Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Steadfast


Good afternoon, team! I wanted to let you all in on our ministry's game plan. Below the next picture is a letter from our FOCUS director, Brandon Worsham. I'm thankful for the technology we have that allows us to continue campus ministry even though we don't expect to be on campus again for a while. I want to say thank you to all of you for your support even through this time. If any of you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to reach out. I know some people are losing income in this time, so if you are concerned about finances and need to make adjustments, please let me know - I completely understand!
I can't help but think of our community's theme for the year - Steadfast. While I don't think this situation is ideal or to be glorified in any way, what a great opportunity to lean in to our steadfast God and offer him to others who are struggling to find peace amidst the chaos.

Lord let us not forget your steadfastness.

Love you all.
Jacy Garcia


I found this on pin4web by Sybille Strauss and think it's beautiful

To the entire FOCUS Community:

I want to update you on how FOCUS is responding to COVID-19, especially in light of so many of our campuses extending spring break and moving to online instruction only afterward. As a community, we need to be praying diligently for our world during this concerning time. We don’t need to panic, because we know our hope is secure in Christ, but we do need to take action in order to love our neighbors well. Those actions may be personally inconvenient, uncomfortable, and/or expensive. The situation is evolving daily, and spring break has disrupted our normal schedules and access to one another, so we will hopefully have more definite plans in the coming 2 weeks, but here are the actions we are currently taking/considering:
  • The 3 SSI trips from Washington State that were scheduled to arrive on March 22 are cancelled.
  • Pizza Theology will not happen in its normal format on March 29, but we are considering our options for livestreaming a special teaching time, so stay tuned!
  • We have cancelled our weekly large group fellowships (TNF, TNT, FNF) on our various campuses. We will be following the various policies on each campus to determine how long that will be in effect. We are also considering livestreaming weekly services to replace these. 
  • One-on-ones and FOJ studies will continue as planned, moving to phone or video calls depending on the health and comfort levels of the students and pastors involved.
  • For cores and other small groups, we are working with student life offices to determine what policies may affect those. We will not stop small groups of adults from gathering together, but we are also working on developing a video conferencing option. We will certainly encourage all sick or exposed students to stay away from others.
  • Leader development meetings on Monday nights will move to small groups led by a pastor, whether in-person or virtual.
  • We are waiting to make a final determination on SICM plans. We haven’t spent any money yet and it’s not urgent for a few more weeks. We will continue to monitor the situation for now.
Thanks for being gracious and flexible. We as a team of pastors are committed to providing pastoral care to the students in our community and beyond.
For the kingdom,
Brandon Worsham

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

February Update

It feels like it was just a few days ago I sent you my last update - time really is flying! February was pretty short, but still busy between New Testament class, a few big events, and day to day ministry. I'm excited to be heading into a five day spring break which I'm hoping with be a strong springboard into the final quarter of the year. Alex and I are going to spend a couple days in South Texas just to get away for a bit. Along with exploring, I'm looking forward to slowing down and having some time to reflect and prepare for what's next. Our entire staff team is praying about what our students need in the coming months, so I intend to spend some time in prayer about that. Alex has a promising interview next week and I invite you all to join me in praying for him. This job process has been slow-going and frustrating at times, but he's been patient and diligent.

Once a year we have a Family Night on our regular Thursday Night Fellowship night so students can invite their friends and family to come see what we're all about and why we do what we do. Of course anyone is welcome to visit any time! But students and parents were both able to share about what this ministry has mean to them specifically. It was really sweet to meet parents and get to know the people behind the people I meet with regularly. If you're ever in the area (or live near by) we would love to have you join us on a Thursday night!

At the end of the month, we had a big fundraiser called Spring Showcase for students we'll be sending to Washington in May and June for SICM (Student Institute of Campus Ministry) where we send potential leaders for training. The event was a benefit concert and art show and let me tell you, we have incredible talent all throughout our ministry. It was amazing to see so many people come together from all of our campuses, churches, and even connections outside of those, to raise money for students who might not even understand the vision yet. Thank you to those of you who could come, who donated, and simply for praying for the event! It was earlier than we expected this year, so we thought the turnout might not be as large as it usually is, but I think we had the highest attendance we've ever had!

