Latinos Con Destino 09

November 15, 2009

The UT-Austin campus is made up of 16% Latinos (that’s vercross 09y close to the percentage of Asian-Americans on campus) when we were studying the demographics of the campus. As we continued to study the demographics of our campus, we learned that approximately 600 Latino students are involved in a campus ministry, which means they have a relationship with the Lord, belong to a community that supports and encourages each other to grow in Christ etc.  That’s 600 Latino students out of approximately 8000! So what about the remaining 7400 Latino students on campus who may possibly not have a relationship with Jesus?

Cross ‘09 is a 3 day event (Nov 9-11th) that gave us the opportunity to cross into another culture in an effort to reach the Latino students for  Jesus in an effort to move toward fulfilling the Great Commission. This past month, the EPIC  and Destino (Campus Crusade for Christ’s Latino movement) teamed up with great hopes that God will spark  a  fire in the Latino community for Christ and to build momentum for the existing movment.

It was such a blessing to see how God moved during the 3 days! Many students from Destino have never shared their faith prior to this event, so it was a big step for them. It was exciting to see two girls make a decision to accept Jesus into their lives when students went out to share their faith or during a follow-up appointment.  Praise the Lord for all that He has done and will continue to do through the Destino students!

Please the students in prayer as they are following up with other students who may be interested in knowing how to have a relationship with Jesus or how to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Please pray that God will continue to fan the flames in the hearts of our Destino students so that they will continue to persevere and remain devoted to the works that God has started on the UT campus.


Breakthrough

October 28, 2009

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Melissa (left) and her sister Melanie (right)

What I like about my job is that I get to experience the privilege of being a part of a person’s quest towards becoming more like Christ.

I have known Melissa since she was a freshman two years ago. It’s amazing to see how she has grown and matured in her faith. I can never thank God enough for the opportunity He has given me to journey life with her — to see her struggle and take steps of faith, and to see her rejoice over academic achievements and reach milestones in her walk with God.

I remember Melissa being the young fashionista who made an impression the moment she stepped in the dorm room where we had our first small group meeting in the Fall semester of 2007.

From the time I met her, I was convinced that she is a very bright, well-spoken young woman. However, so many hurts from her past prevented her from confidently voicing her thoughts. She used to just sit quietly and listen to the discussion during our small group meetings, and even during my discipleship times with her. Certain experiences in the past led her to believe that she is insignificant.

But God has definitely been working in Melissa’s heart.

After years of trying to mask her feelings of shame and insecurity, she finally unveiled her true beauty to me and to her friends who love her and want to know her deeper, hurts and all. She communicated how she understands God’s love even more now as she continuously embraces her freedom to express her heart to her family, friends and community.

I have been seeing how her interaction with people has been changing through time.  The girl I deemed as a bright, well-spoken young woman (but seemed reserved in the beginning) indeed has a lot of encouraging and significant things to say.  I think it’s safe to say that Melissa has been experiencing breakthrough — something I think we only experience through Christ.


Obligation of the Cured

October 28, 2009

LIVESTRONG A few years ago at a Fall Retreat, I heard a speaker talk about the “Obligation of the Cured” concept.  For cancer survivors, it’s the idea that since they’ve been cured (or are in remission), they feel a sense of obligation to do something, whether it’s helping with research through giving, running a race or just telling their story. Anyway, I’ve thought about this talk and concept many times since hearing about it but was reminded of it again last night at my small group study.  We are currently studying Ephesians 3.  One of the questions was “why do you think Paul was chosen to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles” and one of the students said “someone with the promise had to share it.”  It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  I loved how it got the girls thinking about what they could be doing in their own lives to share Christ with others.  How often do I forget that I have something great that needs to be shared?  I have been cured (in a sense) from eternal separation from God- now what am I going to about it? Thank you freshman girl for reminding me of this truth.


Thoughts From eQuip: Heaven = London?

October 19, 2009

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This is one of my absolute favorite moments of the week.  Last night, the Austin ESM team put on a training time called eQuip.  The topics vary every time, but last night’s was designed to help student leaders study Scripture for themselves and learn how to interpret and apply it with sound methods.  Joe Smith did a great job in communicating a method he has found effective for the last eight years, and also sharing the vision for studying the Bible, how it helps us know Jesus.

Toward the end of the night, he started to talk about Heaven and his old misconceptions about it.  What followed was hilarious.

Joe: “I used to think that Heaven was this hazy, foggy place that was kind of cool…”

Student (interrupting): “London?”

Wow, I laughed so hard!  Even after my “adult” side kicked in and I stopped laughing during what was supposed to be a serious talk, I was secretly really proud that the student was in my co-ed Bible study.

In all seriousness, though, eQuip is a great time for our students to be trained in different areas of life and ministry skills.  During the previous session, students learned some strategies for sharing their faith and were encouraged to reach out to their friends and peers on campus.  Each training time is great but last night’s was of particular importance because one of our main objectives this year is to see every student leader well-equipped to read and apply the Bible on their own.  In other words, we want to see them become “self-feeders,” which is absolutely essential in the goal of walking with God for a lifetime.

Please pray that students will develop a love for God’s word that would keep them turning to it and its Author for a lifetime!


