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!
God is moving on campus! Today I had the pleasure of giving another Bible to a student who did not have one of her own. PLEASE PRAY for my friend as she explores faith, God, & Scripture. PRAY that Yahweh God will pursue her and draw her to Himself.
I met Ashley last spring on campus, although she only sporadically attended Free Lunch. Fast forward to this fall. She has literally attended every BSM event since our Kickoff event: leaders meetings, lunches, & Meeting God in Scripture.
Tuesday after Free Lunch she told me that she'd never read the Bible but would like to do so someday. Turns out that I had a spare Bible to give her! ; ) & now we're reading the Book of John together.
It's my tradition to take a selfie with everyone I get to give a Bible to. She loved that idea!
Please PRAY that as we read the Book of John together Yahweh would reveal himself to Ashley in a very real & unmistakable way.
BSM just finished the 3rd FREE LUNCH of Fall '19. We've served 53-55 students weekly.
August 27th was BSM KICKOFF & loads of fun!
Sept. 3rd was our first official lunch & was a BSM info-based lunch.
Sept 10th we discussed our first question of the day, "Is the Bible accurate & relevant to my daily life? If so, how?" Which led right into our first Meeting God in Scripture on Thursday, Sept. 12th.
Sept 17th our BSM student president, Rebecca led us in worship.
TODAY after Free Lunch a student approached Rebecca and said that she felt that God was speaking to her through the time of worship. She shared that she has been struggling with her sexual identity for some time and heard God tell her that he loved her and would be with her no matter how confusing life gets. Rebecca asked if she would pray with her and then said, "I've had several friends struggle with sexual identity and they ended up finding their true identity in Jesus. That is my hope for you too."
PRAY that "Kelly" (& others) would find her identity in Jesus this year.
The mission of BSM Montgomery is to, "Walk with students as they take their first steps or next step of their faith journey."
Last May I diligently planned a "Big Sketch" of what the of the upcoming 2019-2020 ministry year would look like. A rough sketch from Free Lunch topics, to leaders meetings dates, a Monthly Bible Reading Challenge, a small group focusing on the Christian Classic: The Celebration of Discipline, and the dates of our student planned events on campus.
While my plans were well meaning, as the fall semester drew closer I realized that I might have been over zealous in my planning and under appreciative of the time it would require of me to prepare for each event as a part-time missionary on campus. I evaluated what would allow us to achieve our "mission" and what of the ideas were "extra" yet & very do able - if I was full time.
Obviously, Free Lunch is necessary as the front door to the ministry, which allows many students the opportunity to take the first steps along their faith journey: investigating spiritual things, asking questions, and relationship with those who know Jesus.
Through the "winnowing" process my desire and prayer was that God would use BSM to "host" ministry on campus that would draw students into the "next step on their faith journey." As I prayed what shape the "next step" would take, I kept being drawn back to "just let them meditate on scripture." Since early 2019 I've been growing in my own experience of Christian mediation and if there's one thing I want students to know how to do when they move onto their next chapter it is to be able to spend time in scripture and listen to God. So, this semester BSM will host a BYOLunch Meeting God in Scripture (based on a book by the same name by my new favorite author Jan Johnson) on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. NO FREE FOOD will be offered at these meetings in order to attract students serious about taking the "next step" along their journey together.
At our first meeting today, I introduced our journey of Christian meditation together by having the 10 students present listen to most of a 30 min podcast with Jan Johnson where she is interviewed, gives a brief overview, and then leads listeners through a guided mediation of a portion of Luke. GUEST WHAT? The students were blown away! They LOVED how easy it is to listen to scripture and hear from God. Several students expressed how amazing it was that we all listened to the same passage, yet God met each of us where we were individually and spoke directly and differently to each involved. All expressed and eagerness for our next time meditating together.
PRAY that students would not only learn the basics of meditation and be able to do so throughout their life, but also truly hear from God and be challenged to "take the next step on their faith journey."
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.