Saturday, December 13, 2008

He's Always Been So Faithful

Praise God for His continued faithfulness!

In the month since the last update, we have seen the Lord at work in ways we could not imagine. I am particularly joyful that the Lord has raised up a team of student leaders to carry on the movement in Carrollton and other area high schools. The students have actively planned and carried out outreach events, recruited their peers for the upcoming Fastbreak conference, and spent time praying for their lost friends. God's faithfulness has been evident in the answers to prayer and in the doors that have opened up for ministry at Newman Smith.
Christmas Party Led by Freshman Girls :)
Since November, I have been leading a Bible study for a group of beautiful, eager, freshman girls. In the first week of December, they decided to host a Christmas party as an avenue to let their friends know about the Bible study and about what Student Venture is. We had cookies, pizza, and wassail (my first experience with this particular festive drink). It turned out to be a cold night, and the girls didn't have as many people show up as they had anticipated, but I believe the night was a success. The party was a lot of fun, gave older students the opportunity to minister to the younger ones, and gave the freshman girls a chance to demonstrate their leadership skills. I'm so proud of the girls for taking the initiative.

L-R: Two leadership students telling the group about upcoming events; Twin sisters! (freshman girls); make leadership student (Caleb) explaining the crowdbreaker game.

December Student-Led Outreach Event
Early in December, we had a student-planned, student led outreach--an ultimate frisbee tournament. Familiar with the sport? Some have described it as "football with a frisbee minus the tackling." Works for me :) The Lord granted us favor with the high school football coach, and he gave us permission to use the football field for the event. Also, at the last minute, we discovered we needed a staff sponsor from the high school to be present during the outreach, and God raised up for us a teacher who had not previously been involved with Student Venture. She not only stayed for the duration of the frisbee tournament, but offered to make herself available whenever we need a sponsor! Praise God!

FastBreak Update
It's exciting to see what God's doing as we prepare for Fasbreak. So far, we have more than forty students from Carrollton signed up to attend the conference. They'll be joined at the conference by students from Frisco, Plano, and other cities in Texas for a time of renewal and training in discipleship. Last Friday was the last day of school, and we had a celebratory/informational party to give students an opportunity to hear more about Fastbreak and meet students who will be at the conference.
Prayer Requests
The Lord has continued to impress upon the hearts of the SV Dallas staff how essential prayer is to the ministry. I am thankful for your faithfulness in praying for us. I wish you could see for yourselves how students' lives are being changed in answer to our prayers. I trust that God will show up and surprise us with awesome works this coming year as we continue to look to Him as the only Source of strength. As we anticipate the new year, please lift these requests up to God:
  • That we would be faithful to the work He's called us to do.
  • That the freshman girls I'm currently discipling will grow in confidence and allow themselves to be used by God in leadership roles.
  • That the Lord would bring many, many students to Fastbreak in January, and that the students lives will be transformed in a way that will bring revival to Dallas.
  • That I, specifically, would draw strength from the Lord and not grow weary in my service to Him.


It's that time again!!! I pray it's a season of joy and peace for you as we celebrate the birth of Christ. As you unwrap Christmas gifts, also allow the Holy Spirit to reveal more of the Ultimate Gift to you. I pray you know Him this year in a deep, meaningful way. God bless!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Wow! What a Month!

You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. (Psalm 65:11-12)

The past month was full of fun, festivities, and God's faithfulness. In the midst of homecoming events, jello food fights, and sand volleyball, I repeatedly saw God's hand at work.

Homecoming Week at Newman Smith

There's an interesting phenomenon that I'm pretty sure is unique to Texas (or maybe the South?) It's called a mum. By that, I don't mean a nurturing female or a silent pantomime. Let me 'splain ;) Every year, as high school students in Texas prepare for homecoming, they exchange mums with one another to demonstrate support, appreciation, and school spirit. The word mum is derived from "crysanthemum," which is the centerpiece of these moderately ostentatious-looking creations. The students wear them well, though--the girls usually pin the mums to the front of their shirts, and the guys wear smaller mums as a corsage around their arms. A few Texas belles allowed me to take pictures of them during their lunch period.

Homecoming Game
I attended the Newman Smith homecoming game with other Student Venture adult workers/volunteers, and we had a great time cheering for the great Trojans (who won the game, by the way!) We also enjoyed the parade of the homecoming court nominees, which interestingly, included several Student Venture kids. One of our student leaders was crowned
homecoming queen for her class, much to the joy of several of her peers whose lives she has
blessed in many ways. What can I say, God's beauty radiates from the inside out!

