Since last Fall/Spring BSM has DOUBLE in size! Don't get me wrong, it's a GOOD PROBLEM to have. Providentially, we were placed in a room that holds 75-80 (even though I complained about the room @ first). But this also means:
Why am I "reflecting" @ the BEGINNING of the FALL? Well, after the past week I'm curious what God might be up to as we begin our fifth semester @ Lonestar Montgomery. As of today:
1) BSM had an amazing Kickoff that allowed us to connect with 300-400 students.
2) Over 10% of the students we met @ our Kickoff chose to sign up for our weekly reminders & express interest in begin part of BSM weekly.
3) We have wonderful local local friends & churches who partner with us to make our special events & weekly lunches possible.
4) We have an incredible relationship with LSCM Student Life.
5) We have some GREAT student leaders (leading an Explore God Group) this semester!
6) We have wonderful volunteers - both on & off campus who make BSM possible.
7) UGGG! We were assigned our second choice for a room this semester. Here's that story & maybe why...
The past 3 semesters we've been in Building G. This past April, I requested a classroom in Building G again for this Fall. Building G is the "General" building on campus with a lot of foot traffic & a majority of the typical "freshman" courses. On Monday, I was told that all the classroom space (which hold up to 40 students) was completely full this Fall during our FREE LUNCH & that we've been assigned to Building B, Room 102. So I spent some of Monday evening complaining to my husband about Building B. Two years ago, our first semester @ LSCM, we used B-102. Not a bad room as Building B (the sciences building) it runs along the major sidewalk on campus. So it's not a terrible spot on campus to be. Actually it's easier to access than the 2nd floor classrooms in G we used last 3 semesters. Oh, did I mention that B-102 is a theater, which holds 75-80 students?!
During our Kickoff Event Tuesday, I found myself hoping that all 300-400 students did NOT come back next week for FREE LUNCH - we won't have room (especially in a classroom) nor enough food... that's when it hit me that we would be in B-102. Maybe God knew what he was doing after all... praying we pack B-102!
HE's in charge & I'm just along for the ride. Thank you for your continued prayers & support.
This is an exciting time of year. My kids off to the first day of school & I'm focusing my attention toward the BSM's first day back on campus. From new teachers to new pencils and new tennis shoes... it's a new year and a new start. It's the time of year that I get to watch the seeds of ministry that were planted back in May begin to poke their tiny little heads up out of the ground. Seeds that have been watered by YOUR faithful prayers and the planning / preparation of our staff, many volunteers, partners in ministry, and our Student Life Office. All of it means that the FALL is just about to start!
A few signs of new seedlings:
1) confirmation phone calls, emails, and texts for lunches and Welcome Week.
2) pictures from partners in ministry as they help prepare for the FALL. (Pictured: a ministry partner pick up 600 snacks and cookie for backpack treats).
3) our 1,000 new business cards to give out during the first few weeks of class have arrived.
4) incoming students already inquiring about BSM this Fall.
5) BSM T-shirts we delivered yesterday! (We use these as a walking advertisements & personal invitations on our current / active students).
6) prep meetings with student leaders & staff.
7) new promo display for student organization fairs.
8) new invitation sign to be used outside the room/door of BSM FREE LUNCH (came about due to a conversation with a student after the last lunch last Spring).
This year we want to walk with students as they "Take the first step or next step on their faith journey." Please pray that Yahweh uses the plans and preparation of our staff, our volunteers, & our student leaders to make the BEST NEW of ALL - an experience with the God that makes ALL THINGS NEW.
Journey through a 40 Day prayer prompt for Texas Baptist Missionaries serving on college campuses across the great state of Texas. Sign up for a daily email prompting you with ways to pray.
There was no burning bush, but today our ordinary classroom became unmistakably Holy. For a few moments, with the typical smell of pizza, the movement of students coming and going to class, and as two local pastors answered the faith/spiritual questions of students over lunch, our conversation turned from inquisitive questions about theology, faith, and the spiritual realm to "What is sin?" which ended up turning into a conversation with one student about the Gospel.
You remember "Holly."* She "found" our FREE LUNCH in January because there was FREE FOOD. She admittedly has no faith/spiritual background or comprehension. She came back today, for the second time, because she was curious to know more. As our conversation progressed, I glanced around the room at other students, mostly Christ followers, and by the looks on their faces could tell we all felt the energy of the room change as we realized that for about 15 minutes this conversation became a Holy conversation. A seekers conversation. The conversation moved from the most basic: sin, to an intro into 10 commandments, to who was Jesus, why He came in human form, why He died, our response to Him, & how to make Jesus the boss of your life. Tears came to my eyes as I witnessed the beauty of the Holy Spirit pursuing Holly.
After lunch, she and I chatted in the hallway. She mentioned that she knows there is a God, a "bigger Being." Although she does not understand and know that "Being" she wants to. She's unsure about religion and skeptical of Christians. She asked, "How do you pray?" So I told her the cool thing about God is that he's all about friendship (not religion) and showed her how to just say what's on her mind. We prayed in the hall with our eyes open, "God, I don't know you but I want to. Show me who you are."
