Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Update! Be Thankful!

God has been up to so much at UTD over the last month. He is really preparing our students hearts for our annual winter camp this January! (Also) SOMETHING EXCITING: If you haven't heard about our #FOCUS140 campaign please watch the video below!

We've had students impacted tremendously through campus ministry and wanted to invite you to take part in our campaign to keep FOCUS growing as we move to new campuses and follow God where he leads us. Campus ministry has challenged me to expand my vision for God's kingdom and has humbled me to understand and trust him. He is so good! As we prepare for finals and Christmas break, please pray that our students would finish the semester strong and that God's will would be made known to those who are still unsure about what God wants from them. 

Enjoy the pictures below!:

Thanksgiving potluck that FOCUS hosted for our students who stayed in town over the holiday. We had some great Turkey and got to know lots of international students.

My peer team I meet up with every week! (Bottom: Marcus, me (Sirak), Ryan, and Zack. Top: Charles, Morgan, JD, Austin, and Stephen) These students have been such a joy to meet up with and spend time with. They all have volunteered to spend this year serving our students and being involved in disciple-making relationships; please pray for them as they impact UTD!
One of our students, Kimberly, getting baptized by our UTD FOCUS intern, Ana!
After Kimberly's baptism we all took a group photo - we are so happy to have her a part of our ministry and are so thankful for God's grace in calling her towards him!

None of this would be possible without your support and commitment to partnering with us on God's college campuses. I hope you all had a blessed thanksgiving and are moving closer and closer to Jesus everyday. I wish you were all here with me walking the campus and being involved in conversations with these students, but I know through your support that you are just as near in your partnership.

Your campus missionary,


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy October My Friends!

Wow! I can't believe we're two months away from 2015 :) Time is flying over here at UT Dallas and we couldn't be happier with what God is doing. Your support and vision for FOCUS is showing fruit everyday as we get to walk onto campus together and meet with God's students. Every time I think of you I am filled with joy and thankfulness. Joy because of how God has ministered to all of you to bring you to partnership with us and thankfulness because I get to remember everyday that you believe in our mission and walk with me on campus in my mind and heart!

October has flown by quickly and we are already preparing for our Christmas Party, Winter Camp, end of semester activities, and planning for spring!

Campus ministry is all about relationships. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." I got to complete my first 'full-circle' of campus ministry a few weeks ago, haha (let me explain). Four years ago a young freshman named Sagar Gandhi walked into my small group at UTD FOCUS and my life would be changed forever. We got to study the bible, make winter-camp and other ministry videos, cry, and lead others to Jesus with one another. Three weeks ago he got married to his lovely wife, Carissa, and it was a pure joy to see God lead them together. I got to be a groomsman in his wedding and I think I wept through the whole ceremony thinking of God's faithfulness and love to his people :)

As Sagar and Carissa begin their life together I am praying that God would use me to be a light to another group of freshmen walking onto UTD's campus for the first time. God is so good and faithful and I can't begin to fathom why he uses broken people like us to accomplish his good and perfect will. All praise to Him!

I hope and pray you're encouraged by the photos and stories below:

Sagar (middle) a few minutes before the wedding ceremonies begin! Don't be fooled by the picture, he was so excited to marry such a beautiful, godly woman!

Matt Wills (FOCUS Intern 2013-14), myself, and Grant Trotter (FOCUS Intern 2013-14) got a chance to catch up with each other last week over dinner. Both of these young men got to serve in our one-year internship impacting students and being a light to their campuses. They are both working full-time and are involved in our Denton North church.

We had a photobooth set up at our FOCUS Halloween party and our students loved it (some of the costumers were...creative, haha - see below)!

Students posing in our photo booth together at the Halloween party!

Andrew Pham (FOCUS Intern 2011-12), myself, and Ana Fineout (FOCUS Intern 2014-15) - cleaning up after our Halloween Party!
I got to meet Lee and Darrel (both married 50 years to each other!) around a month ago and they invited me and my roommates over to their house for dinner. I met Lee while walking around my neighborhood in Plano one day and she easily became one of my most favorite people of all time. They both have lived a full life of ministry, family, and discipleship. I even found out that they are also involved in reaching out to international students at UTD! I was tremendously encouraged by their stories of God's faithfulness. Sometimes I struggle with thinking through what it looks like to have such a powerful, real trust in the Lord. I think much of that comes through walking with God for a time - but after meeting with these two faithful laborers of God I was absolutely blown away at their faithfulness and trust. It encouraged me greatly to continue to seek God and walk with him through everything!

