Today marks the FIRST DAY of (ONLINE) CLASSES! Tomorrow would have been the BSM's annual BSM Kickoff Cookout! But with Hurricane Laura brewing in the Gulf, the Disaster Relief Team (who provide & cook our hot dogs) would have been called to duty so that cookout would would've been cancelled anyway.
Last Thursday, I was on campus (see video). God is in control, is opening doors, & is providing for BSM already.
This year, things are different. & maybe that's not a bad thing. We've been forced to imagine ministry to college students. I've seen doors open that I wouldn't have dreamed about. I've brainstormed with & been inspired by BSM directors from across Texas. Here are a few cool things I see God doing already:
Lonestar College System recent press release, has limited face-to-face instruction to 25% of it's student population. It further is restricts only individuals on campus who are taking classes or individuals necessary to make those classes happen (professors & key staff).
BSM WILL BE RESTRICTED FROM MINISTRY ON CAMPUS THIS FALL.
GREAT NEWS - the Student Life Director (also not allowed on campus) requested special permission (without us asking her to do so) from the LSCM President to pass out 500 BSM Welcome to College Grab-N-Go Bags on August 25th.
FALL 2020 PLANS - We will then move forward with virtual meetings via our YouTube page, Zoom, Text to Join, etc... We will also host a MONTHLY GRAB-N-GO BSM POP-UP LUNCH in the surrounding area.
In June we started our FIRST EVER BSM Book Club. Seven students & I began reading Dallas Willard's, Life Without Lack, Living in the Fullness of the 23rd Psalm.
The students have loved the experience of learning to life trusting in the provision of our Shepard rather than on our own desire and success. Often one will say, "I feel like I underlined the entire chapter! It was all just SO good!" I enjoy these gals so much and am sad that they will all be transferring in the fall.
Impromptu Weird HAT DAY @ Book Club
BSM has been virtual since Spring Break via Zoom. As we look toward the Fall we've added a BSM YouTube Channel. Where we plan on posting devo's, virtual weekly lunch conversations, and online discussions. We've included some video's to help our partners look forward to Fall 2020 too. (please excuse my dog in the 2nd video).
Some of you have asked how my family and I are doing during the quarantine. Well, we've been together for 6 weeks. My oldest had a tonsillectomy on March 6th so our Spring Break was spent @ home. Little did we know that would only be the beginning.
Jonathan continues to work everyday @ the hospital, supporting the staff and patients. He comes home tired everyday, yet still manages to help us all make it through the evening. This opportunity for ministry leaves Tamara at home everyday to school, mother, and do her ministry as much as possible.
Each Monday @ 6am, Jonathan (center) offers prayer OVER the hospital from the helipad.
Understandably, these days are long for everyone. However, add into the mix a child with Tourette Syndrome and our days become explosive. I often say that living with a child with TS is like riding a roller coaster blindfolded - not knowing when the dips, turns, rolls, and spins will happen - and they happen regularly. One minute you're fine the next minute you're in a downward spiral - spinning out of control. Everything stops and pivots towards that child (leaving everyone else waiting until things "level off"). That's normal life... but in quarantine, the dips are deeper, the turns are sharper, the rolls are faster, and the spins are out of control. Sometimes these "rides" lasting up to 5 hours... it's exhausting. It effects us all (even the dog hides). So, you can imagine that schooling, ministry, dinner, everything can be and will be difficult. Some days it takes all I have to get out of bed. Honestly, often I do so only to feed and walk the dog. Somehow, I manage to stay up the remainder of the day.
On a bike ride, we found DIRT! (every little boys dream!)
I AM GRATEFUL FOR:
On the day our devo was about Kindness...
...we found Kindness Rocks on our ride. How fitting it THAT!?
Many are asking how BSM ministry has been during the COVID19 quarantine.
When Lonestar College - Montgomery extended Spring Break by one week, BSM was able to restructure ministry using Zoom. Since March 24th, BSM has had a steady group of core students (4-10) who are obviously fine bringing their lunch to our Zoom meetings each Tuesday and Thursday.
Here is a portion our April 16th Zoom Convo: During our time together, the conversation turned toward a discussion about why it can be hard to share personal faith with others. Student “A” shared why she struggles with feeling rejected by others, to which student “B” responded;
“So I was thinking about what you said, ‘how some people don’t want to hear the gospel or God’s Word.’ Sometimes it’s not you or God, they’re just not ready for it. But if you mention it, they could start thinking about it and then they would look it up [in the Bible] on their own. That’s how I was. I realized it didn’t matter if I had strayed away from God or if you were angry with Him. But I learned that He’s always there and you can tell him how you feel. I was scared to, you know, tell him. And worried He’d be angry with me or something. But I was angry with Him and didn’t know how to start or get back to Him & then Tamara helped me [learn to tell God how I felt and talk to Him again]… I started coming to BSM just for the FREE LUNCHES on Tuesdays. Then I started liking what we talked about and I hung around just listening and I made some great friends. And it took me a whole semester to come to our Thursday Meeting God in Scripture group.”
Since the Fall ’19, Student “B” attends a local church on a regular basis. Student “B” also said, “One of the things I do is I take notes during church and @ all our BSM [Zoom] meetings about what we talk about. Then I go to my mom and my husband [who only speak Spanish] and then I talk to them about what we’ve talk. We read the Bible in Spanish together and talk more about it and learn more together.”
BSM Spring 2020 semester officially ends April 30th. However, the students are excited about our plans to continue together with a SUMMER BOOK CLUB. Summer activities are new for BSM Montgomery as students are usually overly busy… who knows, maybe it’ll catch on.
God is still on the move in the lives of local college students. Continue to pray that the lives of our students will be transformed.
Since the conception of BSM Montgomery, one of my PRAYERS has been for "wisdom to creatively engage students within the context of this campus culture."
Today, as I walked across campus, I looked up & saw a new banner that read, "This is our Culture." I noticed a BSM student pictured in the photo and THEN I noticed the BSM banner in the background of the pic. What an answer to prayer! I ❤ that BSM is part of the CULTURE of Lonestar!
YOU make BSM possible! The following may seem like only numbers, but each one represents a person & a story. One of my favorite students this year recently told me, "You know last year I only came to BSM because of the free food but the more I came the more interested I was in what you were talking about every week." Now she's got a Bible of her own, we're reading John together, & we have lengthy conversations about Jesus, faith, & church on a regular basis. They come for the free food but find so much more!
BSM Fall 2019 #'s:
13 Free Lunches with 684 students.
1 bi-weekly Bible Study with 6-10 students.
6 Campus Events with 728 students.
6 student leaders.
4 local church partners.
2 Bibles given to students without one.
2 students being discipled by Tamara.
1,469 TOTAL STUDENTS CONNECTED with BSM during the Fall of 2019.
Thank you for your support!
This semester I challenged BSMers to experience Lectio Divina (Latin for "Divine Reading"), which is "a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God's word." *
We met every other Thursday & used Jan Johnson's book, Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina, which I highly recommend!
We averaged 6-10 students each meeting but these two came every week - so I gave them their own book today after our last meditation together for the Fall of 2019. We'll pick up again in 2020!
Second annual BSM Christmas Party / Last Free Lunch of 2019 / Ugly Sweater Party / Christmas Caroling is in the books & what a fun party it was with 48 of our closest friends! The two headed sweater is on a winning streak - two years & counting!
is a Texas Baptist Missionary, raising 100% of her salary to serve on the college campuses in Montgomery County, Texas. She holds a Master of Divinity & has been in college ministry since 1996.