September is over, and I have so much Kingdom News to share. Thank you for your prayers and your partnership to make these stories happen.
This is my friend Ronnie. He is from India, and is currently studying his masters. He has been very excited about ministry and community. We just started doing a study of the Bible together called Focus On Jesus. It’s a ten week study FOCUS put together to help facilitate meaningful conversations about scripture and life. I’m doing it with a couple students, and Ronnie is just so eager to learn more about Jesus. We just recently got to share our testimonies together, talked about the role of prayer in our life, and he even shared with me he is interested in being a minister himself. God has put a love for learning and serving on Ronnie’s heart. Please continue to pray over students like Ronnie, that they might come to know Christ fully.
We had Fall Camp, a 24 hour retreat held at Mt. Camp Lebanon, September 25th-26th. We had sermons, played games, shared meals, worshipped, and prayed together. While I was there, I got to know many of the new students who have been attending Cores other than my own. I have been so encouraged by our student leaders. They have been so faithful meeting new students, befriending them, and inviting them into their lives and ministry.
Richmond and I, out of our core of about 10 guys, had only one able to attend Fall Camp. I was discouraged by this “turn around”. God used my pastoral supervisor, Jalen, the night of Fall Camp to challenge my thinking, and show me grace that I refused to let God give me. He helped me see how dangerous a mindset of ministry built around output, rather than input can be. I was reminded of the 5000 leaving Jesus as he shared more challenging teachings. Jesus did not allow this outcome to effect him as a faithful minister, so neither should I. This is just one of the harder lessons I am coming to terms with as I grow in this Apprenticeship.
Other ways I’m learning from this mission, is in my apprentice classes. I have class Mondays and Thursdays with the other 19 apprentices. Monday mornings we have Old Testament class. We have read Genesis through 2 Kings so far. This has been the most in-depth exposure I have had to the Old Testament and it has really grown and challenged my understanding of who God is. I used to think God was different in the Old Testament. More wrathful and extreme. Now I am seeing his patience and grace through his faithfulness to the messy Israelite people.
On Mondays, we also have class with Ronnie Worsham (not Ronnie from India), the head pastor of Garland North East Church, and father of Brandon Worsham, the director of FOCUS. Ronnie has been an amazing teacher and friend to me since I did a teen internship at his church three years ago. He is a man of God with humility and wisdom that comes with years of Kingdom work. In our class, we are given time to just ask him ministry questions, some broad, some specific. We are blessed to have have him as a resource in our community of pastors. He often reminds us that he is blessed to be with us in the same way.
Lastly we have our Thursday classes. This time is split every other week between two directors of Focus, Brandon Worsham and Mandy Lancianci. Brandon is guiding us in leadership, and we are currently reading the book Vulnerable Pastor. I have been wrestling with God on this concept of glorifying him in our weakness, and this class is definitely helping with that. Mandy’s class we are talking about disciplines, both spiritual and day to day adult ones. These have been keeping me better centered while I’m out on mission on the campuses. Overall, this season has been an immense time of learning and growth for me. Thank you for allowing me to be in this role as a learner and missionary.
Here are some final picture updates I want to share with you and talk more about in the coming months: