Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tis' The Season To Serve!

Students gather around all of the toys we gathered for our 2012 FOCUS Toy Drive!

This year for FOCUS we partnered with the Community Partners of Dallas to participate in their annual toy drive.  This service provides Christmas gifts for children and teenagers in Dallas ranging from age 5 to 18 who are from underprivileged families.  Some of these individuals are abused, neglected, or molested and are in desperate need of the Jesus' spirit.  

FOCUS came through big and provided over 60 kids with their Christmas wishes this year and we dropped them off on Saturday, December 8th at their Dallas warehouse location.  The nonprofit organization was extremely grateful for our work and it was a real pleasure to help out those whose may not have the privileges and opportunities that we have.

Let's remember that this is the season to give and serve, not to receive and neglect.  Let us remember our God who came to serve and seek what was lost.  My prayer is that this holiday season we would do the same!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Have The Conversation

Good Evening!

The holidays are soon approaching and it's one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the joy and feelings associated with thankfulness and remembrance of what our Lord did for us through Jesus.  I hope and pray that this holiday season spurs us on to bless others.

I entitled this entry "Have The Conversation," because it is what God has taught me over the last couple of months.  There have been some challenging moments over the last couple months regarding students and leaders in our ministry.  These challenges have forced me to come out of my comfort zone and have the tough, challenging conversations that do not feel comfortable!

Asking/saying things such as, "So what did you think when I said/did that?", "What has God been teaching you about things you need to hand over to him?", and "When you did ______ it came across rude and arrogant, I don't think that was right.  Am I being crazy here?"

God is showing me that tough conversations are a part of ministry and we need to be prepared to have them if we plan on being effective servants in God's kingdom!  The gospels are full of conversations that are inconvenient and challenging involving Jesus.  Remember that Jesus said, "A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." (Luke 6:40)

The call is to be like Jesus and that involves having the tough conversations!

Thank you again for your support of campus ministry and giving me the opportunity to be on this campus reaching our to a lost and dying world.

- Sirak

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hey there,

About three months into my campus ministry internship I am learning to be efficient with the time God has so graciously given me because I definitely do not have much of it!  Campus ministry warrants a lifestyle that is purposeful and prepared for any kind of situation that arises.

After our peer team meeting (see August post) I found myself having a long spiritual conversation with an student leader who needed advice in a situation he is going through, a few nights ago I drove a student leader who had a minor concussion in a volleyball game to the emergency room with another leader in our ministry, I preached a sermon in our intern bible class on Tuesday, and am preparing to read the entire book of Luke for one of our assignments.  These are only a few of the things that are I am available to partake in thanks to your support for campus ministry! :)

To let you into my life a little bit I am posting a picture of my 'workstation' (and I use that term loosely) that consists of a few books I am reading for ministry and different notes and bible studies I am doing with other students.  Enjoy!

Please pray that myself and the other campus ministry staff here would finish our semesters out strong and not grow weary in doing good :) I am also having my wisdom teeth taken out this Friday morning so please pray for a safe healing!

- Sirak

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Camp 2012

      This past weekend our campus ministry hosted its annual Fall Camp held at Mount Lebanon Baptist Camp in Cedar Hill, TX.  We had the largest turnout of students ever held at our fall semester camp that we've been hosting for the last 10 years!  140 students showed up to build relationships, grow closer to God, and be a part of what God is doing at UT Dallas.

Group of our UT Dallas and Richland students socializing in the main chapel during Fall Camp! 
       You should see what is going on over here at UT Dallas!  I meet students every week that I could only be meeting thanks to your support and prayers.  It is really an honor to know that there are men and women out there who are committed to seeing lives changed on his college campuses through prayer and financial support.

Every Monday night a group of our student leaders meet at my house to eat dinner and share how our ministries are going.  This is one of the most valuable times of my week!

