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Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30th Update and Prayer Requests

Yesterday I met with a young man who, together with his wife, has moved his family into the region to serve God.  It was a very big blessing to me—to hear the way they are stepping out in faith.  They aren’t sure what God has for them, but they KNOW they must be in Hays.  It strikes a chord with my recent past, and it is a big reassurance to me.  God is so amazing to see in motion.  I believe we both walked away very encouraged after a long discussion.  I could FEEL the Holy Spirit’s presence during the conversation.  I love moments like that.  It also stuck out to me that he quoted a verse that is in my facebook profile ‘”No, O people, the Lord has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" Micah 6:8 NLT’.

God’s kingdom IS advancing in this region, and it is exciting to watch.  Another young family that is obviously serving God is the Tippy family.  They have recently purchased a property near the post office in Hays and rent out the upstairs to international students.  They have remodeled the basement and plan to rent it out, as well.  They hope to enable a ‘home stay’ environment that encourages the students to eat meals with their family and get to know them.  Through their lives, they wish for God to minister.  I am very thankful and encouraged by what they are doing, as well.

I will be meeting with the Tippy family along with Grace Zhou (who leads international Bible studies in Mandarin) and an associate of hers, Anne Leiker of Community Connections (responsible for creating events for international students), Eddie Olmstead of North Oak Church’s outreach team (the team plans activities for international students and heavily participates in a program that pairs international students with American families) and hopefully a representative of Christian Challenge (which has individuals who reach out to internationals).  I hope that we can all share how the Holy Spirit is leading us and see how He may lead us to work together.  I am excited for the opportunities and would request that you pray for us that we listen and hear God’s voice at our gathering.  I also pray that we follow His leading there (we are all directed by the same Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4)).

Unite will also have a prayer retreat the day before classes start, January eleventh.  This day allows students to spend the bulk of a day before semester starts praying and listening to God.  We meet as a big group briefly then separate to individual rooms to pray, reflect, and listen.  There is also a guide that individuals may use to pray through things that will likely come along in the semester in their lives as the world seeks to shift our priorities.  Please pray that we may all listen and hear God speak.

Beyond that, Unite hosts the ‘Get Plugged In’ event at the beginning of the semester on campus.  I pray that God’s will be accomplished with that event.  Though I do see students pair up with churches and ministries at the event, it is usually not overly-well attended; however, I see MANY church and ministry leaders move around to speak with others at the event (over 2/3 of the churches in Hays attended last semester).  Several leaders have told me that the event is valuable just in that the churches show we can work together for God’s purposes, and that it is valuable for the communication the leaders get with individuals they almost never see.  Please pray that any students who should be there are there, and that the right connections are made.  Also, please pray that God’s will be accomplished at the event in general.

Finally, small groups and game nights will resume soon, and I know many will be anxious to get back together in prayer.  Please pray that all involved listen to God’s Spirit, listen to each other, and learn from God to better love and encourage one another (that He may be seen in our love for each other to those around). 
Thank you for your prayers and/or financial support, and THANK GOD for an excellent year and more adventures to come!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16th Updates and prayer requests

It has been a whirlwind time in ministry as the semester rounds to a close.  It is usually a very volatile time in students’ lives, and this has opened up a number of very good conversations with several individuals and in several of the small groups.

There have also been a number of opportunities to directly help and encourage each other in the small groups.  In one group a youth pastor and his wife are moving, so we had the opportunity to help paint their new house.  In another group we’ve had a chance to purchase tea and coffee for fellow students who have been stuck studying for finals.  In yet another group we’ve focused on praying and have met several times outside of the group times to meet and pray for each other.  In each of the groups, God’s Spirit is definitely present, and I am thankful for His guidance.

We’ve also had a nice increase in international student attendance at some of our game night events.  One or two have even started to become semi-regular attenders after initially coming with North Oak’s friendship families at our collaborative game night in November. 

Relationships among diverse parts of the body in this community are also being formed and strengthened.  I am distinctly excited for an opportunity it seems the Spirit is bringing about for various Christian groups to come together to work towards larger community projects.  Just today I attended a meeting with four youth pastors who seek to come together with some of the college groups to pull in speakers for the University and local school districts.  Over break there is also a group of ministries that focus on internationals that hope to meet together to discuss how God is leading us and how we can pool our resources to better support international students who may not have places to go over break.

Overall, things have been very exciting, VERY relational, and thus very busy.  I thank God for the year that He’s provided and for the growth we’ve experienced individually and corporately.

Please pray that:

The Lord help ALL involved in our leadership listen to and hear His Spirit, and that He help our student leadership team move together in His Spirit…

That God help all of us in His body in this community move together in His timing…

That God help Christians see opportunities to speak into each others' lives in love, to help and encourage each other, and to point believers and non-believers towards God and thus towards hope…

A thank you for God’s continued providence.

Thank YOU for your prayers!!!