Wednesday, November 10, 2021

We're almost at the halfway point of the year!

 My friends & team!

Just over 50 days left until 2022 and ministry at Richland is in full swing. Thank you so much for your support and believing in us as we have loved & pursued the students that God has put in our path. 

This has been a tough year for some of our student leaders at Richland College FOCUS. A couple of them have stepped down from leadership due to personal reasons. We know that God is good and that he has his hand on every student that enters our ministry. God has provided awesome students that can potentially step up into leadership moving into the spring semester, so please be praying about that! 

Our ministry model is 100% rooted in getting students to minister to their peers as they are developed and shaped into students who do not just attend classes - but are missionaries in their classes! Leadership is hard but it is rewarding! We are so excited for what God is doing in the hearts & minds of the students in our group.


A photo from the back of one of our Thursday Night Thunder meetings! Thursday nights have been such a powerful experience for our community to worship and connect with each other. 

Every Wednesday Bryan (standing next to me) and I get to lead our Wednesday 2pm core. The guys have been consistent, faithful, and engaging with our time together. It's been a great experience getting to know them :) 

I attended SMU FOCUS last Thursday night to visit and check out what is going on at our other FOCUS ministry. Amber, Laurence, Sienna, Jacob, and Ashlyn all do an amazing job connecting with and loving those students. I felt touched by Jacob's sermon and the ideas he shared!



As the semester begins to come to a close please pray for: 
  • Our FOCUS apprentices and their hearts - this has been a challenging semester for many of them and they are discerning a lot about work, vocation, and ministry.
  • Our Student leaders - it is a challenge for many of them to balance so many aspects of their lives, but, I know that they are learning a lot about who they are and where God has them. Pray for them!


Thank you all so much for believing in me and for your support. I couldn't do this without you!

Your brother & campus missionary,

Sirak


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Sirak's October 2021 Update (LOTS OF PICS!)

My friends & my team! 

Can you believe that we're already halfway through October? God has been so good to us as a ministry and I just want to say: THANK YOU for your support & for believing in our mission to love college students. 

We made it through welcome week and our Thursday Night Thunder meetings, cores, 1-on-1s, and outreach days are all off to a great start! I'm blown away at how open & receptive students are now that we are back on campus and getting to meet with them face to face. 

We just finished our Fall Camp 2021 and it was a blast! Our students connected with each other and were so engaging during our sessions. Fall camp is always an encouraging time to be reminded that God is working in the hearts of our students even when we do not see it! 

Thank you all for believing in me and walking alongside me through the years. I love what I get to do with these students and I'm honored to have you all on my team :)

Thank you for your support and I hope you are encouraged with the pictures below in regards to what your support is helping build on God's college campuses: 


Fall Camp 2021 was a blast! Thank you for your support helping make this happen :) 

Connor, one of our apprentices this year, has been doing an amazing job helping pioneer Brookhaven Campus! 

Each year for the 1st week of school we set up a volleyball net on campus to meet & engage w/ students! This year we had an amazing time getting to engage with new people passing by :)

One of our first Thursday Night Thunder meetings of the year! These students have been great to get to know!

Joey, one of our apprentices, did a great job preaching on "Life To The Full: A Life of Outreach" - he has a heart for meeting new students and befriending them! 



At Fall Camp, we did a devotional sharing time and then took communion with each other! It was encouraging to hear how our students each remember Jesus in their own personal way.



Thank you so much for your support and for believing in our mission. The lives of students are being changed & shaped every day on campus thanks to supporters like you who partner through prayer & monthly donations!

I'm honored to have you on my team but I'm even more honored to call you my friends!

Your brother & campus missionary,


Sirak

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Start of An Amazing Year! (lots of pictures!)

We are officially 100% back! 

It's been a long year and a half, but I am excited to say that we are back on campus, back in the lives of students, and back making an impact every single day. 

Words can't express how happy I feel to be engaging and interacting with students face to face. Even walking through the cafeteria and looking at the men & women that God has brought our way has been a deeply encouraging experience!

It feels good to be back on campus, meeting new students and being faithful with what we have right in front of us. 

I began a 1-on-1 Bible study with a student named Yoni. He is a sophomore studying Information Technology and he is excited to jump into the scripture as we study Focus on Jesus.

I can already sense a lot of momentum in our ministry. Students are excited to be interacting with one another and being a part of a community on campus!

