Sunday, January 4, 2015

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year :)

I can't believe it's 2015 now! I remember on December 31st, 1999 I had just moved to the Untied States from Toronto, Ontario and I celebrated New Years with my older brother while my parents went to a family party. I remember praying, "God, wherever you lead me - I will follow." As a 10 year old at the time I was not sure the implications for what I prayed but looking at it 15 years later I am blown away at God's faithfulness and hand in my life as he has continued to lead me.

The month of December was so eventful (it was also very EVENT-FULL!). I was blown away at how quickly the semester had flown by & also at how great of a job all of our student leaders have done this year (see pictures below). My peer team is getting ready to prepare themselves for another great semester of ministry and serving college students - please pray for them and the work they are doing. They have been so consistent and faithful in their pursuit of discipleship.

I had the opportunity in mid-December to serve in a mission trip headed for Hollygrove, New Orleans. This was a city that flooded terribly in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. I posted pictures below for you all to see. It was such a challenging week because I spend a lot of my time meeting and ministering to college students who are from a mostly upper-middle class background and have some academic idea of who Jesus is. When we got to Holly Grove we were spending time throughout the week with kids aged 4 years to 14 years old and their only experience with Jesus was this little after-school ministry called "Jesus Project Ministry".

God still moved and showed us a lot about himself in Holly Grove - he showed us that his gospel is extremely adaptable and always moves to the darkest of places, regardless if his people follow or not. We got to put on a Christmas party for all the kids in the neighborhood, hand out gifts, play basketball with the older kids, share about Jesus, and build lasting relationships (I definitely plan on going next year)! Enjoy the pictures below!

My peer team that I meet up with weekly. Top row: Charles, Morgan, JD, Austin, and Stephen. Bottom row: Marcus, Me, Ryan, and Zack. These guys are paving the way for countless students to know and experience the grace of God.

Panorama shot of our UTD 2015 Christmas party. Our theme was "Christmas Morning", so a lot of our students came dressed in their pj's. We had breakfast casseroles and sang christmas morning-ish songs with each other :)

Debra, one of the two leaders of Jesus Project Ministries. God called her down to New Orleans after Katrina hit and she hasn't left since. She is a strong, strong, strong woman of God and she knows her stuff. I used to work in after-school car when I was in college but I've got nothing compared to what she has done in New Orleans - I was so blessed to have met her.

Our group standing alongside with members of the neighborhood praying at the end of the day. 

Our team-lead Matt helping put up decorations with one of the kids from the neighborhood. 

I got to become friends with lots of the kids throughout the week. I was blown away at how 'mature' these young people were. Seven, eight, and nine year olds were thinking and talking at a very high level; they were able to talk about challenging things, joke around, and be themselves around us immediately. It was such a joy to serve them throughout the week.

Our end-of-the-week Christmas party! The kids put on a hip-hop dance routine that the people loved!

In the end, this is the group we went with! Our last photo before we headed out to Dallas!

It's a sad thing to realize that 2014 is over (these years fly by faster and faster, huh) but we can look forward with our eyes and hearts because we know that we serve a faithful God who is always with us scanning the horizon beckoning us home. I wish you were all here alongside me on campus with the students but I know that through your partnership we are one together in mission and we are co-laborers with Christ. This all wouldn't be possible without you!

Your campus missionary,