I wanted to give you all an update on our Preston Ridge Campus since we had been doing once a month things separately from the rest of the Collin campuses. We've come to the conclusion that for now, we don't have the resources or staff availability to become an independent campus yet. We were prepared for this outcome and we're happy to still be part of the larger ministry. This semester we're trying to heat up outreach events and being present on campus to give students something to be part of throughout the slow days between classes.

Here are some pictures from Showcase since I didn't take any on my own this month.

One of our pastors at Richland, Sirak, and a UTD student, Josiah, did an amazing rendition of Hotel California.
You can barely see my friend Kylie on the left here, but she and I are doing the apprenticeship together. Her sister Jordy, on the right, is a student at Collin this year. They grew up in our family of churches and it has been so sweet to get to know both of them this year! They also have beautiful voices and love singing together - go sisters!


A framed photograph by our friend and coworker from the art show. I’m eager to find the right spot for it at home.

A handmade mug from a student in Denton we also got from the art show. I’m telling you, the talent is impressive.
As always, thank you for your support and joining me in this apprenticeship! I love you all and hope you can find your own restful break in the long season if you don't get a spring break.

Prayer Requests

  • Alex's job search and coming interview
  • Discernment for what our students need
  • We have students coming here from Washington after Spring Break to do a mission trip at Collin College. It'll be an event and outreach filled week for both our team and their's. Pray for preparations for that and then a fruitful week coming up.
With love,
Jacy Garcia

Monday, February 17, 2020

New Year, New Events, Same God

I took a mild hike with some of the FOCUS staff team on our retreat 
To kick off the year, our entire DFW FOCUS  staff team spent a few days together at a cabin in south Texas to connect with God and each other. Our time together was restful and really helped me ease into this next semester. One of our ministry partners from Washington, Brady Bobbink, and his wife Shirley came to lead Q&A sessions about all sorts of ministry topics. They lead a campus ministry in Washington that has taught FOCUS and trained many of our leaders over the last 20 years. Our partnership is very special and I’m so thankful for them being willing to come spend a few days with us to help develop our team.

Our staff retreat let me catch up with old friends from Denton (Reagann on the left) and new friends from other campuses (Tana on the right)
Here's an attempt to capture one of our Q&A sessions with Bobby

After our hike, someone in our car led us to a scenic overlook to catch this beautiful sunset before dinner

FOCUS was planted out of a church called Northeast Church in Garland, TX, which has since grown into a family of five churches across the metroplex. The Sunday following our retreat, all of the churches came together for a large service to hear from Brady. It was so cool to see all of the different churches along with students from various campuses come together.

This picture can't capture everyone in the auditorium, but that's Brady up there
Right before the school semester started, we loaded up some buses and headed to Winter Camp with about 140 Collin students. Students from all of our campuses attended so about 600 people were there for the weekend. Winter Camp gives people a chance to get to know students from other campuses and learn about God together. Our theme this year was Psalms to help students relate to God with different emotions. Four girls from our core went and it was really sweet to see them build relationships with one another and others.

This is our large group photo from camp - 600 people in one frame!
We have an alum with excellent film and photography skills who came to capture moments like this one 
This was my view from my cabin on the last morning of camp
Once we came back we hit the ground running with one on ones, core, Thursday Night Fellowship, classes, etc. It was a running start but we’re settling into it now.

My core at winter camp
L to R back: Sophie, Grace, Caricia, me, Kortny
L to R front: Alexis, Angelina
On February 29th we have our annual Spring Showcase! Spring Showcase is a benefit concert and art show to raise money for students FOCUS invites to SICM - the Student Institute of Campus Ministry - in Bellingham, WA. The conference is held by the ministry Brady and Shirley are part of. SICM is a weeklong conference right after school ends to train and equip students to be ministry leaders. I went to SICM after my freshman year and not only learned a TON of valuable lessons, but I made friends, and was able to spend time in the beautiful state of Washington.
If you’d like to buy tickets you can go to anyfocus.org/showcase or contact me!