Also, at the homecoming game, the Lord orchestrated a divine appointment for me with a female student at Newman Smith. This student has since become actively involved with the ministry and is eager to be discipled :)

Top Row L-R: Catching a break with a few students during half-time (note Tina's mum); Natalia (a student leader) with her saxophone across her lap, waiting in the wings until it's time for the band to perform; Mama Rucker and Meghan, two invaluable Student Venture volunteers, cheering for the green and gold!!!

Bottom Row: Me schmoozing with celebrities :)

Outreach Events
JelloFest '08

By now, you are probably familiar with JelloFest, one of our favorite outreach events. The students never tire of this giant, messy food fight. After rescheduling twice, we finally held JelloFest on October 22. The outreach was planned and carried out by student leaders. We had about twelve new students show up for the outreach, and they had the opportunity to hear the gospel and meet their Christian peers.

Volleyball Tournament
On Wednesday the 5th, we had our November outreach, a high-intensity-level volleyball tournament. Boy, are high school kids competitive! We spent three days recruiting teams and building excitement for the tournament, and two local churches partnered with us to provide the facility/equipment and spiritual support. The Holy Smokers ( came out and grilled free hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone. Overall we had more twelve teams play and more than 120 students show up for the event!! Once again, student leaders had the opportunity to share the gospel and their testimonies, seven students indicated that they had received Christ. Praise the Lord!!! Although the free food and fun volleyball game were appealing, it is God who draws us to repentance.

The winning team had the honor (and rigorous test of skill) of playing a formidable line-up of girls on the high school varsity tean (including one star volleyball alumnus of Newman Smith :P).

So, thank you for praying for us!!! Through your prayers, the Gospel is being proclaimed, hearts are being set free, and God is being glorified at Newman Smith and environs. The Lord also continues to open doors for us to gain a foothold on the campus in a day when there's strong opposition to Christian influence in schools. Please continue to pray that we would march forward in the name of Christ.

Pray for us to be able to properly follow up with students who just received Christ, and those who are interested in becoming involved in this Movement to make Him known to every high school student on every campus.

As you look ahead to the holidays, and experience the reality of a new economic and social climate, be assured that your God is strong and mighty.
The Lord will guide you always; He will satify your needs in
a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a
well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11).

I pray this Scripture for you by faith. Amen!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

October Newsletter

"At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.' " (Luke 10:21).

Jesus said these words when seventy-two of His disciples returned from the "harvest field" rejoicing because God had worked through them as they proclaimed the Kingdom. I shared Jesus' joy and echoed His words after the Volleyball Team Mystery Dinner three Wednesdays ago. Jenna, a sophomore JV, volleyball player , and Rani, a junior, varsity volleyball player, shared a personal testimony and gave a Gospel presentation (respectively). It was each girl's first time proclaiming God's Kingdom in front of a crowd, and 8 of their teammates received the gift of salvation!!! You know there was beaucoup partying in heaven among the angels that night :)

Mystery Dinner!!!
Needless to say, the Mystery Dinner was wonderful. There were about 30 attendees and delightful chaos as the girls selected their three-course meals from encrypted menus. The girls were given one minute to make selections from a 12-item menu, which, unknown to them, included food items as well as utensils. Upperclassmen girls and top-notch butlers were assigned to serve two or three girls for the evening. It was quite hilarious to see some of the girls' faces as their servers showed up with a "course" that included a mint, a toothpick, and lasagna, or a fork, a cup of lemonade, and an ice cream sundae. They came up with some pretty creative ways to eat their meals without silverware (or with the wrong type). You really had to be there to capture the excitement, but since you couldn't be there, we captured it for you on camera! :-D

After the meal, the girls had the opportunity to gather in groups and share responses to questions related to their spirituality, their views of life, and their views of God. The activity prepared the girls' hearts to listen to Jenna's testimony and Rani's Gospel presentation.

L - R: Happy freshman girls. . . before they saw the menu!; Able servers ready to go!; "Who ordered the salad with a side of toothpick and napkin?"; Butler line-up - Caleb, Todd, and Chris.

Blackmail photos!!! :-D

L - R: Jenna sharing her testimony with the group; Rani giving a Gospel presentation.

