I am so blessed to serve with a Body of Believers who are really like the Church in Acts. We are all here for two purposes: to grow closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and to proclaim His name and His glory to those millions who haven’t heard His name.
The reason I write this post is because I have been struggling with headaches consistently everyday for the past… 7 months? And when I walked down the hallway today, someone stopped me to see how I’m doing. When I mentioned the headache, they stopped what they were doing and prayed for me right then and there. This is not an uncommon occurrence, actually it happens all the time. We are a people who pray together constantly, are transparent with one another as the Body should be, we are there to encourage and give of ourselves (out of the strength of God) to help others, we love others even when its hard to do. The staff here at Gospel for Asia are living out what it means to be the Body of Christ. And I am so encouraged by it.
I’m sure there are other places out there that are similar. But I am so blessed to be a part of this family. 🙂
—School of Discipleship Alumni
The broken bridges, the desert plains, these are images that come to my mind when I think of what the past has been. I came here to School of Discipleship thinking my walk with the Lord would grow stronger, and it did. What I didn’t realize is how I would face myself. When we truly seek the Lord and ask Him to change us, we will have to face who we really are, behind the walls, the gates, the bars and all the defenses we throw up. That is a hard thing to do, facing yourself. When we get to know our true selves we won’t like who we are, but we have to remember that the Lord changes us. He seeks out our hearts as we seek out His and He will change us from the inside out. We just have to allow Him to change us.
It will not be easy to bear as the Lord starts changing us; it can be a slow process. It will often be painful in these times. The world will seem to have flipped upside down but God is still God, no matter what. Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship is one of the safest places to really let your guard down before the Lord. As you let your guard down, your guard will began to drop with your housemates, your supervisors, and your department heads and that may terrify you. However, as will be reiterated and reminded of you many times over, the Lord is always with you, so lean on Him. The Lord has brought me here to Gospel for Asia for a reason and that is to grow in Him and part of that is change.
Something important to understand about School of Discipleship is that people will constantly encourage you into the arms of the Lord, and that is the best thing that can happen. You can cry here, you can be vulnerable, it’ll happen at some point whether you want it to or not. There is so much of the Lord’s presence here and His heart is lived out. People will ask you if you are OK and genuinely want to know if you are. You may find yourself responding with disarming honesty, you may find that you can no longer give the phony answer. If you can or do give the phony answer, you’ll feel as if you’ve missed the opportunity to reach out and be part of the body.
That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned here, The Body of Christ. Christ’s Body is made up of so many other Christians and they are meant to be there for us, to exhort and uplift one another in the pursuit of God and His Will. I have discovered that the Body of Christ is a genuine thing and God has used it to soften my heart in areas I had not realized my heart was hard in. Don’t be afraid to grow, don’t be afraid to reach out to others. It’s hard and may not turn out as you expect but there are times God will use it. You will be blown away and through it all you will realize how much He loves you, cares for you, desires your heart and to know you. School of Discipleship is a tool God uses greatly to shape young Christians. Through School of Discipleship you will be introduced to a true Body of Christ (if you’re like me you had never experienced it before) and yourself. It is good. Learn what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. School of Discipleship will teach you.
What gives the blood of Jesus it’s power? Roy Hession states this answer in his book, The Calvary Road: “that which gives the precious blood its power with God for men is the lamb-like disposition of the One who shed it and of which it is the supreme expression. ”
For almost two weeks now, my whole class has been going through this book which emphasizes on understanding what it means to be broken and humble like Christ. We are finding plenty of opportunities to be broken and to love without expectations, especially because we get to apply everything we are learning at work and at home.
Since the Lord is in the midst of our everyday conversations and decisions, there is no way we could simply talk about brokenness and not find ourselves quickly dealing with our convictions when we offend someone or when we enter in denial of our need for God.
As for me, within this week alone, I have been offended by at least two people. Pride arises so quickly in me during these experiences and I would venture on to give excuses for my bitterness toward my offenders.
But there really is no getting around it.
I live with my peers and Jesus knows exactly how to make a reality what we have been discussing and reading about. Plus, we read Philippians 2-3:11 at least twice a week for the whole month of October. It speaks of considering others before oneself and thus exemplifying the life of Jesus, who is the very reason why we joined School of Discipleship in the first place! As a result, there has been a lot of “I’m sorry’s” and “I forgive you’s” going around. Praise the Lord.
By God’s grace, in the midst of my own struggles, I am becoming more conscious of the bigger picture. I am recognizing my self-focus; and more importantly, I am learning to obey the gentle rebuke of my heavenly Father. My peers and I are finding that there truly is power in the blood of Jesus through brokenness. Beyond the little annoyances and selfishness in our hearts is healing, true character building, and a deeper sense of fellowship through humility.
Our union as Christ’s body grows stronger each day as we obey the Lord’s voice in our individual lives. Thanks to our classes and the experience of living in an interdependent community all centered on Jesus Christ, the humble lamb of God. We are learning what it means to be broken and humble in the small things. How encouraging. Imagine the big things that God must be planning for our lives in the future to glorify Himself.
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.
While travelling back from the Gospel For Asia UK retreat last weekend, one of us remarked on how much of a blessing my great-aunt’s car is to a couple on staff. As I followed my great-aunt’s car home, which I have nicknamed Dorothy after her, I took a trip down memory lane. I couldn’t help but praise the Lord for taking something as ordinary as a car and making it significant for His Kingdom.
Dorothy, the car, is a testimony of God’s goodness to my family, my Gospel For Asia family and even to the most unreached. Dorothy began her life in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when my great-aunt bought her to take her to the shops, the hairdresser and her many social engagements. Dorothy was kept busy. My great-aunt was remarkable in many ways and she kept me on my toes. She liked to teach me the proper way to do things including brewing a good cup of British tea. I enjoyed drinking tea with her and listening to stories from her life. One of my favourites is of her playing billiards with Second World War soldiers in London during a German bombing. They choose to continue their game rather than retreat to a bunker! She lived a full and exciting life, which meant growing old was her enemy.
Dorothy, the car, was very important to my great-aunt as this was her link to the life she once had. As her health deteriorated, Dorothy got taken out less frequently. This is when my great-aunt began to seriously consider the life to come. One fateful day my great-aunt caused a car accident which required her to take a driving test for the first time in her life. My gracious and very patient mum helped her practice for the test in Dorothy. She managed to pass the test despite finding it hard to hear the driving examiner’s instructions. Unfortunately, the stress was too much for my great-aunt and she never got to drive Dorothy again. Confinement to her apartment forced her to consider eternally significant questions and she opened up to my mum.
The Lord only knows with certainty where my great-aunt is today, nevertheless, my mum and I are hopeful. We were especially encouraged by her funeral arrangements which she had organised herself, as she had changed the hymns last minute to include “Amazing Grace.” She left the car, Dorothy, to my mum who then gave it to my brother, Richard. Last year, Dorothy took Richard on a life-changing adventure to England. Today, Dorothy belongs to a couple on staff with Gospel For Asia, which is the Lord’s provision. I find it incredible that my great-aunt’s car is being used to reach those who have never heard the precious name of Jesus. Seeing Dorothy at the Gospel For Asia office everyday reminds me of God’s goodness. He can take something ordinary, bless and multiply it beyond what I could imagine, even beyond a lifetime. Dorothy lives on, serving the Lord in Gospel For Asia UK. I wonder what my great-aunt would say to me if she knew her car belonged to Gospel For Asia-missionaries. Maybe that living for eternity is all that matters.
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?
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?
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