We have a lot of time to make up for the 1.5 years we were unable to be on campus. Please pray for us and our students as we build new relationships and open ourselves up to what God wants to do in our lives.

Enjoy the pictures below and THANK YOU for your support! 


This year we hosted our own Texas-SICM and it was an awesome experience! I loved getting to be with all of the students and prepare for an awesome year :)

Another pic of our Texas-SICM!

This year we are planting a FOCUS at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus! We have been at the Richland Campus for the last 8 years, but now we are expanding to another one of our Dallas College campuses! Connor (at the table) is one of our FOCUS apprentices! 

We've loved getting to engage and meet new students! Rinsy (right of Connor) came and helped us connect with students throughout the day.

Meanwhile at Richland Campus we set up volleyball nets the first week of school to meet students, engage with them, and make space for new spiritual friendships to grow!

Thursday Night Thunder!!!



The students that have been coming to Thursday Night Thunder are engaged and have an amazing attitude. I can tell that they are excited to be there to learn about Jesus and serve in our ministry!



We're off to a great start and I'm honored to be back with our students. It's been a long year and a half - but we are excited to be faithful with what God has given us! 



Thank you so much for your support! I am so grateful for your friendship & partnership. I'm excited to see what this year brings!

Your brother & campus missionary,

Sirak


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Staff Retreat and The Beginning of Another Year!

 My friends! My team!

Here we are again! It's August and in just a few weeks there will be thousands of students walking onto campus for the first time after the strangest academic year that they have probably ever experienced. I cannot fathom how hungry they are for social interaction and I am excited that FOCUS will be one of the first people that meet them as they walk onto campus!

This year we are pioneering FIVE new FOCUS ministries! We will be planting 2 at the campuses of Tarrant County College, a new campus for Collin College, NCTC in downtown Denton, and Dallas College Brookhaven Campus. We have an amazing group of incoming apprentices and we are excited to get going on these campuses!

We got back from our staff retreat last week and it was such an encouraging time! Our staff spent time bonding and getting to know each other before the beginning of a crazy year. This is the biggest our staff has ever been and I am honored to get to serve with such brilliant men & women of God.

Dallas College has gone through a lot of organizational transitions so we (at Richland College FOCUS) are still figuring out our status as an organization at Richland Campus. I think that everything will work out, however, if you can please PRAY for us that all of our administrative tasks & duties will line up before the year begins, that would be amazing!

THANK YOU for your support and for believing in my all of these years! I can't believe that I am beginning my 9th year on staff. I am honored to get to serve alongside the amazing staff & students that God has placed before me. I'm excited for our Richland FOCUS team to get on campus and begin loving students!

I hope these pictures encourage you and cast a vision for what God has planned this year!


Our incoming group of FOCUS apprentices! I am blown away at how many apprentices will be serving this year! This is our biggest year yet - pray for them as they learn in their classes and reach out on campus.

Staff retreat was encouraging. I'm glad that we all got to worship together and share what our vision is for the year. It has been a good summer of fundraising and I'm excited to kick the year off!

Our staff hanging out during one of the breaks at retreat!



The staff that whose contracts were up for renewal all made commitments at our commitments ceremony. Thank you to everyone who came or live-streamed the event!

Thank you all so much for believing in what we are doing! I am honored to get to be on campus this year side-by-side with you. Thank you for your prayers and consistent support :)

Please don't hesitate at all if you need prayer for anything!

Your brother & campus missionary,

Sirak


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Prepping for an Awesome Year!

My friends & team :) 

Summer is off to a great start and we are in full preparation mode for the fall. I have great news: Richland Campus will be opened for the fall!

This past year was such a positive experience but the one missing thing was getting to be on campus. COVID-19 really threw a wrench in all of our plans but it looks like we will be stepping moreso into normalcy with campus being 100% opened!

I'm excited to meet new students, reserve rooms, set up our tables at the org fair, and get to have Thursday Night Thunder again! Our Richland staff team will be the biggest that it has ever been. We are bringing on 2 apprentices (Claire & Connor) and 1 senior staff person (Joey). In addition to me & Sandra, this will be our biggest team yet! SMU FOCUS is also bringing on 2 apprentices so our Dallas staff team is growing!

This week I will be turning 33 years old and it is strange to think about - but I have been a college pastor for a decade! Some of you have been a part of my team since the very beginning and it is such an encouragement to know that you've been there side-by-side with me all of these years.

I'm looking forward to another year and I'm honored that you're all on my team for another one! 