Bible Studies
We had our first volleyball team Bible study tonight with a handful of girls. We talked about assurance of salvation, looking through Scriptures together for God's promises to those who receive Him.

Last week, a freshman girl on the school drill team told me she would be interested in hosting a Bible study in her home, so this Wednesday, Lord willing, we will begin another girls' Bible study!
Two new boys' Bible studies have also begun since our leadership retreat in September. Daniel, a student who received discipleship training last year, felt a desire to bear fruit by ministering to the academically gifted students at his school, and he has begun a Bible study in his home. Another student, Cameron, committed to ministering to his cross country teammates, and he has also begun a Bible study in his home.

See You at the Pole
September 24th was "See You at The Pole," a day when students across the nation gather around the flag pole at their school to pray. This year, Student Venture students helped to lead the event at Newman Smith. It was incredible to see the number of students who showed up at 6:30 a.m. to pray for their school and for the nation.

L - R: A group of early risers gathered to pray; Kevin leading the group in worship songs.

Prayer Requests
On Wednesday, October 15, we will have our first outreach for the year . . . (drumrolls, please) . . . JELLOFEST. It promises to be a messy time, with (you guessed it!) lots of jello flying around. The outreach events are opportunities to gather groups of students for a time of fun, and to make the Gospel of Christ known to them in a non-threatening environment. Please pray that there would be a good turn out and that the students who will be sharing a personal testimony or the Gospel would be filled with boldness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray also for "fertile soil" in the hearts of those who attend, that they would be receptive to the Word.

Fastbreak is coming up in a few months. It is a conference during Martin Luther King weekend (January 16-19) at which students are equipped for a life of discipleship. Conferences have historically been momentum builders in the ministry, as hearts are transformed through seminars, anointed speakers, and personal time with God. Please begin to pray now about what God is going to do in the lives of the students. So far, 25 students from Newman Smith have signed up to attend!

My Prayer for You!
Thank you all again for your encouragement, support, and prayers. In these times of economic, political, and social uncertainty, may you be steadfastly assured that the Sovereign, Ominipotent God is in control. May He continually reveal Himself to you as Provider, Healer, Shepherd, and Protector.

Friday, September 12, 2008

September Newsletter

"He must become greater; I must become less" John 3:30

This past Saturday, two friends from my small group at church got married. I had to drive close to an hour to get to the chapel, and along the way, I had to stop to buy batteries for my camera and gas for my car. So, by the time I arrived at the church, I was running late. The time was 1:59 p.m., one minute until the ceremony was scheduled to start. I could hear music as I walked down the hallway to the chapel, so I quickened my pace. Just as I approached the door, the music stopped, and I walked in to find all heads turned toward me, anticipating the entry of the bridal train. Sorry to disappoint, I’m not the bride…Not even on the bridal train. Just a tardy guest, please ignore me. I apologetically walked a short way down the aisle and took my seat among friends—one of whom turned to me and said jokingly, “Trying to steal the show, Simi?”

Mildly embarrassing experience :)

I was reflecting the other day on how we sometimes “try to steal God’s show,” showing up in entryways when heads are turned in expectation for help. Describing his role in accomplishing God’s plan, John the Baptist gave the analogy of a groom’s attendant who “waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice” (John 3:28). John acknowledged that his calling was fulfilled in pointing the way to Jesus Christ, and it was his joy to hear people say to him, “[The One] you testified about—well…everyone is going to him” (John 3:26). I have been praying that in all I do and say as I disciple students, I would not seek to draw attention to myself, but rather, point people to Jesus.

He must become greater; I must become less.


Leadership Retreat
We started out the school year with a leadership retreat for students over Labor Day weekend. The retreat was by invitation only, and we had thirteen students attend from Carrollton and Plano (a neighboring city). Students were challenged to commit to living from an eternal perspective, and to invest their lives in the three eternal things: God, His Word, and People. Students left the retreat with their hearts renewed and with plans to live out the year with an eternal perspective.

(photos from the leadership retreat)

Mystery Dinner
We only had one girl able to come to the retreat from Carrollton. She shared with me that she had been reluctant to come when she found out she would be the only girl from her school. Praise God she came, because she left the retreat with a desire to reach her volleyball team for Christ. In pursuit of this desire, I have come alongside her to plan a Mystery Dinner for the freshman volleyball team. The dinner will be a time of fun and team bonding, and also a time for Christian girls on the Junior Varsity and Varsity volleyball teams to share their testimonies and the Gospel, and to invite the younger girls to become involved in discipleship.

