The gift of encouragement is the drawing out of God-likeness in one another. Here at University of St. Thomas, we have been praying to walk in the gift of encouragement every day. Fall Outreach programs, events, and retreats have all been marked by the signs of encouragement. Our mission staff and student leaders are running together to draw out in each other all of the gifts the Lord. Over the course of the first two months of mission, the Lord has truly blessed Saint Paul’s Outreach at St. Thomas with so many things to be encouraged about and so many ways he has conformed us to himself.
At the end of August, our Household students moved in to begin our lives together. 16 men and 13 women moved in to six total houses. At our Household retreats, our mission staff was very encouraged by the excitement the students had to dive into the Household life. The students were ready to live a life where they challenge each other and build each other up in virtue. Our mission was off to an amazing start because the Lord did a marvelous work to unify our houses and prepare them to be communities of holiness and mission.
The power of the Lord was made evident in the way our Outreach presence at UST’s Welcome Week was felt. SPO hosted a Labor Day Cookout that drew about 200 students into our lives so that we could begin making connections with the campus. We followed up later that week with a Hog Roast. There were about 350 students who came through our lives that night! The Lord gave our student leaders a renewed gift of leadership that helped them achieve some of the best Fall Outreach events ever.
As our lives began to settle in to the day-to-day, the Lord has continued to encourage and bless us. He has given us his heart for his people, and our Mission Teams have taken off with this renewed heart. Our Evangelistic Small Group Mission Team has over 50 freshmen women signed up to participate. Our Tommie Catholic Mission Team has helped to run 4 nights of encounter that are open to the whole student body.
Jesus is working in power at the University of St. Thomas. As we run together, He builds us up in his own image and gives us the strength to be on mission with our whole lives. The Lord has sent us constant encouragement in mission and in our own lives of holiness by giving success to the work of our hands. Praise be Jesus Christ! All glory and thanksgiving to him!