      Tonight we had a great discussion on small group leading that really challenged and shaped the guys in our Monday night group (see picture above).  There are so many students in our ministry with different spiritual backgrounds and stories - it is such a testament to the holy spirit that we can all come together and unite in Christ.  These small group leaders are the foundation and rock of our ministry; these are the guys who are on the front lines meeting students on campus and inviting them to be a part of what we believe regarding campus ministry: making and maturing disciples.

     Please pray that these students would be united and would work together helpfully and humbly as they impact the students in their core.  It is very important that we are united as student leaders.  Satan will try to divide and attack us but if we remain strong in Christ we will be fruitful.  

      This year is moving fast and I pray that God would reveal to me areas he is working in and I also pray that I would be obedient to what/who he is calling me to.  

      Thank you again for your support - if it wasn't for you none of this would be possible.  

      Your campus missionary,

      Sirak Asfaw

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Off To a Great Start!

These last few weeks have been absolutely crazy!  Crazy in the "I can't believe there is so much to do that I never knew ever got done," kind of way.  So far in the internship I have (very humbly) learned that ministry has so many tasks that are overlooked but are sometimes the most necessary to ensure that an ministry is successful.

Inputing student information into a google doc, filling up coolers with lemonade and water, hanging banners around campus, bringing trash cans (and picking up leftover trash), passing baskets during large group, printing sign-up sheets, hosting events, planning events, and many other tasks that God still wants to show me the importance of, are all ministry.  Ministry is done when no one is looking and you're all by yourself knowing that only God is watching.  We work hard because we serve a God who worked hard.  He didn't take the easy way out or find a shortcut.

I love campus ministry because there are no shortcuts if you're doing it right.  Meeting students during such an important time in their life offers no shortcut to impacting them for Christ.  We choose to be disciples and head straightforward into their lives ready for what God is already doing in there.  It's the way Jesus did it.  We are not dependent on a method or a formula when discipleship is involved - only the spirit.  We depend on him because we know his power.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses..." Acts 1:8

(Our large group meeting on 09/07/12.  We are having more students show up than ever before at UT Dallas FOCUS.  Please pray that all of these students would be met and be befriended within our ministry)

This year is already flying by and I am pumped for what God has in store for FOCUS at UT Dallas, Collin College, U. of North Texas, and Richland College.  Thank you for your support and I would not be able to be spending a year of my life doing campus ministry if it wasn't for you deciding to be a part of what God is doing here at UT Dallas.

Your campus missionary,


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Internship Begins!

Six years ago I walked onto the campus of Collin College and would have never guessed that campus ministry would have played such a drastic role in my growth as a disciple and an individual.  I walked into my first Thursday night fellowship nervous, directionless, and bitter towards God and the people around me.  God has been using the FOCUS staff and student leaders over the last six years of my undergraduate/graduate education to prepare me for what is about to happen in just one week over here at UT Dallas.

As summer comes to an end and my school of ministry class (see picture) comes to an end, I am reminded that this is not the end.  If you have a chance, please listen to "This is Not The End" by Gungor.  I hope that this song will minister to you as much as it does to me.

In just one week there will be tens of thousands of students entering our college campuses in the Dallas Ft-Worth area for the first time and we are working hard to be some of the first people they meet during move-in weekend and welcome week.  There is so much work to do!  You would be so happy to see for yourself what is going on here at UT Dallas.  God really has big things in mind for the 2012-13 school year.

My prayer is that all of our student leaders use their time wisely and purposefully as we meet new students and seek to build a spiritual friendship with many of the lives God will be crossing with ours.  Campus ministry is one of a kind in that these first few weeks need to be spent casting our nets wide and meeting as many people as possible!  This may seem daunting to some but however we spend these first few weeks will directly relate to how effective the rest of our semester will be.

I hope that God will fill our students with the holy spirit as we seek to be bold and courageous for Jesus on his campus.  I am around two weeks into this internship and am loving it!  This year is going to be a good one!