Oh what fun the past few months have been. I’m so glad that though there are spiritual struggles and battles, we have so much to celebrate. Filling a bedroom with balloons for a welcome home surprise, decorating office desks with streamers for birthday and anniversaries are some ways to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness in the lives of GFA family! God is so good and He gives us so much to rejoice over.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice! Philippians 4:4
I struggle to remember to rejoice, often, though I know that I’m saved and that the Holy Spirit dwells within me but I forget so easily that the battle is the Lord’s and He’s already won! I get caught up in areas where I fail that I forget to rejoice in the areas where I have experienced victory.
Being at GFA Canada where we celebrate continually is a blessing. Whether it is a birthday, anniversary or a Friday, there’s always something we are thanking the Lord for, through cake, decorations, or songs. In the Old Testament, the children of Israel were given feast days in which they were to remember the Lord’s mercy and deliverance. I think God knew we needed to have these days in order to rejoice, so we wouldn’t dwell on the negative and continue striving in our own strength.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Written by a Discipleship Program Student
Some people like to live alone and others don’t think they could survive. But everyone has a family and needs a family because we were created that way. Of course family doesn’t have to be blood related, family are the people we treasure the most.
I’ve been at Gospel For Asia’s Discipleship Program for 1 year and nearly 8 months. I’ve lived in the same house for this time, with the same people for the first year and then a few different people for the second year. I’ve gone to serve at the same office every week day with these people and others for this whole time. It’s like a family. No, I’m not related to any of the people here, I didn’t know any of them before I came. But they are family, and as a house we do everything together. We get up at 6 AM on Monday morning tired and quiet to pray together for the day ahead, we all understand each other because we’re feeling the same things, we slowly travel downstairs to exercise together still tired and quiet. The kitchen is busy at 7 AM as everyone is eating breakfast and getting their lunch for the day, but no one fights or argues, we’re all polite and love to serve each other. Then our house remains silent and empty, because we all head to the office for prayer and ministry service. We come home at 5:30 PM, tired and hungry. A couple of us cook a meal for everyone. At 7 PM we sit down and enjoy each other some more, we’re more awake than in the morning and are able to talk and tell about our day – the joys and the challenges because everyone understands. They’ve struggled with similar things too. I love this family I have, I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but I didn’t realise how close I am to these people until I thought about leaving at the end of the year. They are my friends that I can rely on, as Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (ESV). Here I have made friends who are closer than my own family. I still love my family very much, and I know they love me, but these people know far more than my family does about what I’ve experienced this year and 8 months. They are the friends I won’t forget.
Though I believe I could live alone if the LORD called me to do it, I have found a greater joy in living with others who have the same vision and goal as I do. I want to find family wherever I go because I believe it is God’s plan that His children (Christians related through the blood of Jesus) live together in unity and love, able to say to like Jesus did in Matthew 12:48-50, “But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
—School of Discipleship student
As School of Discipleship students we have a pretty packed schedule: class multiple times a week, doing assignments in the evenings, prayer meetings almost every day, working full time at Gospel For Asia, and then community service projects or evangelism on the weekends.
A few weeks ago my classmates and I also did some religion training sessions! We learned from people with Operation Mobilization about some different religions prevalent in Asia. We’re now better equipped to be witnesses for Christ here in North America, and also to better know how to pray.
Since we were learning about Asian culture and religion, we spent part of one Saturday afternoon visiting downtown Toronto’s Asian community town! We dressed in the cultural clothing, visited some different shops, and also enjoyed a delicious Asian meal.
Then we visited the CN Tower in Toronto!
We are both from Texas, so it was our first time visiting the CN Tower. Our group had a blast walking around downtown Toronto!
I am learning a ton of new things here at School of Discipleship…. but don’t worry…. I still do manage to have fun 🙂 Like today, for example… we got to start our house meeting before supper, then have a wonderful supper of barbequed burgers, macaroni salad, chips, and pickles….
Mmmm… BBQed Burgers! Thank you Sharlena and Elicia! Your GREAT cooks;)
Taking a picture of taking a picture;)
Then, best of all 😉 ice cream, chocolate sauce and bananas for dessert 🙂 It was scrumptious!! While enjoying our dessert, we finished our house meeting. Tonight was an evening where a few of us girls were having tons of fun just being silly 🙂 After fooling around for a bit, we got down to doing our assignments…
Right now, we are going through the book Before You Hit the Wall, along with the booklet Learning to Pray, the combination of these two are called Spiritual Disciplines. Prayer is a huge part of the ministry of Gospel for Asia, and it is an area that I consistently need to work on at this point in my life. Going through this book has been quite helpful, it has given me quite a bit of head knowledge, but the issue is that now I need to get down to it and make the choice to apply what I am learning, otherwise this year will benefit me very little!
Sometimes the choices that we have in life can be aggravating, and we complain that we have too many, but then when we were not given as many choices…. we complained that we didn’t have enough choices! I am so glad that God is in heaven, and that He knows what we are in need of and what will be a hindrance to us! May God be praised!
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?