Lastly, I asked if she had a Bible. "No." I asked if she wanted one. "Yes." So I showed her the youversion app and ended up giving her a Bible. She said she had never held or opened a Bible, so I gave her a quick tour explaining the division of testaments, books, chapters and verses (ALL completely foreign to her). I booked marked the book of John with my business card and challenged her to read chapter one by next Tuesday. Then I handed her the Bible. Her face light up with awe as she held HER Bible for the first time, "There's something special about this book!" I responded, "There's no magic in it, but it is a very special book."
PRAY FOR HOLLY:
* the names of individuals in this story have been changed.
It's the time of the year for an update on BSM! We're in a good place and it's all a God thing! Here's why: BSM Montgomery is a ministry of volunteers & we are blessed to have AMAZING VOLUNTEERS! I received the following text from my friend who attends our lunch regularly to help build friendships in what can be a very fast event. It's nice to have help making personal connection so students don't slip through the cracks.
"(Free Lunch) felt so different today! I saw lots of community forming! Loved having (a student) give announcements and the Valentine prep created a fun energy! Glad I got to talk to the two new girls before lunch and SO THANKFUL to meet "Holly,"* who only came because she saw our sign on campus about FREE LUNCH and now she has exposure to the gospel for the first time! I'm already praying for her."
What she experienced is the result of what I can only be a direct answer to your prayer. If you pray regularly for BSM Montgomery, YOU are a powerful and vital part of what happens on campus. Your prayers are bringing fruit:
*names have been changed
WHAT A GREAT DAY @ BSM TODAY! Thanks to all who prayed for our last FREE LUNCH conversation for the Fall of 2017. Our question of the day was "Is it possible to be friends with God?" The conversation was lively & honest. All agreed that a friendship with God is possible, was Yahweh's intent for our creation, as well as what set in motion his plan to redeem us after we "messed that all up." We spent time on The Bridge Illustration as part of our conversation.
AFTER LUNCH - a first time student came up with tears in her eyes. After I hugged her I told her that no one I'd ever given pizza to had cried about it, which loosened the mood & got her talking. She was overwhelmed by the Spirit of God. She'd felt drawn to attend BSM throughout the semester but when she finally did it was about "knowing God." Turns out she trusts God but has never been baptized and is not currently attending church. So I hooked her up with some of our local partnering churches, my email address, and an invite to join in next semester. PRAY FOR HER: to find a church home and complete the outward expression of her faith through baptism.
BEFORE LUNCH - per our conversation from lunch last week (Is the Bible reliable?") I had a follow-up convo with my friend, "Jenny" who said she had tried to read the Bible but stopped @ Leviticus! I told her to SKIP to Joshua. This week I picked up a few Bibles & offered her a better translation than the one she was reading. We chatted a bit. I ended our convo by asking her if she'd be interested in reading a chapter each week & chatting about it over coke / coffee next semester. "She gave me an overwhelming YES! I'd love that!" Continue to PRAY FOR JENNY: that Yahweh draws her to Himself in a way that is unmistakable & undeniable to her.
Ask the Pastor is one of my favorite events! It's fun to have local pastors on campus and the event brings an energy with it that I just cannot explain. The questions are often difficult ones but they are always respectfully asked in honesty. The answers are thoughtfully balanced with grace and truth from scripture. Thanks to FBC Conroe & Crossroads Baptist Church for helping make this event so fun! Here are some pictures from our recent Ask the Pastor event on Halloween.
This week I saw how God uses the Body of Christ: the faithfulness & hard work of our volunteers, how He answers the prayers of our prayer partners, and blesses the financial investment of individual friends and local churches. These three working in tandem allow the ministry of BSM Montgomery to thrive, new seeds of friendship to be planted with “Mary Kate,” as well as the sprouts of spiritual growth in “Jenny.”
Mary Kate walked into FREE LUNCH this week about 15 mins late and sat down. After lunch I introduced myself & she immediately shared how she enjoyed our food and appreciated our conversation about Thanksgiving. So, I asked her if she went to a local church. “Oh, I don’t believe in God, although most of my family does.” She further explained that she struggles with the idea of a “fictitious being playing puppet master to our world.” In spite of all of this, she enjoys having honest conversations with her friends of faith (Catholic, Protestant, & Muslim) as well as attending services @ their places of worship. One of her most pressing questions is “how can the world religions be so similar when it comes to values but not agree?” By the end of our brief conversation we had touched on why Christ followers believe that Yahweh God is different from the other world religions, GRACE vs works, LGBTQ, BSM Free Lunch, and why we hoped she’d come back to discuss spiritual questions on a weekly basis. As she left (talking to another student) she looked at me with a smile and said, “I’ll see you next time!”
Jenny has faithfully attended BSM Free Lunches this fall semester. At first, she seemed to be a prickly counter voice in our weekly conversations. Throughout the semester her demeanor seems to have “softened.” Her questions and comments have become less abrasive as of late. She seems to be leaning IN to our conversations rather “pulling back.” Today, in our conversation about Thanksgiving, I asked if anyone had a favorite verse about being thankful. After a few responses, she commented, “Some of us are just learning verses...” I affirmed her attitude of seeking and her faithful attendance to seek Him weekly. This conversation and attitude is an answer to pray.
BODY OF CHRIST, CONTINUE BY PRAYING FOR:
is a Texas Baptist Missionary, raising her financial support to serve on the college campuses in Montgomery County, Texas. This blog is an effort to keep you posted with what's happening on campus monthly. Please consider becoming one of Tamara's financial partners (of course it's tax deductible).