Sunday, December 11, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! (Sirak's November Update!)

My friends! My team!

Wow. Isn't is hard to believe that its December?! The year is coming to a close and we have much to celebrate and be remembering as the students go on break and get ready for the spring. Thank you so much for your consistent support and partnership over the years. It's becuase of donors like you that I get to live out this call to be a missionary on God's college campuses.

For our November student testimony, we have Sierrah Martinez! Read below to be encouraged!

As we enter this Christmas season I've been reflecting on what it means to be a disciple during the holidays. To me, it means being a servant. There is no time off when following Jesus. All opportunities are taken advantage of to serve, help, and give. It's what we do. I always love hearing the stories of the parents who are thrilled to see the change in their children's' lives when they come back home for the holidays. Many of these students have not seen their parents since August when they were dropped off on campus and it's always such a testament to God's faithfulness when the parents say things like, "Since when do you take out the trash?", "Oh wow, I didn't realize that you do the dishes now?!", etc.

November was full of exciting stories and things to rejoice about and I hope you enjoy the below pictures and are encouraged at what your partnership and support is going towards!

Our Richland FOCUS Ministry! I'm so thankful that I get to serve alongside these students! As you may notice, I haven't quite perfected where to look when I take selfies (I'm always looking off to the left...)

We did a 'politics-themed' outreach event at Richland college and it was such a huge success! I loved getting to spend time with our students and watch them reach out to the other students on campus at Richland :)

A picture of our outreach event at Richland college. There are many students who walk through the cafeteria who are not involved in any student organizations. It is a good place to set up our outreach displays so we can engage our fellow students in quality conversation while informing them about our FOCUS organization!

Our outreach display was called "Lemonade Hour" and it was basically an opportunity for students to drink lemonade and engage one another in spiritual discussions and ideas! The students loved the lemonade :) 
Our students engaging one another during our "Lemonade Hour" outreach week!

Joseph, Myself, and Yohan. These two students have been consistent members of our ministry. 

A panoramic shot of our Friday Night Fellowship!

Our UTD FOCUS worship band!

From left to right: Karlo, me, kale, Ryan and Stephen! These are some of my favorite dudes and it's been so great to see the Lord work in all of their lives.

At our last Friday Night Fellowship gathering we had an event called "Seniors and Smores". As we prepare to graduate a group of seniors we wanted to make sure that they are thinking and praying about what God wants for them in this next season of life. Many of them will begin working full-time jobs and transitioning into new communities of faith. It's important that they think pastorally about what is next for them and that they are prepared for whatever God has planned! :)

Tyronne (left) is one of the administrators at Richland College. He has been such a source of encouragement and strength for me as a campus minister. He is a strong man in the Lord and lives as a light to the campus. So thankful to get to cross path's with this man!

I meet up weekly with Jeremy (right) and Josh (left). They are a pair of student leaders blessing our UTD FOCUS ministry every week. Please pray for them as they spend time with their fellow students at UT Dallas and share the love of Jesus with them.

Our annual FOCUS-fundraiser is underway and you can donate now at: Please invest in the next 20-years of college ministry on God's college campuses. Also, follow us on facebook, search "anyfocusministries", for further updates, videos, alerts, or posts we will have! I will be contacting you soon to touch base and share what God has been doing in our lives!

Thank you so much for your partnership and support! Please be praying for us as we plan and prepare for Winter Camp 2017! Students from all 9 of our FOCUS campuses will be coming to Sky Ranch over MLK weekend to worship and fellowship with one another and we know that lives are going to be changed forever that weekend!

I hope to hear from you soon! Please don't hesitate at all to contact me with any questions, concerns, ideas, etc. that you may have!

Your brother & campus missionary,

Sirak Asfaw

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Sirak's October Update!!

My friends! My team!

I can't believe that it's already November! October was filled with stories of joy, delight, and great pleasure. I'm consistently blown away at the faithfulness and love that God has shown to me and our students in this season of life. Friendships are being built and lives are continued to be changed through the message of Jesus! Two students currently stick out in my mind: Jackson & David. I am currently spending weekly time with the two of them and absolutely love my time with them. Please pray that God would use me as his tool to shape and develop these two young men!

Over the past two weeks, Ephesians 4:20-24 has been on my mind and heart. It talks about our receiving and response to the message of Christ: " be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Even in the times when I think that I have 'arrived' and 'feel accomplished' God is reminding me yet again: I'm not done with you, Sirak. I think campus ministry consists of reminding the students around that God isn't finished with them yet. We are continuing to be made new in the attitude of our minds :)

Enjoy the pictures below and remember that God isn't finished yet! I'm consistently blown away at what God can do with a faithful group of people who decide to commit to his vision for community & mission. Please pray that we would be that type of community on God's college campuses!