Kyle, Junior @ UT Dallas - was baptized this past Sunday by one of our student leaders, David. Praise God!

After Kyle's Baptism we all took a group photo together - his family was so encouraged and thankful to see their son baptized into the Lord :)

I hope you all had the opportunity to look through all of the stories and pictures I posted :) I am just so excited to share all this with you to show how your support is furthering God's kingdom! The vision is happening at UTD! Disciples are being made and relationships formed to impact future generations of his people!

Please pray that we, as a team of students, staff, and volunteers would finish the semester strong and seek the Lord in what he has planned next semester - I've got a feeling he's got huge plans for us and is looking for a people that is after his heart.

I wish you were all here with me at my side but I know through your support that you are with me every step of the way through your commitment and support of campus ministry & God's mission. Love you all so much!

Your missionary,


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Update!

My friends!

The month of September has been full of encouraging stories to tell! I included a couple below:

1. When I was a student at UT Dallas I was a server at Cheddars Casual Cafe in Garland, TX. While I was there I crossed paths with probably hundreds of different servers who were employed by the restaurant. There was one server in particular named Grant whom I interacted with off and on at work but nothing consistent. In mid-September I ran into Grant on campus and we began to catch up (we haven't seen each other in around 3 years). I learned that he had several life-shaping experiences and has begun to follow Jesus! We've talked more and more over the weeks and he is wanting to study the bible together - praise God! Please pray that our friendship and bible study would be enriching for Grant and that he would go on to make disciples in his life!

2. Campus ministry changes from year to year and as students graduate we pray that God would fill roles that they may have served in from year to year. We have been praying for students to step up and join our worship/praise/sound team(s) this year and God has answered in a big way! We have had over 50 students sign up to help with sound, moving equipment, playing instruments, singing, and doing creative things at our big group services. We are having a worship & sound training day/hang out on Oct. 11th and I'd invite you to pray that these students would impact the next generation of students here at UT Dallas!

I wish you all were on campus with me seeing what your support has been going to. We had our UTD FOCUS Fall Camp this past weekend and it was a blast! I included (lots of) pictures below for you to see. Thank you so much for all of your support - partnering with you is such a joy and encourages me in any situation I find myself in. Knowing that you believe in the mission and believe in me means the world.

IMPORTANT: One of our student leaders, Ryan, found out a few weeks ago that his kidneys are failing and that he will need to have a kidney transplant. He began dialysis today to begin filtering his blood as he waits on a transplant. He will be doing dialysis around 14 hours per week, leading a small group, taking classes, and meeting with students. It has been a challenging experience but he is trusting God and in good spirits. Please pray for peace and wisdom during this time. Also pray that a donor would come up quick in the lists so that we can have Ryan back quick! (see picture below)
Myself (left), Morgan (middle), and Ryan (right). Morgan and Ryan are both small group leaders in FOCUS. We went to visit Ryan during our weekly meeting. Please pray for Ryan!

Our UTD small group leaders meeting on Monday to discuss fall camp, how small groups are going, and to pray with one another. These students are off to a great start for the year!

This was our third FOCUS meeting for the year. I got to lead our community in worship and see how powerful God is in calling his students to praise his name together :)
During Fall Camp our students played LOTS of fun (and sometimes a little violent, haha) games with one another.

The group of UTD students who attended FOCUS Fall Camp! We are so thankful for your support and prayers - it was such a great weekend of discipleship and worship! (I am bottom right)

I am so honored to have you on my support team. Please pray that we would not stop working hard for the Lord and that no students would fall through the cracks and not be offered the opportunity to be a part of a 1 on 1 disciple-making relationship. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

Your campus missionary,


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moving Forward Into New Beginnings Our

My Friends!

At this point we are two weeks into the school year and I am so blown away at what God has been doing this early in the fall semester. Some of our student leaders have already met and befriended ten, twenty, even thirty students at UTD's welcome week events! Please pray that God would prepare the hearts of these students who have been invited to small groups and that our leaders would be well rested and organized to not let any of these students slip through the cracks. Pray that God would build lifelong friendships beginning here at UTD!