Open Doors
God continues to grant us favor with the coaches and administrative staff at Newman Smith High School. Two days ago we had the opportunity to gather all the volleyball teams for a mini “team talk” during practice hours. We invited a former varsity volleyball player and Student Venture leader, Sasha, whom a lot of the girls had looked up to while she attended Newman Smith. Sasha talked briefly about her experiences as a high school student, and she got the girls excited about Student Venture. A girl on the Junior Varsity team stood and invited the freshman girls to the Mystery Dinner we’re planning for them.
I look forward to other opportunities to partner with the staff at Newman Smith to reach the students for Christ.

Prayer Requests

Pray that the Mystery Dinner, scheduled for next Wednesday (September 17th), will go smoothly (we’re still trying to determine an ideal location!), and that it will be an avenue for the freshman volleyball girls to become involved a Bible study this year.

Pray for wisdom in reaching other “target groups” at Newman Smith High School. This year, I am praying about getting a few freshman girls Bible studies going, as well as continuing discipleship with upperclassmen. Leadership students have indicated a desire to reach the peers on the basketball, volleyball, and cross-country teams, and to begin Bible studies with these and other groups.

Continue to come alongside us in prayer that students will keep their eyes on the goal and not be sidetracked this year by myriad distractions that surround them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Please Pray for Orissa!!!

I just received an email from a ministry I have been supporting, called Gospel for Asia (GFA), about the carnage that is going on in Orissa, India. Some news reports say as many as 16 Christians have been killed, and KP Yohannan, founder of GFA, says the lives of hundreds of other Christians are at risk. I'd like to invite you all to join in prayer for our Christian brothers and sisters in that region of the world.

You may visit this link to watch KP Yohannan talk about what's been going on:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August Newsletter

It's August already, and the end of summer is in sight. What a full summer it has been! Here are some updates:

Summer Venture
What a fun time I've had with the summer ministry. Getting knocked down while attempting to tag a buffed-up teenage dude during a game of Flag Football . . . watching students and staff attack each other with jello during JelloFest (yep. I was conveniently occupied during that one) . . . hearing students ask random strangers at the mall, "Are you the Blue Lagoo?" (Long story . . . one of those "you had to be there to appreciate it" kinda things). Besides the fun, it was great to interact with students in a more casual environment and to watch them grow as they had the opportunity to share the gospel or their life testimonies with a group of their peers.
I have included a selection of photos from Summer Venture outreach events for your viewing pleasure.

Top Row (L-R): A group of Carrollton girls at the Stonebriar Mall, where we had our Human Scavenger Hunt (The Blue Lagoo); Two bums we brought off the streets . . .oh, wait, never mind. That's Brooke and Jeremy, SV staff, in their disguise (they were impostors of the Blue Lagoo); Me (shouldn't be hard to recognize) posing with Lauri (the actual Blue Lagoo) and Katy, who's also on staff with SV.
Bottom Row (L-R): Plano, Frisco and Carrollton girls in all their glory after throwing jello at one another; Me and a student from Carrollton at a pool party; Jordan (during a gospel presentation) using a skit to demonstrate how God reached down to us.
Personal Growth
God has been taking me through a personal lesson on Grace--the extent of it; the beauty of it. Grace is a word I have been so familiar with, particularly in the past few years. Each time I share the gospel, I quote Ephesians 2:8:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
The wonderful truth is--we are not only saved, but also sustained through grace. Isn't that great? I forget this sometimes, and I find myself focusing on "doing" things for God instead of just resting in His grace (kind of like Martha in the Bible). I recently read somewhere that rather than trying to do things for God, we should be allowing Him do His work through us.
Hope some of this makes sense to you because it's been making me excited lately :)
Prayer Requests
  • I need your prayers in earnest as we prepare to select and challenge potential student leaders for the coming school year. More and more, the Enemy seems to be throwing in distractions in the way of high school students to keep them from being committed to living for Christ. Please pray thay we would be able to help students consider their priorities from an eternal perspective.
  • Please pray for wisdom for me to be discerning in selecting faithful, available, and teachable girls to disciple for the next year. This is essential for spiritual multiplication.
  • Our final Summer Venture outreach is this Monday. Please pray that many students would come to know the Lord, be challenged to make Christ known, and commit to living for Him once school resumes.