Prayer Requests
  • Pray for our entire upcoming semester, the students we meet who both do and don't join the ministry that we would give them the love of Jesus in our interactions.
  • Pray for showcase - all of the behind the scenes work to run smoothly. This is earlier than we typically have it so some adjustments had to be made. Pray for the turnout to be helpful and beneficial for students hoping to travel.
  • Pray for our students who are learning what it means to live in the light.
  • Pray for me and my fellow apprentices as we adjust to a new work load. We've started a few new classes, including our New Testament class.
As always, thank you for your support and being on my team! Thank you for your patience with this late update. Love you all! Let me know how I can be praying for you.
With love,
Jacy Garcia

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Horizon


Happy New Year!! The semester came to a smooth close and now we're gearing up for the spring. We started off the new year with a staff retreat where I caught this picture of the sunset. This horizon perfectly captures the peace I feel leaving last year and walking into 2020. I'm hopeful and excited as I look ahead, but December had great moments to end 2019.


When I last sent out my blog, we were kicking off our Keep FOCUS Growing campaign on Giving Tuesday. Our goal was $36,000 to match that same pledged amount. With students, our goal was $5,000 to match. We ended up raising more than $10,000 over our original goal! Thank you for your prayers and contributions. As I learn about all of the expenses needed to keep a non-profit ministry going, I'm consistently blown away by the generosity of our supporters. So thank you thank you THANK YOU!


Before finals week, we invited students on each campus to write Christmas cards to children in the hospital. Here are some thoughtful students at Preston Ridge giving time and creativity to cards, hoping to put a smile on a child's face.


Our Collin College Christmas party was a fort competition! Every core (small group) had to come up with their own fort idea and make it in the first hour of the party. Then we sang Christmas carols and played games. My core came up with the idea of "The Lit Tent" and brought tons of different kinds of lights to make it glow. We had fun brainstorming and laughing together in our efforts. There were so many great ideas - Charlie Brown, an igloo, Frozen, the list goes on.

Core at our Christmas party
Back L to R: Alexis, Kortny, me, Sophie, Caricia
Front L to R: Angelina, Grace
As a project, each of the apprentices wrote a testimonial sermon titled "My Gospel" and preached it to the entire staff team. I've been working alongside these 11 other men and women all semester, so it was encouraging and powerful to hear their individual stories. God has changed each of them radically and I have something to learn from every one of them. I'm so proud of them! Our entire staff team took two full days to hear us and give us feedback. Over and over again I see grace through our team. They really look for the best in us and draw that out as well as give us gentle, constructive feedback for future sermons.

ALL of the apprentices! Back L to R: Mark, Hannah, Ashley, Hanna, Cort
Front L to R: Maria, Adriana, Kylie, Austin, Josh, Erin, Me
Reflecting on my life and putting into a sermon was challenging. It's emotional, it's vulnerable, you need to make points out of it, etc. But it was healing and sweet to see how God has worked in my life. 10 years ago I was an anxious, naive 13 year old. I'm still pretty anxious and naive sometimes. But God has helped me in my anxiety. I have a community that asks me how I'm doing and points me towards Jesus when anxiety is consuming me. I was definitely not a perfect teenager by any means, and I'm still not anywhere close to a perfect human, but as I've gotten to know God more, I've gotten to see his grace more.

Just another picture with the apprentices because this is more like us than the first one
And finally, the year closed with Christmas break. We had two weeks off (so thankful for a job with a school calendar!) which was great and allowed Alex and I to spend time with both of our families. I love experiencing and learning about Mexican traditions with Alex's family. We went to a Posada at his parents' house for a type of reenactment of Mary and Joseph's pilgrimage and then ate tamales! Then we spent time in Kansas City for a week with my family. The entire break was restful and great for connecting with our families.

Alex's family
My family minus my parents
Like I mentioned before, we started off the year with a staff retreat to connect and prepare as we ease back into the semester. There are so many things I want to share from that so I'll save it for my update reflecting on January! But I will say it has me fired up and ready for our students to be back. Until we see them at Winter Camp, we're starting our new classes and doing some prep work for the semester.