Warning (A lot of photos!): I wanted to just show you all what your support is going towards. This year is all about sharing the gospel with students and making the name of Christ known at UTD :) I wish you all were here working alongside us as we work each day on God's college campuses but through your support I view all of you as co-laborers in Christ with me!

We had our leader retreat just this last weekend (with the U. of North Texas, Texas Woman's University, Collin College, and Richland College campuses) and it was such a great time to meet with over 100 of our student leaders who are going to impact our college campuses. These student leaders are commiting 10+ hours/week of their busy college schedules to be vessels for God's word reaching students.

See encouraging pictures below of these first few weeks of school!

Our UTD FOCUS student leaders preparing for the school year. We have over 40 student leaders this year who are facilitating small groups, leadind 1 on 1 bible studies, and planning events for students on a weekly basis. 

I (sitting top middle) got to go out and eat authentic chinese food with some international and transfer students. It was delicous!
We had a combined worship night with many of the campus ministries at UTD before the school year began. It was a night of prayer, preparation, and encouragement as we go out into the year reaching this campus for Jesus!

Our first Friday Night FOCUS! We met in the Clark Center and we almost packed it out. God was so faithful with who attended, we had over 150 students sign up to be in small groups! Please pray for our students and leaders - that lifelong friendships would be made and the gospel would be spread throughout UTD :)

Another shot of our first FNF

Our student organization fair table - we've had hundreds of students sign up to be involved in small groups this year!

Meeting students in the comet cafe!

I can't begin to thank you enough for what your support has helped accomplish thus far by the grace of God :) I pray that you all would be strengthened and encouraged by these photos and updates to know that your support is going towards making Jesus' name known on God's campuses. 

Please pray that our staff would remain attentive to the needs of our community and that we'd be ready and able to respond to the spirit regarding the situations that arise in campus ministry. I love you all and wouldn't be able to do any of this without your support!

Your campus missionary,

Sirak Asfaw

Friday, August 8, 2014

A New Season Begins :)

My friends!

I hope you're all doing well & enjoying the rest of your summer :) The school year is fast approaching and towards the end of August there will be thousands of students walking onto God's college campuses for the first time & we're hoping to be the first ones they meet! I actually got to meet some today (see pictures below). The Indian Student Association was hosting rides for first-time graduate students at UTD & they needed to move their luggage back to campus - we got to meet a few of the organization's leaders and create some contacts there.

This summer flew by quick & it was so good to catch up with many of you - I'm so thankful God has put you in my life as a blessing to me & the students I meet daily at UTD.

Thank you again for believeing in the work we're doing here at UTD & his other campuses. We are praying for the hearts of all the students who are going to be met and befriended in these first few weeks during Welcome Week & the events we have planned as a ministry. Will you also pray for these students? See pictures below!

At our last Summer FOCUS meeting. So thankful to Lifepoint Church for letting us meet in their facilities :)

I got to move luggage for over 40 Indian international students stepping foot onto the USA for the first time!
I even got to teach them the UTD Woosh :)

One of the rooms on-campus we will be meeting in for our Friday Night Fellowship meetings. We're so thankful that the University lets us host our meetings here where students can hear the gospel, build friendships, and impact the University for years to come!

I wish you could all be side by side with me & the other staff as we reach God's campuses but I know that through your donations & prayer you are bigger partners than you or I both realize. God has blessed us all to be a blessing to others and I can promise you that none of what we are doing could be possible without people like you deciding to be a part of what God is doing :)

Please pray for:

  • Wisdom and discernment for all of our student leaders moving into the fall.
  • That all of our ministries would have a great relationship with the University they are a part of.
  • That students' lives would be changed for the glory of God!

Love you all so much & thank you for your continual partnership!

Your missionary,


Thursday, July 10, 2014

June/Early July Update!

Greetings from Colorado my friends!

I am here for the week with Brandon, Peter, Laurence, Charles, & The Riddle family.  Jeff Riddle, a FOCUS supporter, invited me and some of the other UTD FOCUS staff to spend time with him, relax, and enjoy the weather out here in Colorado.  I turned 26 yesterday and we all went out to eat in Breckenridge. It was such a great time and God has blessed me with some great friends. See pictures below!

Our Thursay night FOCUS meetings have been going great! Lifepoint church in Plano has continued to shower us with hospitality and love as they continually open up their church facilities every week. Them allowing a couple hundred college students meet in their building has helped us build the kingdom and prepare for a great fall semester.

