Ministry Blog for January

I can't believe we're already in February of 2022! It's been a sweet month getting back on campus and working with my team again. Thank you so much for your support; I hope you enjoy my first update of the year!


A Chill(y) Start to the Year

Since school at SMU didn't start until the 18th of January, I was blessed with a couple weeks of a more flexible schedule while prepping for Winter Camp (more details below) and the start of the semester. During this time, I was able to meet with a lot of my old friends from UT Dallas as well as spend intentional time bonding with my fellow pastoral Apprentices. 



Two really fun hangouts we had before school were a girl's Apprentice night in Arlington and whirly ball (a game that combines bumper cars, lacrosse, and basketball) with the whole Apprentice crew. I loved getting to know all of them better and bonding over these fun experiences.


All the Apprentices had such a fun time playing whirly ball!



 A really sweet movie night with some of the girl Apprentices



Winter Camp

We had our annual Winter Camp the weekend before school started for SMU, which was soo much fun! Winter Camp is a 4-day retreat over MLK weekend where students from every FOCUS campus go to Sky Ranch and spend each day worshipping, listening to talks from a guest speaker (our guest speaker this year was Rikk Watts from Regent College), and having a whole lot of fun with each other. We had over 400 students attend, which was so awesome!!


The whole SMU crew



Just the Girls


This year, our SMU crew was the biggest it has ever been! We took a group of about twenty people, including our small-group leaders and other students involved. It was a sweet time of bonding with each other outside of our normal settings and being able to see the larger FOCUS community all together. All of us really enjoyed Rikk's lectures on the validity of the Gospels and how the Gospel story changed the whole world. While the material was for sure academically rigorous, it was so amazing to see how Jesus did literally change the course of the world through what he did in the small vicinity of Israel in the 1st century. If this intrigues you, you can access his lectures at this website:


https://youtube.com/channel/UCDTEP_Zpq0fyyl4wL3OQQXg 


Be warned, though, you'll for sure have to have your thinking cap on. 



One of our worship sessions at Winter Camp

One of my favorite parts of Winter Camp was getting to know two girls (Jireh and Caroline) more intentionally during our designated 'walk-and-talk' time that everyone participates in. I got to learn more about Jireh's family background and how she has such a heart for her siblings and their significant others to know and love Jesus as she does. Caroline gave me more perspective on what it looks like to persevere in faith despite a negative and hurtful church experience. Talking and connecting to these girls gave me a renewed passion to pursue everyone God has put on my path in true, intentional friendship, and reminded me how important loving, Christ-centered ministers are in people's lives. Please be praying for me as I try to be that for these students. 




One on one Bible Studies: 

I started this semester off by getting each girl I meet with for our Focus on Jesus (FOJ) Bible study to set goals for their semester. Since the Apprentice group had set goals for the year in one of our classes, I thought it would be beneficial to share mine with the girls and have them write their own so that we could more deeply know each other and keep each other accountable. The categories we did were body stewardship, individual spiritual goals, and goals for their interaction with the community. 


Until this year, I would have thought to include goals about our bodies and how we take care of them, but I've realized through my own experience that our physical being directly affects our emotional, mental, and spiritual state. I want to challenge myself and the girls I meet with to see our bodies as gifts from God and to take ownership in cultivating them well. 



 Core

We are small, but we are mighty! This semester we have a new girl, named Talula, join (yay!) our girl's small group, which is really exciting and an answer to prayer (thanks to everyone who was praying for that!). She has been really excited to come and talk about friendship and community (our first two topics) and seems to get along with me, my co-small group leader, and Kameryn, our veteran member. Please continue to pray that she builds deeper friendships with us and other girls in FOCUS and gets to experience the love of Jesus through that!


Also, please be praying for Kameryn; she is taking 18 credit hours (full time starts at 12) and needs to do well in her classes to continue receiving her scholarship. 



Looking Forward

I am still in the process of praying and thinking through staying on staff with FOCUS next year; if I were to stay, though, on I'm praying through being at SMU for 3 years. I would love prayers for that decision and also for you to consider joining or staying on my financial support team if I do decide to stay on. 


 

Also, on February 26th, we are having our annual Showcase event! Each year hundreds of our students are invited to attend the Student Institute of Campus Ministry (SICM) where they learn the foundations of being student missionaries on their campus. To help fund this leadership opportunity FOCUS proudly hosts an annual benefit concert and artisan market. The ticket sales to attend Showcase, as well as the artisan market sales, all go to make the trip to SICM in Bellingham, Washington possible.


If you are interested in attending the show or donating to help support our incoming leaders, please go to https://anyfocus.org/showcase/ to buy tickets. 



Thank you again for your consistent support and love for what I'm doing at SMU. Please reach out if you have any prayer requests or want to catch up.


In Christ,
Siena





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