Growth with God
This past semester I have learned that I cannot just rely on myself and my own strengths. Reaching my limit at different points has shown me the importance of depending on God and being vulnerable with others in areas I am struggling.
I also have faced rejection from students this year, which has given me the opportunity to understand on a small scale what Jesus himself experienced in His ministry. I have had to lean into God's unconditional love for me as my pride is being slowly worn down through those rejections and my more-apparent limitations.

What a blessing it is to realize my own lacking in the face of God's goodness and love!


Future Hopes for this Upcoming Semester

As I reflect on this past semester, my heart is filled with excitement and anticipation as I think about what God can and will do in these students' lives. I have a renewed passion to pursue these girls more purposefully and pray more fervently about what God wants to do with each of them. 

I want the students at SMU to escape the rat race of finding their purpose and fulfillment in their academics, clubs, and pleasure-seeking during their college years. I desperately desire that they realize they have so much more to live for in the God that created them, loves them, and died for them. Though we most likely won't change the hearts of every student in one semester, I want to keep this passion and reach as many of them as I can with the good news of Jesus. 

I also yearn to have a deeper dependence and intimate relationship with God, even though my flesh desires to rely on only myself. I want to run to my Father in times of need and in times of plenty, in times of sadness and in times of joy, in times of persecution and in times of triumph. As I pray for God to shape and change SMU and its students, I also need to pray that God does the same in me. 

I wanted to end this section with a poem I wrote for one of my classes; it is based on a sculpture at the Dallas Museum of Art and reflects my musings and desires about who God is and my understanding of myself.

God, you are too lofty for my mind to comprehend.

How can you hold the universe together, yet also catch my tears? 

How can you command the army of lightning and storms, yet also protect my vulnerable heart? 

You are so large, yet so personal. Too big for my small mind to understand. 

How can you love me, a speck in the universe, one mind out of billions, one soul out of eternity? Yet you do and do it quite well. 

How I long to understand your greatness next to my meekness.

How can I ever assume the position of Lord when I could not even think to climb upon your throne? 

I am but grass, chaff under your mighty step, blown to and fro by the winds of time, yet you are a strong pillar, steadying the cosmos. 

Teach me to number my days, to count my blessings, to seek your understanding all the days of my life, and let your love never be far from me. 

Amen


Prayer Requests

During the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking and praying a lot about what God is calling me to do with the next couple years of my life. Whether that is staying on staff with FOCUS or going into the corporate world, I want to do what is most pleasing to Him.

Please be praying for discernment on this decision of staying on staff or not. Also, if in the event God calls me to stay, I would love for you to pray about if He is calling you to start/continue supporting me through prayer and finances this next year.



Thank you again for your love and support. As always, I would love to hear from you and how you've been doing, plus any prayer requests. You can text/call me at 512-375-7392 or email me at siena.walter@anyfocus.org.


In Christ,
Siena




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