Prayer Requests:

  • For our staff to have discernment from the Lord as we make plans for this semester
  • For our students whose break is coming to a close - rest, purposeful time with people
  • Winter Camp is January 17-20: please pray for all of our speakers, safe travels, students to see God's love
Thank you for your prayers and encouragements!

Love you all,
Jacy Garcia

Monday, December 2, 2019

Learning and Loving

Happy holiday season! Next time you hear from me, it'll be 2020! I'll save my then vs. now reflections for my next blog. So definitely check back for some awkward photos and maybe a story or two....
Pizza Theology!
Every semester we have an event called Pizza Theology. It's two hours of lecture, one hour of pizza and socializing, then two more hours of lecture. This might sound daunting, but our speaker was captivating for the entire 4 hours. Mary Poplin came from California to speak about her book Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Four Global Worldviews. We had between 400-500 students come from all of our campuses - I love seeing students eager to learn and love God with their minds!

Most of the girls from my core (small group) at Pizza Theology!
This month we wrapped up our Old Testament class with a Skype call to Iain Proven from Regent College. We listened to an entire semester's worth of lectures from him and he graciously gave us a full hour to have Q&A with him. We are incredibly fortunate to have a partnership with someone who has devoted so much thought and time to studying and teaching theology at the level he has. It was a challenging class and I still have a lot to learn, but I'm amazed at the masterpiece it is and thankful for the opportunity to spend so much time on the material.

Iain Proven answering so many questions
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going wedding dress shopping with one of my closest friends, Erin, along with some of our other friends. She and I met my sophomore year of college, led a small group together, became roommates, and now we're both doing the FOCUS apprenticeship. I'm so proud of the woman she is and honored to be her friend as well as friends with all of the girls pictured. We had a sweet time helping Erin and getting to know her family.

Back L to R: Ashley (another apprentice), Erin, me
Middle L to R: Kassi and Emily
Front: Angel
For Thanksgiving, Alex and I were able to spend a few days in Kansas with my family. It was a great time to rest and be together before we wrap up the semester. I can't express how grateful I am for all of my family. The only picture I have from the break is of my mom with her 4 sisters. They have been some of my biggest life supporters since before I was ever born and I'm so, so blessed to have them to teach me about family. And seriously - they know how to cook. My mom was probably in the kitchen preparing for over half of the break just because she loves to serve others. On a college campus, I meet and work with a lot of people who don't have family to go home to like this for any holidays. It's heartbreaking to me and, honestly, it's one of the reasons I want to do campus ministry. These women along with my dad, my sisters, and the rest of my family, have given me something I want to give to the great students I've gotten to know. So again, thank you for making this possible.

L to R: Aunt Joni, Mom, Aunt Judy, Aunt Joetta, Aunt Jerry
Lastly, today is Giving Tuesday! Every year we have a Keep FOCUS Growing campaign to raise extra money for expenses. All of the campus missionaries (like me) raise support, but it takes a lot more than that for us to do ministry: outreach activities/materials, administrative support, planting new campuses, counseling for students, health/retirement benefits, etc. This is about being around for the long haul. Some of our generous donors have banded together and agreed to match up to $36,000 in total donations during this campaign. So if we receive $36,000 in total contributions, they will kick in a SECOND $36,000! Last week we challenged students at all of our weekly fellowship nights across the DFW to give $5000 that would be matched - they raised over $9000! I'm blown away by the generosity in our community. If you'd like to give, you can visit the fundraiser on my Facebook page, send a check to FOCUS with KFG in the memo line, or go to anyfocus.org/KFG
Please let me know if you have any questions!

Prayer Requests
  • Keep FOCUS Growing
  • Students heading into finals week
  • Smooth and hardworking end to the semester
  • Any and all students and families who are have hard holiday seasons
  • Travel for all over the holidays

Thank you for all of your support!

With love,
Jacy Garcia

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Motivation is in the Quest



Greetings, friends and family! 

