From a Cold to a Caring Heart

kid on street

I didn’t come to School of Discipleship for the missions aspect. I grew up in a church that was often talking about missions, but I never had a heart for it. Missions was not something I ever wanted to do or worry about. I came to School of Discipleship for my walk with God, because I wanted to deepen my walk. My walk definitely deepened.

I have and am discovering that the closer my walk with God is, the more I seem to have a genuine heart for people who don’t know Christ. I find myself hurting for the fact that there are children across the world that have never known what love is. I was reading No Longer a Slumdog and my heart was breaking over the children mentioned in the book.

It has taken more than a book to break my heart. It took my coming here, being discipled, and genuinely seeking God more than ever and allowing the Lord to work in me. For my heart was cold when I came. I saw and heard of the conditions that millions of people go through every day but my heart did not break. There was no sorrow or great desire to see them restored. However, I knew that the Lord’s heart breaks for those who suffer and I wanted to have the Lord’s heart. So that was part of my prayer this year, “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours. Help me value these people I don’t know. I want to see them as people and not just sad photos.” They are real people. I know they are. However, the truth is I don’t see them that way.

I can say the Lord has changed my heart in countless ways; one of those ways is having a heart for people. I’m still growing but I can say that I am finally starting to see the national missionaries as who they are; my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I can see the suffering children as precious, valuable and desperately needing to be loved. The Lord has used this whole time here to shape me and give me a new heart that I don’t recognize. It’s the most amazing thing and I thank God for it.

 

School of Discipleship

Bridge of Hope

Slum Children Receiving Hope

Today I got to visit a Bridge of Hope center in a slum. I walked into a room full of kids nicely studying. That ended pretty quickly when I got my camera out. I was swarmed and surrounded. Laughing off language barriers, we became friends quickly.

Despite their background of poverty and slum life, the children are now receiving education, medical attention, nutritious food and school supplies through Bridge of Hope. They learn a new English word every day at the Bridge of Hope center. And soon they started practicing the language on me.

One of their phrases was “What is your favorite…?” We discussed favorite colors, countries, cricketers and more. When they found out I was from America, they started telling me excitedly, “My sponsor’s in America. His name is so and so,” or “My sponsor’s from Canada and her name is such and such.”

Bridge of Hope

I was reminded of just how meaningful it is to sponsor a child like this. These kids are experiencing the love of Christ because of people halfway across the world. The children have never met their sponsors, but they know their names. They correspond. They connect.

What a beautiful relationship.

It is Spring Cleaning in Stoney Creek!

You know it’s spring when………

The grass starts turning green, temperatures rise, birds fly back from the south and flowers start blooming everywhere!!

These are all wonderful signs of spring and the Lord has given me a new appreciation for them, but they have nothing to do with the sign that I’m talking about. Everyone’s “favorite” sign of spring is when mom says “Guess what? It’s time for Spring Cleaning!! ” Groan!!!!!

If this has always been your perspective of Spring Cleaning then you should try it at the Gospel For Asia Canadian office! The whole family, aka “staff“, takes the afternoon off once a year to clean the entire office. You know what they say, ” Many hands makes light work.” This is such a true statement! We all cleaned our own personal spaces first and then it was off to help others clean the common areas in the office. We had a blast!! I even got to stand on the kitchen counter to clean in and on top of the counters!! It’s not every day that you get permission to do that, now is it?? I didn’t think so!

Now, even though the cleaning was a lot of fun, all good things still come to an end. So, instead of ending our day together with cleaning, we had a barbecue outside and more  Gospel For Asia families showed up for a great time of fellowship. The excitement didn’t stop there though, first we got blown inside and rained out by a surprise shower. After rushing inside it was time for some dessert and arm wrestling!! ( I may or may not have participated in those) Okay I did win a few arm wrestling matches, but who’s counting?

Family BBQ 500px

Then, we watched Toy Story 2, enjoyed a few laughs and some hyper children, and went home to a comfortable air conditioned house. Praise the Lord for spring and a wonderful loving family at Gospel For Asia’s School of Discipleship!

I wonder what the sign for summer is, don’t you?

Seeing through Jesus’ Eyes!

What did you learn on the vision tour? 

Visiting South Asia really opened my eyes to what it means to live a life committed to Christ. Without realizing it, I had been like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, claiming to give my life to God, but all the while holding back a portion for my control, to do with it what I wanted to do. Talking to our brothers and sisters on the field opened my eyes to see that Jesus called us to give Him our ALL. The cool thing is He gives us back so much more than our all—He gives us Himself. There is SO much joy in following Jesus. I want Him to have ALL of me. – Anna

What impacted you?