Rhett (pictured in-between Reed (left) and me (Right)) got married a few weeks ago. He is on staff with our UT Dallas ministry and will soon be planting a FOCUS ministry at TCU. 

Summer FOCUS has been such an encouraging weekly time with our ministry. It feels so good to be back to normal with all of our students.

My Richland dudes! Brian (left), Jacob (middle), and me (right). These guys have been a huge part of our Richland FOCUS ministry over the past year. They are both coming back this fall and I'm excited for them to be a part of our ministry!

My man Dayo (right) and me (left)! I loved getting to lead core w/ him over the past year. We got some time to catch up with each other last week to hear how summer has been going and what God is doing in each others lives. 


Thank you all so much for believing in our mission to love college students. We couldn't do this without you! I am blown away at how much God has worked through your support to make a way for students to be loved and challenged to live for Christ!

Please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything in your life that I can be praying for you about!

Your brother,

Sirak


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Summer Is In Full Swing!

 My friends & team! 

Summer is in full swing and summer FOCUS has been going so smooth! 

It's encouraging to get to see students face-to-face again and we have so much momentum leading Into the fall! 

Thank you for believing in my & supporting our mission to love students!

I loved our spring park day that our ministry did!

My buddy Spencer sent me this photo a while back - I got to baptize him almost a decade ago in my small group that I was leading. Thankful for him!

One of our last Thursday Night FOCUS meetings! I miss seeing all of these students!

Our staff had a pioneering bootcamp a few weeks ago w/ a guest speaker from Chi Alpha! He came and led us in a 2-day intensive workshop regarding planting college ministries! It was awesome :) 


Our FOCUS apprentices did an AMAZING job this year! 
Me & my wonderful family!


Thank you so much for your support and for believing in me! Your support means so much to what we get to do. It's an honor to love these students and its an honor to be alongside you as we do it!

Your brother & campus missionary,

Sirak

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

We've Reached The End (Of A Wild Year!)

 My friends & team :) 

Cheers to another year! Wow...I feel like when I do these blogs I tend to have a (minor) existential crisis. Time truly walks...then runs...then flys by! I think that this year taught me (more than any previous year) that God is the one who is in control. 

At our end-of-the-year party, I thanked the students for choosing to be involved this year. Our campus was closed, many meetings were held on Zoom, we were limited in outreach and I could tell that many students were struggling. Choosing community is always a sacrifice when there are conveniences and luxuries all around us. This year, however, the students who chose to be involved all made this year the powerful experience that it was! 

God has given us such a sweet group of students who love one another and believe in one another. We had an 'open-mic' time at our end-of-the-year party for the students to share how they've seen God move in the lives of those around them and I was deeply moved at the stories that were shared. Our students encouraged and blessed one another as they reflected on the year. I was reminded of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:6 (see below).

"I planed the seed, (Apollos) watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

This year was difficult at times - but in the end I got to see the fruit of our labor. This year was a challenge - but in the end I got to see the seeds that we planed together as a team begin to grow. 

Thank you for your support and for believing in us. I'm blown away at the love & support I receive from you all. I will be turning 33 years old in July - some of you have been on my team since I was 23! I'm honored that you have gone on this journey with me. 

Enjoy the photos below! 


Our Wednesday 2pm core! It's going to be sad to say goodbye to these fellas, but, I know I will be seeing them over the summer at Summer FOCUS!

Tom Miller, a dead friend of mine preached a few times at Thursday Night Thunder and the students loved it! We're so thankful for Tom and how he blesses our ministry.

We did a spring park day in April and it was a blast! 

Our FOCUS Apprentice, Bridget - did a great job planning it. She and Ashley put on such a fun day for our students to get out, play some fun games, and engage with one another!

Thursday Night Thunder has been one of my favorite nights of the week. We appreciate Northeast Church Garland allowing us to meet in their building this year!

Another shot of our Thursday Night Thunder group!



I love our group of students! So grateful for them :) 



Sandra did a great job preaching a few weeks ago - she planned and prepared a worship night for us. The students engaged with the talk and worshiped God in their own unique way(s) at our worship stations.



Thank you all for believing in me! The best is yet to come! 

I'm honored to get to serve on campus at Richland College with my team :) We're excited to jump Into the Fall 2021 semester (It'll be here faster than we think!).

Until then, don't hesitate to contact me if you need prayer for anything specific in your life! Thank you for your support!

Your brother & campus pastor,

Sirak