Many thanks to my cofa (co-small group facilitator) and friend, Kortny, who just texted me "motivation is in the quest" and gave me a blog title. I think it's suitable for *some* of my blog content. I'll let you decide as you read!

I apologize for a delayed update. October is a packed month every year between midterms and events. On top of that, weather is constantly jumping from nice and breezy 70s to freezing, rainy windchills. Around here, we call this season the "October Blues." Cores (small groups), student leader meetings, and staff meetings have been filled with discussions surrounding perseverance and gratitude. We so often fixate on challenges or negative things happening in our lives that we're blind to anything good. To be honest with you, I've had my fair share of negativity this last month. Of course, it's good to acknowledge hardships or struggles, but when I find myself wallowing in them or not surrendering control to God, I lose sight of how he's working in and around me. I've been encouraged by students and coworkers who have been seeking joy in all circumstances. Please pray for me and our entire community to continue striving for this.


In October, we had our second Preston Ridge TNF - separate from the full Collin College TNF. We had about 50 people show up, which means our community is growing! Pedro talked about the parable of the great banquet from Luke 14 to help students see how they've been influenced by God's kingdom as well as call them to consider what excuses they make when God presents them with opportunities. Pedro and I are having a great time getting to know all of these students in a smaller environment. Please continue to pray for us as we attempt to discern needs at Preston Ridge and how we should move forward in the coming semester.

Left to right: Erin, me, Kylie, Kellie, Austin, Adriana, Mark


Left to right: Hannah, Ashley, Hanna, Maria, Kellie, Cort, Josh

Here are two pictures that present all of the 2019-2020 apprentices...maybe one day we'll have one with all of us together! A dear friend and advisor to FOCUS, Kellie, offered to provide all of the apprentices with a preaching lab. The goal was to write and give a sermon from an assigned Old Testament text. We split up into two different groups and traveled to her church to preach. Each person spoke for 20 minutes, then had about 30 minutes for feedback. The entire process was a growing experience. Most of us had very little, if any, experience. But Kellie was quick to remind us that this is not for us to look good or perform, but for God to deliver a message through us. I really enjoyed hearing and learning from my friends. It's great to see the Lord use such a variety of people to share his word. Please pray for all of the apprentices as we transition into new classes and continue to learn about God and ourselves.


FOCUS was originally planted by a church in Garland, Northeast Church, which has planted more churches and more FOCUSes across the DFW. So our DFW Metro family of churches has a leadership conference every October. Our theme this year was innovation and creativity, which are two important concepts we want to embrace as the culture around us is radically different from when each individual campus began as it's always changing. One of my favorite quotes from the day is "the best idea is still out there." It was really neat to hear from a variety of leaders and engage with people all across the DFW. Each church and FOCUS has its own qualities and quirks, but we all believe Jesus is Lord. The conference was a sweet representation of both the diversity and unity of God. Please pray for all of our churches and staff as we navigate the changing culture. Pray that we'd remain open-minded to creativity and innovation, yet rooted in the Lord.


No October ends without Halloween! On the 31st, we hosted a fall festival on the Spring Creek Campus with free lunch for students and tons of yard games. We had so much fun meeting new students and providing them with something fun on a cold day when they probably wanted free, fun stuff to do. If you look closely at the picture, you might find some interesting costumes! A member from our staff team dressed up as Joy from Inside Out. You can spot her on the ground with a blue wig doing some choreographed dance. She really is a joy to work with!

Thank you for your generosity and prayers! I really do love my job and want to make the most of what you've provided me with.

Along with the prayer requests throughout, I have just a couple more:
  • My husband, Alex, who is waiting to hear back about a job he's very interested in.
  • Safe travels for Thanksgiving this month!
  • On Giving Tuesday, December 3rd, we'll be kicking off our annual Keep FOCUS Growing  campaign! These funds are for outreach activities and materials, administrative support, planting new campuses, health and retirement benefits, etc. Generous donors have agreed to match up to $36,000 in total donations!

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


With love,

Jacy Garcia

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Harvesters


Collin Focus at Fall Camp!

