January Update

Hello and welcome to 2019!

It's cool to think about the fact that it's been over 2000 years since Jesus came and year after year He keeps being faithful and building up His kingdom. I am so blessed to get to have a front seat to what He is doing and it is a privilege to do my best to give you guys a window into what that looks like on college campuses, especially at Richland.

The month began at home with my family. I was so excited to get to go back up to Alaska to get to see them again. My girlfriend and I flew up there for a little bit to get refreshed by the sea air and get to experience God's creativity in the snow-covered trees and the screeches of bald eagles. It means so much to me to get to go home, and it is meaning ever more as I am learning to make Richardson Texas a home.

As soon as the wheels touched the ground, so did ministry. We spent a few days on a staff retreat, reading through a book and preparing for the coming semester, working to make sure we are doing our best to bring Jesus to our different campuses. It was an amazing time to get to spend time with the staff from other campuses that we don't get to connect with very much. We all got closer and got to experience different ideas and hear about the struggles going on in the ministry at colleges I don't normally get to experience. 

We had our semi-annual corefa training in the week before school started. It's amazing to me to realize how many of these students left their families early to come to a training on how to minister to people better, receiving as their only compensation, snacks. I am constantly inspired by the dedication of the student leaders who come to college and could be off partying or doing whatever they like while on break, but instead, they choose to spend their time at an all-day conference dealing with leadership and conflict (important, but not riveting topics) to prepare them for the semester ahead. 

Next up (this was a pretty busy and eventful month), was the biggest event of the year. All year, we build up to Winter camp. Even during the first weeks of school, our students get so excited about Winter Camp that they can't keep from spreading the word and getting people excited long before it happens. Well, it happened. January is when we pull out all the plugs and make an event worth remembering. We work to be a ministry that is not just an extension of youth group, but a place where people learn to talk about their faith at the same level as they talk about their area of study. We brought in Dr. John Stackhouse to be the speaker and the students spent over 16 hours worshiping and listening to lectures in order to grow in their faith and understanding. The worship was real. At one point half the students were weeping and the other half were gathered around, praying for them and glorifying Jesus. This is exciting! This is happening NOW! In a world that teaches that college is the time people fall away and go down paths leading away from Jesus, over 600 students are gathering to pour their hearts out to living God.

The 600+ students that came to Winter Camp

The biggest group Richland has ever brought to Winter Camp!

In other news, Richland college is big enough to start having our own meetings now instead of meeting with everyone from UTD, which means we had our first Thursday Night Thunder as we are calling it and about 50 people showed up (not all of them are pictured)!

Things are starting new and fresh and God is moving big time at Richland college! Keep us all in your prayers! Pray that we will have wisdom in leading people and be able to handle rapid growth well and without losing sight of Jesus. 

Thank you for supporting God's work here and I'm excited to see what happens before next month's update! I love you all so much and am so very thankful for each one of you!

Peace and Love,
Jesse Bales.


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