Me, Peter (UTD staff), Brandon (UTD staff), Laurence (UTD staff), and Charles (UTD Grad) in Breckenridge, CO for the week.

Picture of our upcoming leader team at UTD this fall! Be praying for their small groups and students that they are going to meet and reach out to in August for Welcome Week!

Thank you all for returning my text messages, phone calls, and emails & thank you for your willingness to hear what God has planned on his college campuses this fall. Support raising for the fall has been moving along and I have just a few more individuals to get in contact with.

 In just under six weeks there will be hundreds of thousands of incoming freshmen, international, and transfer students walking onto UT Dallas, U. of North Texas, Collin College, Richland College and Texas Womens University.  We want to be the first people these students meet and befriend as their lives are changed forever through this experience we call: college. :)

It's exciting and also nerve-racking because there is so much work to do this fall to reach our students for God's campuses. Please pray that God would right now be preparing the hearts and minds of all the students he wants to receive his gospel message - Also pray for us as a ministry team; that we would be ready and prepared to move in on any opportunity he provides!

Your campus missionary,


Thursday, June 5, 2014

May Update! (Looking Back & Moving Forward)

My friends!

It's been a great year and I am so blown away at what the Lord has done through our committment to serve and spread the gospel on his college campuses.  As I enter this summer break (although I would hardly call it a break, hah) I am filled with joy reflecting on this year with you and remembering just how faithful of a God we serve!

We had our first summer FOCUS last Thursday and had around 200 students show up to large group gathering.  We are going to be meeting on Thursday nights at Lifepoint Church in Plano, TX.  This church has graciously opened their doors to us and let us use their facilities for free while providing us with AV/tech assistance.  It is such a blessing to know that there are local churches who are willing to partner with us in campus missions!

See pictures below of highlights of the year:

Matt, our U. of North Texas campus pastor and I at SICM, a week-long leadership training conference for our students.

We had an impromptu praise & worship time in the middle of campus at UT Dallas in March and it was such a joy to sing songs to our Lord in the middle of campus :)

This semester I go tto serve through the priase & worship ministry - next year we are raising up 3 more worship pastors at UT Dallas to help serve and lead our community in worship.

The FOCUS staff @ SICM!

In Washington, for our annual leadership conference we take our students we stopped to take a photo with the viking mascot for Western Washington University! 

I hope to touch base with all of you over the summer through a letter or phone call and hopefully we can set up some time to catch up.  I would love to personally thank all of you for your support and help throughout this year!

Thank you for your partnership this year and you'll be hearing from me soon!

Your campus missionary,


Friday, May 2, 2014

Reflecting On The Year :)

Wow, it's already May!

First off, let me just say thank you for being a part of this journey God has taken us on together.  This year has gone by so smoothly and God has had his hand in so many of the lives that were changed through our campus work together.  It is crazy to think that the academic school year has come to a close.  So many students graduating, others making lifelong committments, some getting married, and others traveling back home for summer.  Campus ministry has taught me so much about myself and the world around me - so thankful to have been a part of the journey with you this past year!  (See pictures below!)

Two our ministry's small group leaders: Mike & Mark - I got to meet up with these two weekly to help them plan and prepare for their Thursday night small group.
Students praying with one another for our end of the year worship night on campus :)
My group of student leaders I helped lead this year - these guys are awesome and are so excited to serve our campus!

Don't ask.  I need to lose a few lbs okay? :)  Jk but we like to have fun.

Our last UTD FOCUS leader mtg of the year! We reflected on the year and shared what went well, what were the challenges, and how we can improve next year.

I feel so overwhelmed and grateful to have you on my support team; to be a campus missionary is something that only by the grace of God I am able to do.  This year has been such a blessing to serve alongside God's finest and impact The University of Texas at Dallas.  Please pray for the upcoming freshmen, international, and transfer students that will be walking onto the campus for the first time this summer & fall.  Pray that we would be the first students that they meet and that lifelong disciple-making friendships would be formed.

I will be contacting you all soon about considering continuing your support for the 2014-15 academic school year :) God has got big plans I know it!

Thank you all again and God bless!


Monday, April 7, 2014

So Much Happening! (Wish You All Could Be Here Seeing It All)

Greetings my friends!

I hope your spring has been off to a great start and that you have been enjoying this great weather that the Lord has blessed us with! :) It's been raining here the last few days (for my non-TX supporters) and we have definitely been thankful for it.