Welcome to fall, friends! It's only just begun to cool down in Texas, but we still have days that reach into the 90's. The heat couldn't stop us from having a great Fall Camp this month!! Our theme this year was community. We wanted to take advantage of our time experiencing community to also share why it's so valuable. One of my favorite points from the weekend was that community is not about me or us being good - it's about God being good. We are all broken people serving each other - pastors, students, apprentices, corefas (student leaders), everybody.

Here are students playing a survivor game at fall camp! Cody and I planned games for the day and he has super creative ideas. It was fun to laugh with our students as they instructed blindfolded pairs to find puzzle pieces and put them together.

I've been to Fall Camp four times before, but only as a student. Being an apprentice this year opened my eyes to all of the behind-the-scenes work that went on in years past. Somebody always showed up a few hours early to get everything in order. Somebody cleaned the chapel after every activity or session. Somebody set up all of the worship activities for our worship nights. The list goes on! I'm thankful for this experience to see what others have done because they wanted me and other students to enjoy camp and meet other students. I appreciate the entire team I'm on for each of their individual contributions as every single one was necessary.
Here are the girls from my core who went to camp! Left to right: Daniela, Alex, Jada, Bessy, Alexis and Kortny. Kortny is my cofa (co-facilitator). Picture credit to Kortny!
A highlight of my weekend was when our core (small group) had some discussion time. Only a few short questions were given for us to talk about so it wasn't long before we were done with the topic. Instead of leaving the conversation for free time once we were technically finished, they all stayed and asked thoughtful questions about scripture and asked for prayer in tough areas of their lives. I was really encouraged by their intentionality with our time when they could've been outside playing games with other students.

Here are two Preston Ridge girls on a walk-and-talk at camp! A camp favorite activity to strike up conversation with new people. (Another picture from Kortny!)
Our student leaders have been working hard to follow through with students they've met so far and dive into friendships through one-on-one Bible studies. One of our favorite axioms is "one-on-one is how it's done." Jesus valued personal relationship in his ministry, so we try our best to model that. I recently started studying the Bible with a few different girls in my core and I'm blown away by how vulnerable each of them have been with me. My prayer is that they would see God's loyalty and compassion through our friendships and our core, that they would see he is a rock for them to stand on, a firmer foundation than any of the worldly things we're so often tempted to rely on. I long for them to see the Lord as the most reliable constant there is to offer.

Here is our core this last Tuesday! A typical core night for us consists of laughter, witty comments, scripture, discussion, a few tears, prayer, and some more laughs. These girls are super sweet to know and I love learning from them.
Our first Preston Ridge Thursday Night Fellowship!
Preston Ridge is a Collin College campus about 30 minutes away from the Spring Creek Campus. This creates a few obstacles for students who want to attend our Thursday Night Fellowship (TNF) times, but don't have the means to get there. Since the Preston Ridge FOCUS community is growing, we're trying out once a month Preston Ridge TNF's this semester! Pedro and I took the night to cast a vision to the students - a vision of bringing God's kingdom to the campus, a vision that strives for mission and allows community to be a result of that. We're excited to see what comes this next month when we discuss the Parable of the Great Banquet from Luke 14!

I keep mentioning my cofa, Kortny, for all of her pictures. So here she is! I love planning and facilitating core with her and can't wait to see how God continues to use her this year.
September has been a great month. I can't believe I'm two months into the apprenticeship...it feels like we just started, but it also feels like God has already done so much! In fact, he has. But there is always more to be done. Always! Thankfully, the Lord intended for us to rest. This is his work and we are simply laborers in his garden. I'm thankful for what I've gotten to be part of already and look forward to what's coming.

Matthew 9:37
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

 Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for Pedro and I as we lead the Preston Ridge campus. Ask for guidance and wisdom as well as willingness to slow down, turn back, move ahead, or whatever it may be.
  • Pray for all of our students and staff who are both leading and learning in one-on-one Bible studies - that they would seek to point others to the Lord rather than themselves or own preferences.
  • Pray for our students as they start to feel the weight of the semester to strive to be good students.
  • Pray for our entire staff team to discern the needs of our campuses.
I love what I get to take part in as an apprentice and it wouldn't be possible without your support. I think about how thankful I am, daily, because of you.

