Ministry Blog for April

 

Spring is in Full Swing!

Hey everyone, hope y’all are doing well and are enjoying the springtime weather. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and hear about what's been going on in my ministry at SMU! this month has been so sweet as we wrap up the school year, and so I'm excited to share what we've been up to. 


Large group gatherings

Pizza Theology

Pizza theology is an event we host every semester for FOCUS students across all 15 campuses. We spend several hours going in-depth on a specific theological issue and then have a break in the middle to eat pizza all together and talk about what we’re learning. 


We had such a great turnout! 


This semester, we covered a very important topic within our cultural and political realm of today- how do God and the bible view our bodies in contrast with our culture? This question, which may seem unimportant at first, leads directly into conversations about homosexuality, transgenderism, and abortion. Some of the questions our society is trying to answer with these topics include:

Do our bodies have any weight in our identity, or is it only our minds that make up who we are?

What makes someone truly a person? Can someone be scientifically a human but not truly count as a person?

Are our minds separate and in contrast with our bodies, or are they meant to be unified?

We learned that the witness of Scripture, the teachings of Jesus, and the history of Christians assert that our bodies and souls (or our minds) form an integrated unity; this means that respect for a person is inseparable from respect for the body.

This was impactful for me to reflect on and for all of our students to hear.

If you are interested in hearing the full talk, you can access it by clicking here


Maundy Thursday Service

In celebration of the week leading up to Easter, our staff decided to put on a traditional Maundy Thursday service that celebrates Jesus' last supper with the disciples and him serving them by washing their feet.

Growing up in a modern church, I did not practice the keeping of traditional church holidays, such as Maundy Thursday, so it was an eye-opening experience for me to take part in something like this. 


Glimpses into our service, including hand-washing and serving each other communion


Throughout the ceremony, we had people pour water on each other's hands to symbolize the washing of each other's feet, as well as serving each other communion. This experience was so impactful for our community and showed many of our students who didn't grow up in more traditional churches what it looked like to interact with their faith and their community in a new way. 

My favorite part was the Tenebrae service where our leader team read John's account of the arrest and crucifixion while blowing out candles one by one (the only light source in the room). We ended our time in darkness and in silence, letting us really reflect and understand the weight of Jesus's death. For me, this service made Easter Sunday more joyful and meaningful!

We are able to put on events like this and deepen our students' faith because of your support, so I want to thank you again for partnering with me this year! 




 People in our Community:

This month I got to celebrate two baptisms!!! We had Sneha, one of our SMU students, make her public declaration of faith at her home church. It has been so sweet meeting with her and seeing her taking the steps to make her faith her own. 

The group of girls who all went to support Sneha getting baptized! (Sneha is in the turquoise shirt in the middle)


A photo of Acacia and I from the beginning of our friendship



The other person who was baptized is an old friend of mine named Acacia. She was actually in my first small group my sophomore year of college (in 2018!). Acacia is someone who has had to face such adversity in her life because of her physical chronic illnesses and tough experiences since childhood and her faith journey have not been easy or straightforward. 

But, she has come to fully commit herself to Jesus and be His disciple to God's praise!!! I am so thankful to have been able to be her friend through this process and all of the highs and lows.


 Julia getting her first Bible!! (and Laura, my co-small group leader, being a dork)

Another amazing thing that happened this month was that I was able to give my friend Julia her first Bible since a child! She has been coming to me and Laura's small group for the past couple of weeks and is so on fire to learn more about Christ and to get involved in community. 

She has been a big encouragement and blessing to me and Laura during the ups and downs of leading our small group this year. 


 Wrapping up the Semester 

To end the semester well, we had our end-of-year party for our students. It was a sweet time to reflect on all that God has done this year and to celebrate with each other! We had a time of honoring all of our volunteers as well as a time of sharing how God has worked in peoples' lives in this community. 

Top photo: our staff team this year! From left to right- Laurence, Amber, Ashlyn, me, and Jacob
(Jacob isn't officially on staff but he helps out and is a part of the team)
Bottom photo: Julia, Laura, and I at the end of year party


We had so many students share how different people in that room had impacted them by encouraging them in their faith and to turn to God in the hard times and the good times. My favorite part of the night was seeing two girls attend who aren't Christian getting to listen to how a God changes people's lives through a community! I know that was such a cool witness to them on the power God has to change lives.  

Some of the lovely faces of the people who shared plus us killing it at karaoke!

We also had some fun karaoke and got to eat yummy snacks!

I am so blown away by all that God has taught me this year and what He has been doing in the lives of these students. I could probably write a novel going over it, but I'll spare you the time and give you the highlights in my next blog :).


Prayer Requests

-This upcoming week our staff is taking 90 students up to our yearly student leadership conference called SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) in Bellingham, Washington. This year, I have the pleasure of joining them since we have 10 students from SMU going!! This is the largest number of students we've sent from SMU; I am so excited to see how God shapes these students at this conference! Please be praying for all of our hearts to be open to what God wants to teach each of us and for safe travels.


-As I start fundraising this summer, please be praying for God's provision and for me to trust that He is in control and will take care of me. Thank you for supporting me through this past year and being a part of God providing for me!!


As always, please reach out with any prayer requests.

In Christ,

Siena






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