That's all for now, folks :) My love and prayers are with you all. Please let me know if there is anything specific I can agree with you about in prayer.

To Live is Christ!!!

(Philippians 1:21)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer in Texas


That is the word that best describes summer in Texas.

But we're having our fun and staying hydrated. I hope you all had a good July Fourth weekend. I had a packed weekend, myself, complete with an Oklahoma-style celebration and three fireworks displays. The picture on the right shows me with my friend, Jillian, whose family hosted me for a July 4th neighborhood potluck in Oklahoma. Jillian and I were 3rd runners up for the annual games (think sack races, three-legged races, and crab-walks). I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but our trophy has a sheep at its apex. Hey, it's Oklahoma :)

We have had a few weeks of our summer ministry, Summer Venture, and it has been exciting to meet new students and to watch student leaders grow as they participate in ministry this summer. Every Monday, we have an outreach (planned largely by students) at which students get to have fun with one another and hear the gospel presented by one of their peers. Last Monday, I participated in a game of Capture the Flag with about 40 students, and two days later, as I shuffled around on sore limbs, the phrase, "suffering for Christ" took on new meaning :) Actually, it was not that bad. The picture on the left shows Cameron, a senior, sharing the gospel at the last Monday outreach.

The picture next to it shows "Team Yellow" getting ready for a game of "Capture the Flag."


I'm thankful that I was able to visit with my parents in the last week of June. I enjoyed being "spoiled" by them. The picture on the left shows me with my mom (I was only able to get half of my my face in. But you know what I look like). And on the right, that's me with my dad. The good looks run in the family :)

Prayer Requests
  • Pray that the summer ministry will be fruitful--that students will be trained in being missionaries to their peers, that many would come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that we would disciple these students toward a life-long commitment to God.
  • As we look ahead to a new school year, pray that God would grant us wisdom in selecting and discipling student leaders who will be ambassadors for Christ on their campuses next year.
  • Pray for God to equip me with all the skills, knowledge, and grace I need to accomplish the task He has called me to do as I prepare to begin a new year of ministry.


In 2007, I joined the mission field with Student Venture, first as a volunteer, then as an intern once I had raised sufficient financial support. August 15th will mark the end of my year-long internship, which you committed to support through prayer, monthly pledges, or one-time contributions. Thank you very much for your encouragement and support. In the year since we have partnered together in ministry, God’s name has been glorified and His Kingdom advanced among high school students in Carrollton, Texas and environs.

As we came to the end of this past school year, I thought about what God had accomplished through the ministry. Reflecting on these victories, I realized how thrilled I was to have been a part of it, and how much I want to continue to be a part of God’s work at Newman Smith High School and in Carrollton. I have been invited to continue in ministry with Student Venture for one more school year, and after seeking God’s face in prayer, I am convinced that this is the direction He would have me take at this time.

I would like to invite you to stay onboard with me by continuing to pray for the ministry and by continuing to give monthly and/or one-time financial gifts as I minister to high school students in the 2008/2009 school year. You can also help me by giving me references for your friends, relatives, or acquaintances who may be interested in supporting me as an intern with Student venture. Thank you again for joining me to make disciples for Christ!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back in Texas!

And . . . we're back in Texas! What a trip!

The bus ride back from Colorado seemed to go by much more quickly than the drive to Colorado. I must confess, I slept for most of it. I've been "counting blessings" since I returned home. As I shared in a previous note, we had several students from Carrollton accept Christ into their hearts or recommit themselves to Him at the conference. I look forward to what God is going to do in their lives and through them as we continue the process of discipleship.

I'll keep you updated on the summer discipleship events. In the mean time, enjoy these photos from Colorado :)


Top Row (L-R): Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North); Beautiful mountain scenery (courtesy of Dave Bryant); Tenth Avenue North (the band that led us in worship for the whole week, and led our hearts to the foot of the cross. One student shared that as she sang the song "Let It Go" along with the band, God worked to break the unforgiveness she had been carrying in her heart. Praise God for a Christian band that makes it a priority to glorify God and speak the truth of His Word!)

Bottom Row (L-R): Danny, Rani, Natalia, Dave, Cameron, Jevarcus (after climbing Bear Lake); Pretty picture (courtesy of Dave).