Megan’s story and upcoming Retreats

October 14, 2009

Megan sharing her story at the Epic weekly meeting. I am so grateful for how God is working in and through our students.  Megan is a junior, petroleum engineering major at the University of Texas and one of our core leaders within Epic.  As I’ve gotten to know Megan, I’ve seen a woman who loves Jesus and also loves to be perfect in everything she does– this drive to be perfect sometimes overwhelms her.  Through her summer internship, Megan experienced working as a petroleum engineer and how God revealed her purpose in studying this major.  She shared with some of her co-workers about God and, in the future, through her job will be able to gain access into many countries (especially China where she is from) where she wouldn’t be able to go as a missionary.  She also discovered that her drive to excel gives her a platform of integrity that could translate into more opportunities to share her faith.  Megan’s story encouraged many students who are still trying to discern God’s purpose for them in their studies.

 

Upcoming Events:

coast-bigDestino Fall Retreat: October 16-18

 Latino students from all over Texas will be coming together to hear Biblical teaching, connect, and meet more students interested in expressing and experiencing the gospel in culturally relevant ways.   I am trusting God that through this weekend, our UT Destino students will catch a greater vision for how God can use them in the Latino community on campus.

Renovo ‘o9 (latin for restoration) October 23-25

It has been more than a year since Hurricane IKE devastated so many families in Galveston, and many have not yet fully recovered.  Restoration doesn’t happen in an instant; it’s a process and a choice.  We are choosing to enter into a process of bringing back the life that was once there by serving, working, and rebuilding.  But it is more than that: we will show compassion and love as well.  This is the beauty of restoration: moving from the physical to the spiritual.   We are praying for 75 students from UT, UT-San Antonio, and the University of Houston to attend with at least 20 of them being unbelievers.  Our hope is that we can interact with students who wouldn’t normally come to one of our events, but because of the service nature of the weekend, they will participate and in turn experience the gospel. 

 

Thank you for impacting Megan’s life as well as many other students through our partnership in ethnic student ministry!


Lesson in Spiritual Conversations from the Gym

September 27, 2009

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Benching my body weight at the 24 Hour Fitness gym has been a recent achievement, but not without help.  Who knew that my personal fitness goals would coincide with God’s plan to move His Kingdom into a stranger’s life?

A few weeks ago, I decided to increase my lifting goals, but I generally never do so without a spotting buddy.  As I was there, I met a guy named Austin, who was a few years older than I, resting from his set, so I asked if he’d spot me as I lifted.  I was conscience to the Holy Spirit, and it was my prayer that I would be open to any opportunity to honor God as a witness.  After I finished, we talked about where we were from, and I found out that Austin works for his dad’s welding company in Houston and frequents this gym.  Of course, he then asks me the best witnessing opportunity question: “And what do you do?”

Usually, I’d follow a well-rehearsed script sharing precisely what I do on college campuses, but I believe God had a different plan.  Instead, I tell him that I enjoy speaking to college students about life, relationships, and God. He then asks, “You get paid to do that?” We continue talking about my work with Campus Crusade for Christ and Austin starts reflecting with me that he rarely ever thought about spiritual things.  As we continue working out; I show him a new work-out he’s never tried, and we part after I offer to hear his thoughts on life, relationships, and God in future conversations.  Austin thanks me; since then, I’ve run into him more often at the gym.

Well, this story doesn’t end with a prayer to receive Christ—it’s still on-going, actually—but it’s worth telling. I’m currently reading a book I’d recommend to every believer: God Space: Where Spiritual Conversations Happen Naturally, by Doug Pollock.  Pollock propounds that “spiritual conversations should be our ultimate motive, not our ulterior motive.”  In my experience of talking with students, I often feel a pressure to “direct” or “steer” a conversation towards spiritual matters.  The pressure is usually from me wanting to have an awesome praise story to share, or count higher numbers of people hearing the gospel.  Yielding to this pressure keeps God from directing the conversation himself, naturally, providentially.  Not to mention, I might steer it into situations I can’t handle!

I learned to trust that 1) God loves Austin more than I could, 2) God knows how to connect with Austin better than I could, and 3) the Holy Spirit wants to lead me into a conversation with Austin that both connects with him and communicates God’s love to him.  As a result, this experience has helped me yield control of conversations, and has taught me how to let God’s love flow from me—for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God (I John 4:7, ESV).

Please pray for my future conversations with Austin.  We greet each other every time we see one another at the gym.  I want to find out if he has friends who follow Christ and hear of his opinion of them.  As I’m growing and experiencing God, it seems He is interested in my multiple areas of growth (Luke 2:52).


A Beautiful Partnership

September 27, 2009

At the beginning of the semester, our team placed the first two weeks on campus as priority one. This was prime time for us to reach out to freshmen and to give our movements a huge lift on campuses all over the state of Texas. My wife TJ and I were charged to head up to Dallas and give UTD some assistance to get their movement going. After making some phone calls and some scheduling coordination, we had twelve different people with us sharing the Gospel to the students of UTD.

The representation on the team made it a beautiful sight to behold. We had two staff from the Austin team, two staff from the Dallas team, one volunteer, one alum, one potential church volunteer and five students who drove 180 miles that morning to join us. Working on such an eclectic group of people who all had a heart to see students at UTD know Jesus was extraordinarily fulfilling.