Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Year Ended

Dear Friends ~

Thank you for praying for me in the final weeks of the spring semester. I experienced God’s abundant supply of grace and strength as I plowed through projects, papers, and final exams. On May 14, I graduated with my Master’s degrees in Student Ministry and Global Leadership.

My family flew in from Nigeria, London, and New York to celebrate with me. Yes, my whole family!!! It was a time for counting blessings. God’s faithfulness to me just blows me away.

The past few weeks have been busy with readjusting, moving, and figuring out “next steps.” I have also been “winding down” the year with my Bible study girls. As you all probably know, the end of this school year marks the end of my second year as an intern with Student Venture. After our annual summer conference, GetAway (June 13-19), my internship will come to an end. What a ride it’s been!

Even though I will no longer be an intern with the ministry, I will continue to volunteer with Student Venture for as long as I am around, until God moves me on to the next assignment. I hope you’ll come along with me :)

I thank you for your support in the past two years. I have felt your prayers, and I have seen God work in a mighty way among Carrollton high school students.

High School Graduation

Several of our student leaders graduated from Newman Smith High School on June 7. We were blessed this year with a core group of students who were committed to serving God on their campus. I would like to highlight three girls from my Bible study who are graduating, and share a little bit about my experiences with them.


I met Anna at the Newman Smith homecoming game last year. A student introduced her to me and told me she was interested in becoming involved with Student Venture. We exchanged phone numbers and I was amazed by Anna’s initiative when she called me before I had a chance to get in touch with her. We met for coffee shortly after and she explained that although she received Christ in the past couple of years, she had never had any discipleship. I invited Anna to participate in a Bible study and to become involved in our leadership training meetings.

Since that first meeting with Anna, I have seen her grow from shy and uncertain to confident and open. Throughout her senior year, she helped plan and implement outreaches, and helped with recruiting her peers to attend. This past January, during Fastbreak (our annual spring conference) Anna had the opportunity to share her testimony publicly for the first time. Now, she is preparing to move to Tennessee where she will work as a camp counselor, then begin as a freshman at Tennessee State University in the fall. (Anna on the left in the picture).


I first heard about Kim from a few of my Bible study girls. I learned she was a star basketball player who was friendly and who had recently been seeking to grow in her faith. Soon, I had the opportunity to watch Kim on the court at one of the varsity basketball games at Newman Smith, and I was impressed by her talent. I was even more impressed when Kim began to attend our girls’ Bible study and I discovered she was hungry for God’s word and open to His working in her life. What a gem! I was able to observe Kim’s servant-heart when she offered to host our Bible study in her home for the rest of the year, and unfailingly provided freshly baked treats for us every week! :)

In the short few months I’ve known her, Kim has grown tremendously. She has developed a habit of having quiet times with God, and she is more confident about telling others about her faith.

This fall, Kim will attend Missouri State on a basketball scholarship. She was excited to learn recently that her new roommate is a believer, and she looks forward to serving God on her basketball team.


I met Natalia my first week working with Student Venture. I was on a bus with her and 50 other high school students, on our way to Fastbreak ’07. Natalia was only a sophomore, but she struck me as mature and loving. Although she had already received Christ in the past, it was during that Fastbreak that Natalia committed her life to serving the Lord. Since then, I have seen her blossom into a beautiful woman of God.

During her last three years at Newman Smith, Natalia has been active as a leader in Student Venture. Natalia has had many opportunities to share the Gospel and her testimony at outreach events, and has been instrumental in many students coming to know the Lord. For two years, Natalia was the primary leader for the girls’ Bible study, and she discipled many young believers at her school.

In the fall, Natalia will move to Waco, TX to attend Baylor University. She has already contacted Christian ministries at Baylor and is excited to become involved in ministry at her school. Praise God!

I just wanted to share these brief stories with you to give you an idea of the impact you have had on the lives of many, and how the impact will be perpetuated as these girls go off and become disciple-makers at their colleges. We also have several young men from our leadership team who graduated this year, and I am excited to see where God will take them as well. Thank you for your part in growing God’s Kingdom by investing in the lives of these students.

Prayer Requests

Rocky Mountain GetAway

I just returned home a few days early from our annual summer conference, which is currently going on and will conclude on Thursday. Please be in prayer for the 370+ students, as well as the staff and volunteers who are with them this week. God is already working mightily, and this past Sunday, 11 students made decisions to receive Christ. Last night, two girls from Newman Smith shared that they were going to act upon God’s conviction to forgive family members who had hurt them. I know there is so much more that God is going to do in these next few days.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 17), the students will be going out to different locations around Boulder and Denver to initiate spiritual conversations with people, and possibly share the Gospel with them. Please pray that the students would be empowered by the Holy Spirit and would go out boldly—taking the initiative and leaving the results to God. Also, ask that hearts would be watered in preparation.

