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.
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 :)
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.
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 (http://www.holysmokers.org/) 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!!!