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Hi <<First Name>><<Last Name>>,

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and a great kick off to 2021 since our last newsletter. Though the RFC was quieter over the Christmas break, our building director (Julie Davis) coordinated a whole set of service projects - everything from caroling to the shut-ins and writing to the sick - in which our students that still in town could get involved!

Once classes started back in January, we hit the pavement running with our Welcome (Back) Weeks' activities and haven't slowed down since. Along with our Wednesday night Bible study (Connect), our guys and girls FaceTime small groups that are studying the Fruit of the Spirit, and our intern-led prayer groups, we have done game nights, movie nights, a super bowl party, lots of meals, and more!

We have also gotten to participate in Gulf Coast Getaway (GCG). GCG is such an important event for this ministry. It is usually hosted every MLK weekend in Panama City Beach and is how we start off every spring semester. Sadly, due to the pandemic, it had to be canceled this year, but the GCG team sent out "GCG in a Box" to all the campus ministries which included a set of 3 lessons and follow up discussion questions on identity from a great teacher, Chris Seidman. It was encouraging to be able to still participate in GCG in this way.

If you would like to help us continue and increase this great work that God is so graciously doing in our midst, here are four ways you can partner with us!
1) SEND US NAMES: In the midst of the pandemic, connecting with incoming students is more difficult than ever. Please partner with the RFC by sending us the name, number, and/or email of any prospective freshmen, transfer, or graduate student looking to start at UM or NWCC in the Fall of 2021. Or, you can share with them the link to our New Student Info Form. We'd also ask that you would encourage both the incoming student and their parents to check out our website and follow us on social media.
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2) PRAY FOR OUR MINISTRY: Our mission to bring about a revolution of redemption on the UM and NWCC campuses is a big one.A vision this substantial must be fueled by prayer, and so we ask that you would add us to your prayer list - ask that God will use our staff and church family to eternally change the hearts and minds of the college students we connect with this Spring semester.
3) DONATE TO THE $20,000 IN 2021 CAMPAIGN: Along with our ongoing internship program, the RFC is excited to reinstate our apprenticeship program in 2021. This position will multiply the RFC's impact by helping us increase our capacity to connect and build relationships with more students, teaching them to follow Jesus on a campus that tempts them to abandon Him. Both of these programs are entirely funded by donations from partners like you, and cost $20,000 each year to sustain. So, this  year we are promoting our $20,000 in 2021 campaign.
We are humbled to be able to say that we have already raised $9,750.25 towards our goal of $20,000. If you would like to help us with the remaining $10,249.75, just click donate below! We are a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit and your donations to us are tax-deductible.
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4) SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER: You, our alumni and supporters, are our greatest connections. So, please share this newsletter with anyone who might be interested and encourage them to subscribe so that they get future newsletters and updates from us. Thank you for all you do to partner with us and support the work that God is doing in and through the RFC!

Sincerely, 

Ben & Marybeth Brinkerhoff
Counseling, it’s a concept that is surrounded by stigma and shame, but why? Seeking counseling is not only something that we should be encouraging, it is something that we are called to seek out. Proverbs speaks quite a few times about the benefits of counseling, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14 ESV).
 
When I first began college 16 years ago, I was going through many issues that I only half-heartedly sought counseling on campus for. Struggling through a severe bought of depression, I dropped out of school after three semesters, left home, and attempted to work through my problems all on my own. What should have been only a year out of school turned into 12 years, which were complicated by my stubborn need to work out my problems on my own. I fought with life and the brokenness that comes with this world, I had to fight every day to forgive myself for past mistakes, I carried shame and guilt of not finishing school, carried some shame and guilt of others and, ultimately, I learned the hard way the importance of seeking counseling.
I returned home to Oxford in the fall of 2019, terrified, uncertain of myself, and carried a lot of emotional baggage home, worried about whether my family would accept me. Thankfully, they didn’t bat an eye. However, as I finally started to get settle back in, I was finally getting adjusted to being an adult and a college student again, when the whole world went on lockdown.

Everything changed.
Being a college student is difficult, I had forgotten just how difficult it was, and then I found myself not only back in school, but back in school in the middle of a pandemic. If there was ever a time where each of us needed to seek counseling, it would be now. We are tired and we are doing way too much.
 
As a way of helping us talk through and learn how to handle the things we have going on, LPC Cindy Francis began coming to the RFC building on Mondays this fall, which was something that myself and several of the others immediately took advantage of. I do not feel comfortable speaking on the behalf of others, as it is not my place, however, for myself, Cindy has been a blessing.
 
At the start of the summer a long-time friend, mentor, and surrogate mother, of mine has been coming to the student center and leading a devotional for the residents a couple of times a month. A few weeks ago, she quoted Zora Neal Hurston, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer,” 2020 was one of those years that posed the questions, who are you and what are you made of? To those who have been seeing Cindy, or possibly someone else, I would tell you that you may not be certain of who you are right now, or what you’re made of. But I will tell you, you are strong, you are a fighter, do not give up.
To those of you who have supported the RFC, thank you, it is your prayers and contributions that has made it possible for the RFC to have access to this wonderful service and counselor. My hope and prayer is that you will continue to support our campus ministry in whatever way that you can, because this service is truly invaluable to us.

Sincerely,

Erin Davis
As an elder at Oxford Church of Christ one of my oversight areas is our mission to the Ole Miss Campus which we call the Rebels for Christ Campus Ministry (RFC). For alumni, it has been called the University Christian Student Center (UCSC) in the past. I have to give Ben and Marybeth kudos for providing teaching and discipling to the students who come to the RFC and to Julie for helping make our facilities a welcoming comfortable environment. All of these things require commitment and lots of energy. We also have had wonderful volunteers generously donate lots of time, energy, and money to the maintenance and repair of the facilities. A special thanks to all of these devoted people.

So how is God working in all of this? Let me tell you about some of the ways. God is working in this ministry through sound teaching. On Wednesday nights this semester, Ben is leading us in a study of the Ten Commandments. If you would like to be able to listen to these lessons, they are being posted on the RFC's podcast - "The Christian & The Campus." You can find it on Spotify or iTunes. God is also working through a licensed Christian counselor (Cindy Francis) who is available each Monday to our students. Discipleship and prayer groups meet each week to study God’s word and pray. Julie, our Building Director, makes sure there are snacks available and our facilities provide a great place to study or just to gather for fellowship.
You see, at the RFC we don’t “social distance”. We take all the necessary precautions our day and age require of us - we physical distance and wear masks in accordance with state and local mandate. However, we do not distance ourselves socially because we believe that building trusting relationships is the most effective way to spread the word and the love of God. Every time we gather for a meal or to fellowship the noise level is really high. That is music to my ears because what I am hearing is young people sharing enjoying each other’s companionship.

These are just some of the ways God is working at the RFC and I am sure that God is working in ways I haven’t seen yet. It is my privilege to be involved in this ministry and I say it is my privilege because I get a front-row seat to watch college students grow in wisdom and stature in the knowledge of God.
I have a request that was said best by Paul in Colossians chapter 4 verse 3 "At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ."

Sincerely,

Dale Davis
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