First off, so much has been happening (see the title) that it is going to be difficult to fit it all into one blog entry.  We had a group of students come down from Washington state for one week to do evangelism, we had a great event called "Banquet On The Bayou," to help raise funds for our students attending SICM (our campus ministry training trip), and our staff is prepping for a great summer of fundraising :)

Needless to say, we've been busy!  But it has all be for the kingdom and our students we serve.  I attached some pictures below to show the different things we have going on.

During SSI evangelism week we had displays set up to help us have spiritual conversations with students on campus!

This was one of our displays set up at UT Dallas but we also had evangelism displays set up at Collin College, U. of North Texas and Texas Women's University (see the other staff members' blogs for more pictures!)

One of our interns, Autumn, giving announcements during our Friday Night FOCUS service.  It was a great night!

We took a SSI Washingston student & FOCU staff selfie :) Just thought you'd all enjoy it.  (bottom right is where I am)

One of our students at UTD, Nikki, was baptized by Rachel Beckham, a student leader (and future 2014-15 FOCUS intern!).

Thank you all again for being a part of what God is doing on his college campuses.  Your support has opened up the doors to many conversations, experieneces, and relationships through campus ministry in my life.  I wish you all could be here to see everything your support is going towards but I hope that this blog is a resources to encourage you and remind you that gifts to the kingdom are never wasted!

Please pray for us as a staff as we move into the summer and continue meeting with our students and developing relationships with future donors!

Your fellow campus missionary,


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Trusting Enough To Follow

Good Afternoon My Friends!

Before our students head into spring break the staff is hard at work planning some exciting events to prepare for summer & the fall semester!  We are sending over 70 staff & students this year to SICM (Student Institute Of Campus Ministry), our annual trip to Western Washington University where our students are trained in campus ministry (more specifically; Campus Christian Fellowship, A ministry that has been serving Western Washington University for over 30 years!) and evangelism.  Please be in prayer about this trip!

At our last Friday Night FOCUS our students had a great time during praise! It was a special night kicking off spring break!

This semester has been flying by quick and some big plans are in the making!  I have been thinking and praying about what my plans will be after this year and I have decided (through a lot of prayer and counsel) to remain on FOCUS staff for another three years! I am so excited and privileged to be a part of such an excellent staff that cares so much for its students and campuses.  I'd like to ask that you would all be praying about continuing your support in addition to praying for our staff as we move into the summer and begin fundraising again for the upcoming year!

Recording a video to send to families in Washington asking for them to consider hosting students this year at SICM!

Thank you all so much for your support over the last couple years - it means so much to me to know that God has partnered us together on this fabulous journey.  Please pray for us as we discern what God wants us to change & maintain this coming summer and fall as we serve our students.

I hope you all have a great spring break!

Your Campus Missionary,


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Winter Camp Fun & More!

Hey friends!

These last few months have flown by so fast!  I am continually amazed at how much God chooses to bless those who put their trust in him.  Winter camp, staff retreat, and the beginning of the school year have all been tools God has used to show me that he is on control and just wants me to be patient.

Winter camp was such a blast! (See photos below) Being on staff this year at winter camp has shown me just how much work goes into pulling off such an event.  I got to work personally with the worship pastors from the other campuses as we coordinated and planned the different prasie & worship times at camp.  It really encouraged me to know that God is working in the leadership at all five of our college campuses!

Panaroma of the winter camp group (from the back).

Our students paying attention during one of Brady's talks.

I got to help pastor the community during one of our worship times and it was such a joy.  Inviting the spirit to join us before and during we praise makes all the difference :)

Brady Bobbink, a campus pastor from Washington state, came down and spoke to us on how the holy spirit brings freedom.  Our community responded positively to his message and brought that same energy and dependence on the spirit back to our communities!

Thank you all so much for being a part of God's vision here on his college campuses - I couldn't be a part of any of this without your support and prayer.  It blows my mind that we already half-way done with the school year and God has done so much already!  Thinking about what he can (and will) do for the spring semester excites me and challenges me to be faithful and alert, ready for what he has planned.

Please keep us in your prayers as we select our student leadership for the fall 2014 semester.  Pray that we would be discerning and faithful with what God has given us and pray for the hearts of all the students who will be stepping on his college campuses this fall who need Jesus.

Love you all and thank you for deciding to be a part of what God is doing here at UTD,