Summer Venture

This summer, students will have the opportunity to learn about God and grow in their faith as they participate in weekly outreach and training events every Monday. Please keep Summer Venture in your prayers and ask that the next few months would be a time for students to be prepared to reach their campuses when school resumes in the fall.

Thank you for all your prayers. Expect another update after GetAway!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring is Here!

"So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today--to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul--then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied." (Deut. 11:13-15).

The month of March has been wonderful! I turned a year older this month, and I had the opportunity to spend time with friends over my Spring break.

I've been thinking about God's provision for His people in these times of economic distress. It's interesting how easy it is to forget that we are dependent on God for everything--for rain, for the seasons, for our grain . . . .It is not until there's a need that we realize we've been counting on our prowess, or our jobs, or the government to provide. I pray you may seek God's face for all your needs as you "serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 11:13).

First two pictures: Meghan (an SV volunteer) and I visited Brooke (former SV Plano staff) in beautiful Colorado this month. While in Colorado, we visited the famous Celestial Seasonings headquarters (second picture) and tasted almost twenty different flavors of tea! Third picture: Me with friends at the Dallas Arboretum. If you've never been there, just think: A huge flower garden relentlessly pointing to God's creative talent and unfathomable beauty.

We have our annual March Madness basketball tournament coming up at the end of the month. Typically, the event draws over 100 students who are given the opportunity to have fun and also to hear a testimony and a presentation of the Gospel from one of their peers. Please pray for this month's basketball tourney--scheduled for March 25th. Ask that the Lord would open the hearts of students to receive the Word.

Two prospective Student Venture workers will also be visiting at the end of the month! Ruth, who is from Michigan, is completing Bible college this year and hoping to come onboard with Student Venture as an intern. Jacquelynn is coming in from Arkansas and hopes to join the SV Dallas staff team upon graduation this year. Please pray for a sense of peace and affirmation for them as they seek to obey God's calling on their lives.

GetAway, our summer conference, will be here before we know it. The students have begun recruiting their friends to attend the conference. The students will spend the next few months prayerfully inviting their friends and doing fundraisers to raise support to attend the conference. Please pray that God would provide financially for our students so they will have the opportunity to encounter God in a lasting, dynamic way at GetAway '09.

Thank you for your prayers and your support!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

FastBreak Report and More!

"Apart from Me you can do nothing . . ." John 15:5

In the past several months, God has impressed this verse strongly upon my heart. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. It is an acknowledgment of utter dependence on God . . . for life and breath, for shelter and bread, in relationships and in ministry. In the weeks preceding FastBreak, recognizing that it is God who brings the change that we so desperately desire, our ministry committed to praying incessantly and specifically for the students who would be attending the conference. Thank you for joining us in prayer! God demonstrated His power to us during FastBreak and we are still rejoicing in the aftermath of the conference . . .
Come and Listen To What He's Done!
On the first night of the FastBreak conference, Rani noticed that her friend, Mariah, seemed downcast. Rani had invited Mariah to the conference in hopes that her friend might finally recognize her need for Christ. “I had been talking to her about a relationship with God since our freshman year, but she had never responded,” Rani shares. Now a junior, Mariah was feeling a jumble of emotions on that night of the conference—guilt, low self-worth, incompetence. Rani tried to encourage her and once more prayed her friend would receive Christ. The following night, after the events of the evening were over, Rani noticed that Mariah seemed cheerful. “What’s going on?” Rani asked her friend, and Mariah explained, “I feel more peaceful now.” “What happened? What’s changed?” Rani wanted to know.

Then Mariah said the words Rani had been praying to hear since their freshman year, “I received Christ tonight!”

Rani looks forward to coming alongside Mariah as they finish out basketball season together and graduate together next year.

Yesenia thought she came to FastBreak because it was an opportunity for her to spend time with her older brother, whom she admires. But God had a bigger, eternally significant purpose in mind. On the second night of the conference, as she heard the speaker describe the work of Christ on the cross, and the implications of His sacrifice, Yesenia was struck by a sudden, unprecedented awareness of God’s love for her. After the evening session was over, Jacquelynn, an adult volunteer, found Yesenia crying back in the cabin. Jacquelynn found out that Yesenia had surrendered her life to Christ that evening.

“You know that feeling you get when you’re high [on drugs]?” Yesenia asked, desperately grasping for words to describe what was going on inside of her, “I feel that way right now! I can’t believe I’ve missed out on something so great for so long.”

As Jacquelynn celebrated with her, Yesenia disclosed that she had been making a lot of unhealthy choices in life, and she recognized a need to leave those things behind. Since she returned from FastBreak, Yesenia has asked her mother for forgiveness for wrongs done in the past, and their relationship has taken a new turn for the better. Yesenia has also shared her testimony with her non-Christian friends. “They don’t understand. I really want them to experience what I’ve experienced.” Yesenia has joined a girls’ Bible study and has committed to praying for the salvation of her lost friends.