Our FOCUS 20-year celebration was such an encouraging event! We got to celebrate what God has done and are looking forward to the next 20 years!

Our TWU Dallas ministry (left: Amber, right: Kristin) doing outreach on campus!

We had Friday Night Fellowship at Northeast Church on Friday and then had a Halloween party afterwards :) Our students had so much fun and enjoyed their time together!

Our local church had their annual fall fun fest and it was a great way for the college students to get involved with the event!

We had a guest speaker come to our UTD Friday Night Fellowship, Daniel Rangel, come and speak on sexuality and cultural influence of sex. He spoke on what our response, as Christians, should be to all of the worlds messages on sex and pleasure.

Our Richland FOCUS ministry had a board game day in the cafeteria! It was a good time to hang out and spend the day with each other.

A picture of our Richland FOCUS Wednesday fellowship time!

Our UTD/Richland/TWU Dallas staff (minus Brandon & Mandy) dressed up in our Halloween costumes :) I enjoyed getting spend time with all of them.

Our Richland FOCUS group took a selfie together after one of our Wednesday meetings! It's been such a joy to work together with this group of students :)

Thank you so much for your support and partnership! I am filled with gratitude and thankfulness to my Lord for providing me with you all: friends and family who believe in the mission. You all are the ones to be honored for not just believing in the mission, but participating in it as well. I thank you for that! Please don't hesitate to let me know if there's anything in your life that I can be praying for you about!

Your campus missionary & brother,


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sirak's September 2016 Update!!

My friends!

I hope all is well with you :) So much has gone on this past month that I am honored to update you about! First off, God is good. Second off, God is faithful. It's amazing how such a simple idea can be so easy to forget. Throughout this month I have been challenged and shaped through this truth.

As I sit here typing this blog I am reminded about this truth: when you love people deeply from the heart you must also be willing to be hurt deeply from the hurt. When a student decides to reject your invitation into spiritual friendship it hurts. When a student decides to follow a life of sin and immaturity instead of following the call of Christ it is frustrating. Despite these realities of campus ministry, God calls us to be faithful.

"He also said, 'This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain - first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mark 4:26-29.

This story has challenged me this month to be faithful. Being faithful can be easy when things are easy and comfortable, however, when things don't make sense or seem to be bearing fruit, being faithful can be a deep struggle. In this story of the farmer sowing seed, I am struck at his faithfulness and confidence in the process of sowing seed. "...the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how...". Father, I pray that you would make us all faithful like this farmer.

I hope to see all of you at our 20-year celebration this Saturday, Oct. 8th @ 4:00pm. (@ Richardson East Church of Christ). I cannot express how excited I am for this event! (see photo below) I'd be honored to see you all and celebrate what God has done over the last 20 years together!

Thank you so much for your partnership and support :) Enjoy the (many) photos below and I pray that you're encouraged at what God is doing on his college campuses!

We set up a table at the student org-fair! We got to meet so many students at Richland during welcome week. 
We had a lunch hangout/board game day and our students really have been doing a great job meeting new students and serving one another. I am amazed at how important community is on a college campus. For many of these students, these are the first Christian friends they've ever had!

We did our first annual FOCUS Worship Conference! It was a joy to lead and share some of the insights and ideas that have challenged and shaped me over the years as a worship leader. 

Our UTD/Richland/TWU Dallas Fall Camp! We spent a good amount of the day Saturday getting to know one another and playing large group games.

Another shot of the worship conference!

Carter, (right, blue shirt), the director of the Office of Student Life, is going to be transferring to Tarrant County and he has been an instrumental part in helping us establish ourselves as an organization on campus. Before he left, he shared his heart for Richland college and his vision - he will be missed!

Our 2016 Richland men's core!

Our Wednesday large group meetings have been such an encouragement mid-week. We have been talking about what it means to live a life following the spirit.

Shot of our worship band at fall camp 2016.

We've been hard at work recording video footage for our 20-year celebration. We've got a lot of cool things planned this Saturday! 

Thank you so much for your partnership and support! This wouldn't be possible without partners like you who believe fully in the mission to make disciples on God's college campuses. I hope to see you all this Saturday at our 20-year celebration but if not please don't hesitate to contact me if you need prayer for anything in your life or just want to catch up :)

FOCUS Student Testimony for October:

Your campus missionary,


Thursday, September 8, 2016

We're Just Getting Started!

My Friends! My Team!

It's about this time each year that I'm reminded how important it is to work hard all through these first few weeks of school. Your partnership and support have paved the way for so many new friendships to be built on God's campuses. God has been showing me a very specific message this year: consistency. I sometimes put so much worry and stress about all of the things that I need to plan, accomplish, or handle when often God just needs his faithful to show up and he'll do the rest. Even in the times when I feel most confident in my own abilities and accomplishments, God reminds me that it's only by his mercy and grace that I'm here getting to serve him on his campuses.

