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

Steadfast

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