I Love Mockingbirds. They are just happy all of the time, and it seems like to me that they are free to sing whatever they want; they can chirp, squeak, trill, peep…you get the picture. Any way I love them, and yesterday I was sitting at my desk thinking to myself, “I haven’t seen a mockingbird in forever!” (they usually are all over down here in Texas). I really wanted to see, and hear a mockingbird (did I mention they are AWESOME!).
But I wrote it off because one, it’s not spring, and two, it was cold and if I were a bird I would want to be where it is warm right now. So that was me, depressed and sitting at my desk because there were no mockingbirds in Texas.
This morning I awoke from my very restful sleep, I sleepily got dressed and went outside for my morning prayer/walking time, but as I closed the door of my apartment guess what I heard! A MOCKINGBIRD! Needless to say I thought it was cool, but not much more than that until I started praying.
“That bird is for you” said a still small voice, “What!? No way! Are you serious God? You care enough about me to put a single mockingbird on the roof of an apartment complex, in the middle of Carrollton, in the state of Texas, in the center of America, in the country of the United States, on a tiny planet called earth, in a tiny solar system (comparatively), in a huge galaxy, in the unending expanse of space? It’s not possible!”
Or is it? In John 17:23 says “…Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Emphasis mine). Friends God loves us as much as he loves Jesus Christ! It blows my mind the vastness of His affection for us. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I didn’t even pray for that Mockingbird, but God still put it there for me, and the reality probably is that He does stuff like that for us all the time!
I will stop saying things now and let scripture speak for itself:
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air (Strangely appropriate); they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I remember when I landed in Texas on August 17th, 2012, after a long flight from my hometown Boise, ID. I got off the plane, my eyes red from crying most of the flight over (after an emotional goodbye with my family and best friend), and made my way to the baggage claim. I got a text from my house mentor, someone I had never met and only talked to on the phone briefly, and told her I was short and wearing an orange shirt. She found me and I remember walking out of the airport and being smacked in the face with the heat and humidity that makes mid-August infamous in Texas for. The drive to my apartment was so much to take in. The sky felt so huge…and I realized that’s because there were no mountains. Everything was flat. And brown. I remember thinking, ok, Lord, here I am sacrificing this year to You like You asked. Let’s get it over with so I can get on with the life I’ve dreamed of having – being a pilot in the Air Force, maybe studying Journalism, and eventually becoming a missionary pilot (long down the road, that is).
Here I am, nearly a year later, still disliking Texas and the heat as much as when I first came, but so thankful for the year I’ve had here and so completely changed by the Lord that I’ll be coming back to live here and serve as a full-time staff member of Gospel For Asia for as long as the Lord wills me to. Isn’t that crazy? Tell me this is where I would be a year ago and I would have smacked you! Just kidding. But seriously, when you buckle down and seek the Lord’s will – actually desire to know what HE wants for you, not what YOU would like Him to want for you – surprising things are going to happen. You might just have to give up dreams you’ve cherished since you were tiny. You might have to give up comforts, like living in an area of the country that is absolutely beautiful and perfect to go to one that nearly kills you with its humidity and heat and insanely large insects. You might have to accept the fact that you won’t be around for as many family holidays as you would like…you might miss important family milestones and even feel a bit lonely, seperated from the people you’ve lived with and loved all your life.
It’s different for each person, but giving things up comes with picking up your cross and following our Savior. Does that sound depressing? It’s difficult, yes. But when I understand that the desires of my heart are now irreversably entwined with the desires the Lord has for me, and when I dwell on His incredible love, and how like in Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete only in Him, and chapter 3:3, my life is hidden with Christ, and He is now my life, then my perspective changes and there is nothing I would rather be doing than following where He leads.
Home is with Him. That’s one thing I’ve learned this year. If He calls me to Antarctica it would be all right, because He is with me in Antarctica and I am fulfilling the purpose He created me for by obeying Him.
Spending a year here at Gospel For Asia’s School of Discipleship has taught me a marvelous paradox…to obtain freedom, I must become a slave. To experiance life to the fullest, I must die – only in sacrifice will I gain my heart’s desire. Prayer is the most powerful weapon given to mankind – the ability to enter the presence of the Lord God Almighty and to intercede before His throne. Fellowship and transparency with the body of believers is vital to spiritual growth. Brokenness and submission are worthy goals I will be striving all my life to attain. And the greatest of all is LOVE.
As my year here ends, so does this chapter of my life. But the full story, the great adventure, is just beginning.
First of all, I just wanted to say that this blog is amazing! This is my first time blogging anything, and it definitely won’t be the last!
Alright, now to business……
For those of you who don’t know me very well, I thought it would be a good idea for me to let you know a few things about me.
My parents have been with Gospel for Asia for almost ten years now. When I was nine years old my family packed up and drove from Washington state with it’s mountains and tress, to the wide open spaces and vast horizon of Texas. We then started to serve at the Gospel For Asia office in Texas. It was quite a transition for my family, but totally worth it!
Knowing this about my family, you now know that I have grown up around the community of Gospel For Asia for over half my short life! It still boggles my mind to think about it.
While being at Gospel For Asia, I have seen many School of Discipleship students come and go. Some stay and raise their support to come on staff, and others go back home to follow the call that God placed on their lives.
As I observed the School of Discipleship students from the perspective of a staff kid, I saw young adults having fun and growing in their walk with the Lord. By the time they graduated, most had a passion and love for Jesus I wished and longed to have as well.
Now that I am a School of Discipleship student myself (at the Canadian campus), I see now that the School of Discipleship is not all fun and games. There are times of fun, don’t get me wrong. However, there are also seasons of struggles and trials. Please don’t misunderstand me, I have learned so many lessons during the couple months that I have been here. I praise the Lord for the trials because I realize that I cannot grow in my relationship with Jesus unless I die to myself daily. I am encouraged when I remember that as I go through the refining fire, I will end up as pure gold. Thank you Jesus!
I am extremely thankful to the Lord for His call to give one year of my life to serve at Gospel for Asia Canada. I now have passed the stage of Gospel For Asia staff kid to a School of Discipleship student. Praise the Lord!
1) You will encounter Jesus Christ like never before.
2) Grow more Christ-like in character under the love and guidence of godly teachers and mentors.
3) Build lifelong friendships.
4) Serve Christ and reach the lost in an incredible way.
5) Live passionately, with eternity in mind, to win the lost to Christ.
6) Make a difference by interceding for the lost world regularly.
7) Gain practical life experience working in international ministry headquarters.
8) Learn and develop practical life skills like time management and public speaking.
9) Practical opportunities to put your faith into action
10) Oh, and everything is bigger and better in Texas!
These are my Top 10 Reasons!
Pastor David shares how his daughter Stephanie has been impacted by Gospel For Asia’s one year School of Discipleship.
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