The people are beautiful. In the beginning of our trip, I was overwhelmed by looking at the masses as I tried to see each of them as Christ does. He took the time to create each of them exactly as He wanted, and He knows even the secret thoughts of their hearts. They are known, intimately, but they don’t know this. “What a tragedy!” my heart cried. And then I saw our brothers and sisters who have committed their lives to sharing this incredible truth. Their eyes sparkle with warmth. Their smiles are so inviting. Indeed, even their feet are lovely (Romans 10:15). Instantly, my heart was comforted and my peace returned. These missionaries are simple people with struggles, feelings and desires just like me, yet their love for Jesus and faith in Him gives them eyes to see beyond this life. The work the Lord is doing through them is utterly astounding. There is so much hope because of Jesus! I am very thankful for the national missionaries. I want to be just like them. – Elizabeth

How were you encouraged? 

One thing that really encouraged me were the national missionaries. Their prayer life is so radical. They pray based on who God is, not on who we are. If someone is sick, they simply lay their hand on the person, bow their head, and say, “I declare healing in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” And move on. Their trust in God is so simple and honest. Like a child. – Elizabeth

Share your story

Jesus loves you.” I have probably heard those three words hundreds of times during the course of my life. Have I taken those three precious words for granted? Unfortunately, yes.

I am now able to take those three words and apply them to every person in Asia. Half of the world does not know those three words and we have the privilege to tell them. I was able to see the hope that Jesus’ love brings when I looked at our brothers and sisters in Asia. I was able to see Jesus’ love in the children’s smiles. I was able to understand how Jesus takes us, who were once abandoned, hopeless and filthy, and changes us into something beautiful. When I think of all the transformation going on in Asia and how so many people are coming to know Jesus I often think of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We lived completely different lives before the Lord chose us and turned us into new creations.

At the Bridge of Hope center, two girls danced to a song about butterflies and God’s glory. They spread their wings (arms) during the dance, and it brought tears to my eyes to see them as once in bondage in the slums, but now, because of Jesus, they are free to fly. It gave me much hope that every child in the slums and in Asia will have their own set of wings in God’s timing.

The love that the Lord has for us remains a mystery, but there is no doubt it is powerful and has the ability to change people. I would like to pray that all of Asia would know of Jesus’ love and that as a family of Christ, we would be reminded daily of His great love that He has for us, and that we grow intimately in love with Him. – Nikki

Making a Wish and Blowing Out My Candles

When I was a young girl I planned my life and was certain that by the time I was 25 years old I’d be married with four kids and succeeding in a career. Now that I have reached 25, I can testify to the truth of the statement, “God can do far more than what we can ever imagine.” I am so happy that God doesn’t take direction from me! His plan is a perfect, holy, blameless plan with a purpose greater than we know.

I am not married yet, but I have found a LOVE more beautiful and perfect than I have ever or will ever deserve! As I grow in my faith, my outlook on life and my purpose in it is unbending. A once panoramic perspective of me, myself and I has become a vast vertical vision of Jesus, His suffering children and the passion to uplift them.

I once thought it was impossible to know a mother’s love unless you actually were a mom. God proved to me otherwise when He blessed me with the opportunity to love and be loved by hundreds of underprivileged children in Asia. I have begun to understand a mother’s connection with her children. It is something of divine essence that is just so difficult to describe in words, songs, or poetry. I experienced the unfeigned sacrifice, or at least the inclination of it, to add to them even just a single trace of joy, safety, peace, and everything else righteous that a child deserves.

My idea of success now transcends all of life’s preconceptions, notions, and ideologies. I am nothing but a season, a chance that soon will pass. I’ve learned that success is not determined by how much I can accumulate, how great a name I can make for myself, or how high I can climb the ladder. Success is determined by the choices I make every day that will influence whether I am storing up the fleeting things of this world, or living in the light of eternity.

Growing up, I used to wish for lovely shiny things for my birthday. Now my only “wish” this year is to see progress toward the fulfillment of the vision God has placed on my heart: for underprivileged, orphan, and abandoned children in Asia to be raised up in God’s love and become the future leaders for His kingdom work. Please help make my “birthday wish” come true by spending a few minutes in prayer for the underprivileged children in Asia today!