With love,






Here is a student testimony from a F.O.C.U.S. student at UTD!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Gratitude

This is Adriana, another apprentice at Collin College this year. Here she was having the time of her life at our staff retreat and I was wondering when I would ever be able to get off of the tube.
I can't believe it's already September. It feels like I was sitting in orientation for the apprenticeship just yesterday. School has officially started and the apprenticeship is in full swing. Adriana and I both moved from Denton to do the apprenticeship, so she's been a comforting, familiar friend. She's been our team hype woman over these last few weeks with reminders to follow through and work hard.

This is the majority of our corefa team in the final portion of our preparation day. We sang a few worship songs together and everyone shared a personal vision for the ministry this year.
We call our leaders "corefas" because they facilitate our small groups, also known as cores. All of our corefas commit to about 15 hours of ministry on top of classes and jobs. FOCUS wouldn't really work or exist without them, so we are incredibly thankful for their commitment.

On the final Saturday of summer, we had a preparation day for our leaders. They sacrificed the entire day to get to know one another, discuss our mission and vision for the year, and explore ways to welcome students to campus. We ended the night in hopeful expectation of what the Lord will do this next year. I pray that none of us would forget why we decided to do this in the first place and that we would let the Lord shape our upcoming year.

The girls at Collin are fun-loving and inclusive. I've loved getting to know them in my time here so far!
Here are a few messing around with a kid's meal toy after Thursday Night Fellowship.
From left to right: Adriana, Shannon, and Jessica. 

Collin College started classes on August 26th, so we spent the entire first week (Welcome Week) hosting events to meet and connect students. We had students and staff members at all three campuses throughout the week - Spring Creek, Central Park, and Preston Ridge. I'll be a corefa on the Preston Ridge campus in Frisco, so I spent time there every day. The community at Preston Ridge is growing and I'm eager to be part of it in this season.

We set up a giant canvas and paint to invite students to paint with us. It was so cool to see people interact and ask questions about their personal art. I think this canvas encompasses the diverse personalities at Preston Ridge and in FOCUS.

One of our events was "Bad Tattoos" where we had body crayons and temporary tattoos to apply for free. Our creative students took it to the next level by combining multiple tattoos like this rocket flying by a dinosaur that's walking on the moon!

New and returning Preston Ridge students at a Welcome Week event!

Welcome Week came with challenges and exhaustion, but God reminded me over and over again of His faithfulness through people I met, our students who showed up to outreach, and scripture. As I look back on my own life, I wouldn't be where I am today if there weren't people persistently inviting me into friendship and showing up when they said they would. I'm reminded of Psalm 126:6, "Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them."

Here we are at our first Thursday Night Fellowship (TNF) of the school year!
At the end of the week, we gathered with all of our new friends and, indeed, sang songs of joy! God showed up and showed out during Welcome Week and brought us new students who are longing for Him. Cody, one of my teammates and friend, kicked off our sermon series: Do You Know the Man Jesus? He pointed the students to God, who we hope in, and shared with them why we do what we do as disciples.

All I feel is gratitude as I reflect on the last month. My role as an apprentice is opening my eyes to new sides of ministry I wasn't fully aware of before. I'm thankful for the hard work people have done before me, the patience of our team as all of us new apprentices learn the ropes, student leaders who show up and meet people when we're setting up for events or TNF, God for teaching me even through the most mundane tasks. As we settle in to more routine and build our cores, I'm excited to continue to learn what goes into campus ministry.

I'm thankful for every one of you. I couldn't do this without your support and prayers. Please let me know how I can be praying for you!

Prayer Requests:
  • Pray for healthy relationships to come from our cores. Pray for our corefas to be able to discern the needs of their core members.
  • Pray for our staff team to seek God's agenda for the ministry.
  • Pray for Preston Ridge - we are starting our own Thursday Night Fellowship once a month apart from the rest of Collin College as the community grows there.

With love,
Jacy Garcia



Steadfast

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