Jordan, a junior at Newman Smith High School, used to identify himself as gay. During the conference, he felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction regarding homosexuality. On the last night of the conference, he sent a text message to another student, Natalie, telling her: “I am no longer gay. I no longer lust for men.”

A few days later, when they returned to school, Natalie happened to walk by as Jordan was telling a student that he is no longer gay. The student laughed at him and said, “That doesn’t just happen.” Natalie heard Jordan affirm that he is no longer in bondage to homosexuality.

That same day, a boy asked a student leader, Rani, “Have you heard that Jordan is no longer gay?” Rani responded, “He was at a conference this past weekend and Jesus changed his life.” Jordan continues to bear witness to how God has changed his life, and he has been the talk of the school since the conference.

Praise God for His faithfulness!

Photos from FastBreak!

Super Bowl Party

Every year, Student Venture hosts a Super Bowl party to which our student leaders are encouraged to invite their non-Christian friends. This year, we packed the house again with over 100 students, many of whom had never been to a Student Venture outreach. During half-time, we gathered the students to listen to a testimony and the Gospel. Caleb, a senior at Newman Smith High School, shared the story of how God delivered him from anger and violent behavior, and Rani, a junior, presented the plan of salvation. Four students received Christ that evening!

Pictures from the Super Bowl Party.
Go, Therefore . . . To Carrollton, and To The World . . .
One of our student leaders, Rani (above, third picture), has been instrumental in leading several of her friends at Newman Smith High to Christ, or encouraging them to grow in their walk with God. Now, in obedience to God's call, she will be taking the Gospel of Christ beyond the borders of Carrollton, TX :) This March, she will have the opportunity to go on a Student Venture international mission trip to Budapest, Hungary, for two weeks. She has also challenged her friend, Hannah (standing next to Rani in the picture, holding the poster) to come along on this mission trip as a next step in her Christian discipleship. Please pray for these young women as they prepare and raise funds to take the Hope of Christ to their peers in Budapest.
Prayer Requests
Ask the Lord to continue to sustain Mariah, Yesenia, and Jordan as they allow Him to continue His work of transformation in their lives.
Pray for our new and previously existing Bible studies, that they would be effective in equipping students to glorify God with their lives and be missionaries at their schools.
Commit our student leaders to God's keeping. Ask that they would not be distracted by the cares of this world, but that they would "fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfecter of their faith."
Thank you for your support and prayers!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome, 2009!

Happy New Year!

I hope the holidays were warm and restful for all of you. I heard rumors of snowy days for my friends in Ohio. May I just lovingly share that I've been enjoying a mild winter, with many 60something-degree-and-sunny days. Thanks for your prayers :)

We got off to a running start this January. From the 1st -5th, we took groups of students to the Dallas Winter Conference (DWC)--a conference for CRU, the college ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ Ministries. At the DWC our high school students assisted in providing childcare for children of CRU staff and conference speakers. The opportunity enabled our students to earn scholarship money toward the cost for our upcoming conference, FastBreak. Attending the DWC also gave our high school students a vision for college ministry as they participated in worship sessions, outreach/evangelism, and sharing their testimonies with college students who were interested in working with Student Venture. For my part, I enjoyed visiting with Student Venture alums from the past couple of years who are now involved in ministry at their respective colleges.


FastBreak is just around the corner, and I would like to ask for your prayers as we finalize the details. We currently have around 50 students signed up to attend from our Carrollton high schools. They will be joined by other students from the Dallas area, as well as other Texas cities. I've been observing the students' excitement as the conference approaches, and it's contagious :)

Here are a few prayer points:

That all the students registered to attend the conference will be able to attend, and there would be no hinderance.

That even at this "last minute," we would have more students sign up for this life-changing experience.

Pray for protection on the roads for everyone traveling to the conference venue. Also pray for protection during games and all other activities during the conference.

Pray for all our speakers and seminar leaders, that they would speak boldly, as directed by the Holy Spirit, and that they would be renewed daily throughout the conference.

Pray for open hearts and fertile soil; that as Christ is proclaimed, hearts would receive the words with joy and the planted seeds would take root and bear fruit 30, 60, and 100 fold.

Pray that anyone at the conference who does not know Christ will come to a saving knowledge of Him and will commit to a life-long journey of discipleship in Christ.

Nice weather :)

Pray for the discussion groups--that the leaders (mostly high school and college students) would lead with discernment and genuine love for students in their group. Also pray that the group would be open and loving toward one another, forging a fellowship that will continue when they return to their schools after the conference.

Thanks for joining us with your prayers this weekend. I look forward to sharing testimonies of the Lord's goodness when we return from the conference next week!