Who would’ve thought that one word would carry so much meaning? When you type “community” into google, this is the top definition that pops up: “A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” Well, I don’t know about you, but I have struggled most of my life to find a place to belong. When I first came to Gospel for Asia to attend School of Discipleship, I didn’t have many expectations of finding that place to belong here. In fact, I was expecting to stick out like a sore thumb because this has been my experience my whole life. Even in the best situations, like with my family or friends, I’ve always had this lingering feeling of being on the outside.
I never understood it, and having known the Lord most of my life, I would ask Him over and over why I had these feelings of not belonging in my family, friends, school, college, even workplaces. Most of the time, I would think in the back of my mind, “Would they even miss me if I was gone?”
Since coming to School of Discipleship, I’ve finally experienced true community for the first time!
The fellowship that the Gospel for Asia staff and students has with one another is real and profound. Since my first step on the campus, they have intentionally taken the time to get know and welcome me. It has been incredible to see the love and genuine kindness expressed from each person here at Gospel for Asia. At first, I was overwhelmed and confused by the community; I didn’t understand why everyone was just so nice to me all the time! But the longer I’ve been here, the more clearly I see what their motives are. They love the Lord and it’s His love that pours out from their hearts, mouths, and actions when they interact with one another. “We love because He FIRST loved us” (1 John 4:19).
As I have been seeking the Lord during my year in School of Discipleship, I have a better understanding of how this community is so genuine and loving to each other. The second part of the definition of community is “having a particular characteristic in common.” Google is completely right! The community here at Gospel for Asia does have one characteristic in common: Jesus. He is the One who unites us and it’s His love and His sacrifice on the Cross that brings us together in a way nothing else can.
Community is just one of the ways the Lord reveals Himself to us. I mean, who else could unite people with such vastly different backgrounds, opinions, and personalities as they live and work alongside of each other?! No one and nothing but Jesus. I have been amazed and grateful to God for the community I have experienced at Gospel for Asia. And more than that, I know now that wherever I go, I can experience community with other believers because of Christ and my experience at Gospel for Asia.