Why I chose to come to the GFA School of Discipleship

#1 I came to grow in my walk with the Lord.
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The focus of GFA School of Discipleship is to know Jesus more fully and intimately and that is what I was longing for in my own life. Growing up in a Christian home I knew a lot about what it meant to follow Christ but often times knowing was only as far as it went, I didn’t actually live it out. I felt frustrated because I knew my walk with the Lord was not where it should be at but I didn’t know what to do about it. In my heart I wasn’t satisfied with just a superficial relationship with the Lord. I wanted to experience that kind of Christianity that I read about in the Bible, to look beyond what I experience in the here and now and live in light of eternity. It was out of this dissatisfaction with “good enough” Christianity that God challenged me to lay everything aside for one year and come to DP to pursue Him.

#2 I came to be involved in missions.

When I was 18 years old I went on my first short term mission trip to Malawi, Africa and it opened my eyes to the reality of a world in need of Christ. God challenged me to see the people I met as He did, broken and lost without Him, and He began to stir in my heart a desire to commit my life to reaching the world with the hope of the Christ. I returned home knowing that God was calling me to be involved in missions in some way but not knowing how or what that would look like. It was around that time that I first started to consider coming to GFA Discipleship Program. It is a unique program offering young people the opportunity to spend a life-changing year at GFA’s home office in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. Participants come to study and grow in true discipleship as well as serve in a ministry role alongside GFA home team staff. The program provided the perfect opportunity for me to not only be involved in missions but also to grow in my walk with the Lord. After learning about the program it took quite some time before I actually had the courage to commit to coming. I knew that God was calling me to set aside one year of my life to pursue Him but I wasn’t yet willing to leave behind all that I was comfortable and familiar with in order to obey His voice.

#3 I came to step out of my comfort zone.

I was never the type of person to pursue adventure. I would much rather stay with what was safe and familiar than to step out with faith into the unknown. Needless to say the decision to come to the Discipleship Program was a pretty major one for me. To start with there was fundraising, which meant I had to actually talk to people and ask them for money, there’s nothing safe and comfortable about that. I had to be willing to leave behind my home and family for one year, move across the country to Ontario, (Did I mention leaving the farm to live in the city for the first time?) and live with a bunch of people I had never met before. While I knew that stepping into the unknown would be scary I also knew that I would benefit greatly from it. Because I would no longer be able to rely on what I was comfortable and familiar with I was going to have to totally rely on the Lord and trust in His grace to see me through. I knew that the Lord was asking me to be willing to let go of reliance on self and instead rely totally on Him.

#4 I came to be a part of a community.

One aspect of the program that really stood out to me was the opportunity to live in community with believers whose passion is to love Christ and to serve others. I wanted to not only learn more about following Christ but to actually see it lived out in daily life. My desire was to learn from the example of older brothers and sisters who have walked with the Lord for many years and don’t just talk about having a radical faith, they actually live it out. The staff and leadership of GFA are committed to knowing the Lord and giving of their lives to make Him known to the world around them. They were willing to invest in my life and allow me to be a part of theirs showing me what it looks like to live as a part of the Body of Christ. I knew that community living would help me grow in being willing to open up my life to others, which was an area of my life that I struggled with. My desire was to develop Godly relationships that would and encourage me to pursue Christ above all else and keep me accountable in my walk with the Lord.

Written by a Discipleship Program Student in Canada

Do you have a desire to know Christ more? A hunger to pursue His call? Don’t wait any longer—apply to School of Discipleship by May 31st and find yourself transformed in the year to come!
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Growing Pains

1 Cor 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” I am learning what it is like to be part of the body of Christ and it all started when I began my journey in the Discipleship Program of Gospel for Asia. Though it has been challenging at times I am finding it to be worth the growing pains, with that I will begin to tell how this came to be.

Imagine with me if you can…

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Being rudely awakened by an alarm going off at 5 am across the room, knowing it’s not your own, you are somewhat annoyed. Then having the person hit snooze who knows how many times or not even hearing the alarm at all; but now you’re awake when you wanted to sleep till 5:55 am, which would have given you enough time to grab your bible and run up the stairs in time for family devotions at 6:00 am. But now you’re wide awake because she didn’t turn it off herself, what will you do? Be upset or extend grace and take the opportunity to spend more time with the Lord? You lie there thinking: If this is how the first few days are, what will it be like for eleven months and will you be able to handle it??

After a few months of getting to know each other and living together you start to realize just how blessed you are and how much you have grown in your character, your walk with the Lord, love for each other and how God has used each lovely lady to shape your life.