Yesterday we had our first Richland FOCUS org fair table set up (see pictures below) and it was a huge success! We did 'bad tattoos' for students walking by and they loved it! We got to meet some of the other Christian ministries on campus and network with them. Please be praying for all of the students that we met yesterday on campus. Each year it feels like I learn something new about myself and how to reach the students - I hope that the lessons learned last year will pave the way for new disciples to be made by the power of the Spirit!

I hope you enjoy the photos below of these first few weeks of school. I am blown away at how faithful God is when we are consistent. Simply show up and be prepared for what he has planned. Thank you for your support and partnership over the years! Let's have a great year :)

Our first Friday Night Fellowship @ UT Dallas!

Our first Richland College organization fair yesterday! We met so many students here. Please pray that spiritual friendships would be built!

We did "bad tattoos" as an outreach event and it worked so well! I was amazed at how many students wanted us to draw pictures on their hands, necks and arms. It was a blast!

Another picture from the organization fair at Richland!

Picture from last week at our Friday Night UTD gathering!

We're making a video for our 20-year celebration coming up in October and our tagline is "What are you celebrating" stay tuned for upcoming videos posted on our social media accounts!
(from left to right), Me (Sirak), John Cheng, Charlie Holman, and Byron Barlowe all got to be a part of our annual campus minister lunch. Each year before the school year begins, all of the campus ministers at UT Dallas go and grab lunch with one another to pray and discuss what we've got planned for the year!

Our 2016-17 UTD/Richland staff!

Our September student testimony:

Thank you all so much for your partnership and friendship. I'm blown away I get to serve God's campuses knowing that you're right beside me believing in and encouraging me to be consistent and show up. Love you and please don't hesitate to let me know if there's anything I can be praying for you about!

Your brother & campus missionary,


Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Beginning Is Near!

My friends,

In just a few weeks there will be thousands of students walking onto our DFW college campuses. Some of these students will be looking to make a difference, some may be focused 100% on their grades and nothing else, some will be directionless and others will be desperate for friendship and a fresh start to their lives. There will be students who are lonely and longing for purpose. Pray that we would be the first people that all of these students meet.

This is especially meaningful to me because when I first walked onto campus for my freshman year in 2006 I was lonely and desperate for anyone to be my friend. In those first few months, I was showered with God's goodness and faithfulness. Men like Brad, Kale and Weston were those first men in my college experience to walk alongside me and show me the heart of Christ. I was forever changed.

Our staff spent last weekend together in Austin for our staff retreat and read, "In The Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen. The book was a reflection on Christian leadership and it was very timely and great for our staff to read in this season of ministry. Our society measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual and how 'impressive' and 'influential' they are. In this text, Henri Nouwen offers a counter definition that is driven by communal and mutual experience. For Nouwen, leadership cannot function outside of the community. Pastors are to know their congregation and be known by their congregation deeply. This is especially true as our community continues to grow we want to be a place where every student can know their pastor intimately and deeply. He returns to the idea that we are a 'people' called, not just a 'person' called. When the world sees individualism and leadership through power as the keys to successful leadership, Nouwen argues that Christian leadership in the 20th century will need to be driven by service and involvement through and by the people.

Thank you for your support and partnership. As we enter into the school year, I am in shock as this will be my fifth year of this campus missionary journey. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for praying. Thank you for being a partner. I am unsure what I ever did to deserve such a wonderful group of friends and family to walk alongside me in this but I am grateful to God every day for you. Thank you.
(From left to right) Me, Ryan, Laurence, and Garrett. Ryan (2016-17 Collin College Apprentice) just graduated from the University of North Texas and we're excited to be on staff with him this year! Laurence (UTD) will be starting his fourth year on staff at UTD. And one of my longest friends on staff, Garrett has been the Collin College Campus Pastor these last six years.

This summer, me and some of my Richland FOCUS students got together for a hangout hosted by two friends of mine who are on staff with CRU.

Nick (left) and JD (middle) were both students in our FOCUS ministry. Nick has worked in California the last couple of years so JD and I decided to visit him and hang out for a weekend. It was a blast to catch up!

Our DFW family of churches had an all-church service celebrating our youth camp. I took a photo to show the cross-generational power of ministry and fellowship.

A panoramic photo of our staff this year! I'm so pumped to get to serve alongside these other campus ministers this year!

So this is a throwback photo from my Junior year at UTD (2010-11). Campus ministry is powerful and happens in a very formative and influential time in the lives of college students. I still remain good friends with all of the people in this photo! I can't wait to see all of the many friendships God brings together this year!

I couldn't do this without supporters and partners like you who believe in the mission and help make it happen through your partnership. Please be praying that we'll be well prepared and equipped to make sure every student is invited to core, met up with, and introduced to Jesus! Let's have an awesome year!

Your campus pastor,