Man, this year has been interesting. I feel like it went by so slowly but looking back it seems to have flown by. It feels like forever ago that we started the quarantine and all the students went home in the spring semester, but it also feels like just yesterday they all came back to campus for the fall semester. This semester was different, and at times difficult, but we still saw God move in extraordinary ways.
Despite the changing guidelines from the state, city, and university, social distancing, and a big change to the way we have been engaging with students on and off campus we still saw students grow in their walk with God. We had 9 people get baptized this semester, glory to God for that.
We also had a great turn out for The Well, our discipleship class. I got the opportunity to mentor Katie, and she is going to share a bit about just what God has been doing in her life this semester!
"For my entire life, I have wanted a deep and intimate relationship with God. Before this last semester, I was never willing to put in the effort to read scripture or pray regularly. This changed when I felt a deep necessity for God to be in my life. This desperate feeling pushed me to put God at the center, even when I was afraid. I began to ask for guidance and wisdom from Him, and found a strong community of believers at H2O Church on UC’s campus. I had a safe place to ask questions, both at life group and with my mentor, Sarah. I had so many positive influences. God called me to have a deeper relationship with Him, and I finally answered. In just a few months, I have learned so much about generosity, patience, peace, and His unconditional love. My relationship is the strongest it has ever been. I used to be afraid that how I knew Him then, which was shallow in depth, was as close as I could get. I didn’t want to be disappointed if I risked seeking him more and still felt empty. I am afraid no longer. My relationship with Him has become so much deeper and my understanding of Him has expanded. I don’t ever want to go back to how I was before. Everyday I am excited to have become close to Him, and I have so much desire to get even closer. " -Katie-
For a more personal update I want start with the more exciting news. I have recently started pursuing photography professionally on the side. It has always been something that I loved doing, so I figured with the extra time that I have thanks to COVID, why not pursue learning more about something that I love? I bought Adobe Lightroom and began editing photos back in May. This is something I have never done before, but I knew that in order to be a professional photographer, I would have to learn. I also signed up for a photography class this summer to help flesh out and solidify my skills. That's what I've been doing with my spare time this year and just recently I made a Facebook page and added a section for it onto my current website. I'm still learning and trying to figure out the style I want, but it has been cool to just see God already providing for me through it. As most of you know I'm going to Africa this summer, so to build my portfolio and to raise money I offered photoshoots for donations. It has been awesome to see how many people have already reached out to me for photos and have given so generously for them! I'm excited to see how God uses this new journey for his glory!
On a less exciting note, my physical health has been a huge burden for me and financially for us this year. My health has always been a burden to me, but this year it gotten worse. I have constant and widespread pain, lack the energy I need to get through the day, digestive issues as well, and need dental surgery to fix a bad root canal. So my husband and I began looking for answers. Back in September I was finally sent to a Rheumatologist, where she officially diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. From there I started doing pool therapy and massage therapy and they were a little helpful, but recently I had to stop both because they were just too expensive. We did some research to try to find cheaper and more helpful options. I am optimistic that my new care routine will help me manage my pain and gain the energy I need. I am very hopeful that God will provide both physically and financially in this road to recovery.