Though it may have been a scary thought at first to think of living with six other ladies it has turned out to be a growing experience, filled with both joys and sorrows. Who would have known that living in close quarters with people who were strangers at first could have become sisters and friends? These precious sisters have helped me to become more like Christ by their lives and examples of love and grace.

By living in a community setting I am learning what it is like to love, forgive, and extend grace. There are many opportunities to spur one another on toward love and good deeds, like it says in Heb 10. Daily we can learn more about God, each other and ourselves and what it is like to be the bride of Christ in one body with many different parts. I am truly grateful to be part of Gospel For Asia’s Discipleship Program. I have seen how the staff lives out what we have learned in our books and messages; they have shown me what it is like to be a unified body of Christ as each one fulfills their role in Christ. Col 3:12-15 has taken on new meaning as I’ve seen it lived out and I’ve been able to be part of it too.

Written by a Discipleship Program Student

Before the Day Began

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Time has gone by very fast this year.

It seems the month just begins and then it is the end. Now, there are just over a few weeks till the graduation of my first year at School of Discipleship.

Lately I’ve been pondering how fast time is going and struggling with what I can do to take advantage of it. I want to make the most of every last day, but how can I? How can I truly grasp everything out of today?

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I believe it starts at the beginning of the day.

A while ago I asked one of the staff at Gospel for Asia what keeps them focused on God throughout the day, and they said that it was spending time with God in the morning and surrendering the day into His hands. When they spent time with God in the morning they were more focused during the day. I find it challenging to focus on Jesus throughout the day a lot of the time; but giving myself to prayer and the study of God’s word early in the morning makes a difference. It’s kind of like putting on one’s armour for the day.

I once heard Joni Eareckson Tada (a lady who became a quadriplegic at a young age from a diving accident) say on the radio that she would pray a certain prayer every morning. It went something like this: “Lord, please look at the world through my eyes today and speak your words through my mouth and listen through my ears….” and so on until she had dedicated herself to God for that day.

This has stuck with me ever since I first heard it and I believe it is part of the reason why Joni is such a friendly, joyful, encouraging and loving person. And why she has impacted so many lives.  Because of Joni’s inspiration I want to write my own prayer of dedication and I thought I would share it with you.

“Dear Father,

This morning I give my eyes to you

For only your grace to shine through.

I give you my words today,

That my mouth may speak of your way.

Please take my ears for you to use,

May I hear only what you choose.

Whatever, Lord, my hands will do,

I dedicate it all to you.

Father, please lead the paths of my feet,

That I walk where joy and suffering gladly meet.

Each thought, each action, movement and plan,

I gave to you before the day began.

Amen.”

—School of Discipleship student

Life in the Body

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.

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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

Fellowship Music and A Coffee Shop

Bible Reading

Tonight was the last night that my three roommates and I went out for a time of fellowship together as roommates. However, I think this (and the first time) was my favorite of all. We travelled to a coffee shop that a friend had visited a while back. We were all kind of dragging ourselves out the door because it has been a rather long week and our tiredness was catching up to us. Once we arrived, we all got ourselves some yummy snacks, coffee beverages and a small dinner, sat in the back of the cafe, and proceeded to talk, play games, and have a grand old time.

Soon, two men started to perform some live music, which was kind of loud, but rather enjoyable at the same time – though we had to talk louder so we could hear each other. We didn’t mind. My friend beat me at Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe, we played a few rounds of Kings in the Corner, sang along with some of the songs the guys were playing, shared some goofy times of nonsense laughter, and then discussed what verses the Lord had been pointing out to us lately. Soon enough, we decided to put away the game of cards and read through a book of the Bible. Ephesians was chosen, and so we proceeded to read through it chapter by chapter (passing it to the next person at the start of a new chapter).

As we read through the Word of God, we stopped to comment on certain parts as they came up in our hearts. A lot of “AMEN!”s were said before we even finished the first chapter. It was so refreshing to open up this book after hearing two messages by Gayle Erwin who came to share some words of encouragement with the Gospel for Asia staff yesterday and this morning.

When the musicians took a break, one of the guys came back to our table (we had been applauding their music the whole time and so they decided to come say “hi”) and asked what we were doing. We told him that we were reading through Ephesians and he was glad to find out we were Christians as well.

As our time drew to a close (it was getting kind of late, and we were remembering how tired we were before discussing the Lord and His goodness) we closed the Word and drove home discussing how refreshing it is to meditate on His promises and remind ourselves of His truth.

Now it’s time for me to go to bed, but I wanted to reflect a little longer on this great time of fellowship that we had as roommates, but further than that, sisters in Christ. One Body. A Unity that can only be accomplished through the Spirit of the Lord that dwells in our hearts. I’d say this was a good way to “end” this chapter of my living situations, and I very much am looking forward to my next.

Thanks for listening!

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?

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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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