Friends and family, I hope this finds you all in good spirits and health! I would love to know how all of you are, if you have any praises or prayer requests I would love to start this new year off in prayer for any needs or requests the Lord has put on your hearts! Feel free to email me, leave a comment, text, or call!
The Lord has been so so good to me over the last month or so. I have been so encouraged by the people He has blessed me with to pour into and be poured into. Lots of exciting things happened over the holidays and I will share some highlights with you below!
We are so excited for the New Year with H2O! There are a lot of exciting things that the Lord has done as we have reached the halfway mark of the school year, but we are looking forward to some big things ahead! I will share with you some of our upcoming events so that you can be praying with us for all that the Lord is going to do!
End of Semester Highlights:
One of my favorite moments of each semester are the baptims that take place at the end of each semester. For fall, we chose to do baptims on December 8 directly following service. If you aren’t aware of what baptim is or what we believe at H2O, baptism is an outward expression of an inward transformation. By that I mean baptism in and of itself has no saving power. Jesus is the only way through which one is saved and rescued from their sins. Baptism is a way of representing that on the outside. We see the act of being baptized as a command for all believers in Matthew 28 and therefore preach that if anyone receives Christ as him or her individual savior they are to be subsequently baptized. Last semester, we had 7 people chose to be baptized, some of which because of new belief in Christ and others due to realizing the command of baptism and being obedient to it. I had the privilege to baptize Sarah, one of the girls from our Life Group. Sarah’s faith has grown exponentially in the last year and even in the few months I have known her, I have seen her desire to grow more and more intimately with the Lord.
Our Lifegroup went to the zoo lights on our last meeting of the semester. We encouraged our students to bring along some friends who may not be believers and ended up with a great turnout! We ended the evening by returning to Zach’s place to watch a Christmas movie. This group has easily been one of the biggest highlights of this first semester. The Lord has been doing some cool things threw these humans and it is incredible to witness the life change happening weekly within this crew.
Winter Retreat is one of my favorite trips we do with our church. We leave on the last Friday of finals week and head down to Gatlinburg, TN for a long weekend away. This year, I headed down early with Zach (yes, we are dating 😉) and we spent the day together exploring Pigeon Forge and downtown Gatlinburg. One of the things we prioritize is having one day a week that we have intentional time together so we did our “date day” in the beautiful and scenic Smoky Mountains. We had a blast exploring and taking in the breathtaking sights. My father is a huge fan of the smokies so I’ve grown up with a love for them myself.
The retreat started around 8pm on Friday evening and went until about 10am the following Monday. We had a guest speaker from Red Door Church, Josh Lenon, who walked us through the entire bible in a way that encapsulated the gospel from cover to cover. A lot of our students loved this experience and seemed to take away a lot of wisdom from Josh. What I loved about his speaking the most was that he came knowing the research behind what he was sharing, including the translations of the original languages. It has encouraged and challenged me to start looking into the original text and the context, both historical and biblical, in which it was written.
The community aspect of this retreat is always a blast. I cannot tell you how many board games I played or rounds of eight-person hearts. The amount of free time we have really allows people to get to know the others that are attending the retreat in a very intimate way. I always leave encouraged by the relationships I grow in as well as the new ones I form with students I don’t have much contact with throughout the year.
This winter break was a very sweet and beautiful time of rest for me. We started the break by attending the wedding of some dear friends of ours. It was a beautiful evening and such a sweet reminder of the example of the gospel that marriage is. I was also able to spend a few days up north in Ashland with Zach and his family. This was a really neat opportunity, getting to meet all the people that are important to him. We also were able to spend some time with my best friend, her husband, and their one-year old son, Isaiah.
One of the highlights of my break was getting to sing with my Mom, Dad, and brother at their church’s Christmas eve service. It is crazy to me that we have been singing together in groups for years now, but this was our first time singing in a quartet (just the four of us).
With the new semester upon us we have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months!
Lifegroups: Every Thursday evening we have small groups meeting across campus. Be praying for the community within these groups as well as growth in our scripture reading.
Sunday Services: Every Sunday at 9:30 and 11:20 our church gathers for our weekly service time. This semester we will be walking through the book of Revelation. Be praying for our pastors and other teachers, that the Lord gives them wisdom and guidance on the best way to present this content as well as key themes that are important for our church to lean into and understand more fully.
Huddles: These same gender groups range from about 3-6 people per group and are primarily comprised of current leaders as well as potential leaders within our church. Be praying for the intentionality of these groups as well as the outreach aspect that each group is encouraged to do. Pray specifically for opportunities to arise that the Lord would have us pursue.
Man Makers and Women’s Weekend: In mid-to-end February we will have our annual men’s and women’s retreats. Be praying for the planning process, speakers, and all who are involved, that the Lord would give guidance and direction in a way that he sees fit.
Spring Break Trips: March 14-21st our church will be taking two separate groups to two different locations for two differently focused trips. One trip will be headed to the Carolinas to help out with disaster relief in the area and will be primarily focused on service through house repair, clean-up, and other various tasks. The other trip (one that I will be leading) is heading to Panama City Beach, FL and will be primarily focused on evangelism and engaging in spiritual conversations with the students who are visiting the area to party over their break. These conversations happen through our free van ministry, street teams (who walk around the strip from 9pm-2 or 3 am) and of course through the pancake ministry Monday-Thursday from 10am-1pm.
Personal: There are many things I think I could ask prayer for, but I would love for you all to be praying for my ongoing support raising. I am asking for bold prayers for an increase in both connections and financial support. I ask that you also prayerfully consider either joining my team, or if you are currently a supporter, that you would pray for specific ways that you could be helping me, whether that be through an increase in financial giving or by connecting me with someone you might know who can also be of help to me in this process.
Thank you all for the ongoing support. I have been feeling insanely blessed by the people that surround me. I have seen such beautiful demonstrations of the Lords goodness and grace through others and towards me. I feel abundantly loved by a Father who chooses to chase after my heart despite its imperfections. Thank you Jesus for your kindness and for loving my friends so perfectly. Thank you for using them as such sweet vessels of your mercy and compassion.
“My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.”