It sure does feel strange to be graduated from the School of Discipleship and right between coming back on staff with GFA, and not gone yet. I’m glad for the chance to stay here longer to help out in the office during the craziness of the new data change, and to help train the new student that will take my place in the Volunteer department. But it doesn’t leave much time for processing all that has happened this year and the last few hectic weeks of class. So I was re-reading my latest Owley Report (Newsletter) and here are the things I wrote about.
- The Bonsai House! This is my last newsletter while living in the Bonsai house. I’m going to miss my roommates that became like sisters. I’m sure glad we will spend eternity together! Check out some stuff we did on Youtube! Just search “Ninjacat12890”
- We went evangelizing for the third of July.
- My entire School of Discipleship class. We had a bunch of fun together and learned a lot from God this year. I’m glad I got to go through it all with them. I’m never going to forget this year that we spent together.
- We got the chance to challenge ourselves by participating in a ropes course together. Some of the challenges were trust exercises, jumping off a 25 foot pole onto a trapeze bar, and climbing a 30 foot rock wall followed by a zip-line. It was awesome! Not to mention the fact that we saw an armadillo! Alive!!!
- We have one more week of classes left! Recently we finished the book Stoked, by Danny Lehman. It was very challenging, and I enjoyed it. Next we go through one of Uncle KP’s booklets called Stay Encouraged. Before we go through that though, we had to give 10 minute speeches on a verse or passage in the Bible that God used in our lives this year. I gave mine on Romans 8:28.
- On July 20, 2010 the August School of Discipleship class of 2009 graduated. It was an amazing ceremony, Uncle Gayle Erwin, author of The Jesus Style spoke, and the students each shared a parting gift of encouragement and thanks to the staff and families of GFA. This has been an amazing year full of growth, laughter, and love. Four of us are coming back on staff after we go back for support raising. The other three are all going home to see what the Lord’s plan is for them. Please be praying for each of us in our journeys with God. 🙂
Even though those last weeks were packed full of lessons from God, fun activities, and lots of cleaning, it was awesome to spend it with my class. Our class really did become like a little family unit within the GFA family, and I will continue to pray for my amazing friends/brothers/sisters.
I learned two valuable things from God’s Word that helped me get through the year in the School of Discipleship. The year was the best year of my life, but it was also tough.
Lesson #1- Before I became a believer I was a rebel and so full of anger. Every week it seemed I was rebelling against authority and getting the police called on me.
Most of this happened in 8th grade. One year later I found Jesus and my heart changed towards my authorities and I began to love and respect them.
When I came to the School of Discipleship I was put into a new situation where I had a Christian authority over me – my house leader. I struggled with that but soon enough through living under my house leader and reading K.P.’s book Touching Godliness Through Submission and reading examples from God’s word my heart started changing towards my authorities.
Hebrews13:17 says, “obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
God really spoke to me through this verse. I realized I need to be praying for my leaders and submit to their authority.
Praying and being thankful for my leaders really changed my attitude toward them and I began to really love and appreciate them. I didn’t so much show rebellion on the outside, but on the inside I had rebellion in my heart towards my leaders during the beginning of the year.
From that Hebrews passage I realized that my obedience and cooperation with my leader would make their duty as a leader a joy and not something they dread or fear.
If we put our heart right before God and obey His Word then I believe we will submit to our authorities with no problem. This is something God taught me that was very valuable and even today I’m continuing to learn this.
In light of this, I used to hate cops, but today I find myself thanking God for every cop that I see on the road. They’re God’s delegated authority and I see them as one of God’s tools He uses to protect us and watch over us.
So, every time you see a cop thank God for them.
Lesson #2- The second big lesson I learned during my year was in going through testing and trials and hard times that don’t make sense.
My house went through the story of Joseph as a Bible study. He is like my favorite old testament guy and probably my favorite old testament story. Just how He went through trials and yet obeyed God and saw what God was going to make of this situation just amazed me.
Though he was mistreated by his brothers and then put into slavery, Joseph always thought positively and saw that God was going to bring about good in this situation. I learned I need to apply this to my life, to think positively in every situation and to know that God will bring about good in every situation…He’ll bring about maturity and growth in my life as the book of James says.
What I didn’t know was that soon after going through this study I would go through possibly one of the most confusing and dark times of my life as a believer.
A Monday evening I got a call saying my biological father had a heart attack and passed away. I thought it was a nightmare. I was confused. I was told I needed to come home right away.
The next day I flew home to Iowa. I didn’t know what to do, I was so confused and I didn’t want to talk to anyone. But everyone at Gospel For Asia showed me love in this time and I felt Jesus’ love more then ever before.
After a week I came back to Dallas and was ready to be back to serving the Lord where He had called me.
I saw God’s faithfulness in so many areas as I walked through this dark time. Joseph’s life example and the book of James helped me go through this time. Aww, it’s so good to be apart of this Gospel For Asia family where there is so much love and grace.
So, those are the two lessons God brought me through during my year in the School of Discipleship and I’m delighted to share them with you and hope you’re encouraged. Gospel For Asia is a great place, especially being a part of the School of Discipleship!
Be encouraged. If you come here for a year, you will be in good hands! It was the best year of my life, despite the struggles I had!
Like one of my fellow students posted about earlier, we had the opportunity to go evangelizing in a park not too long ago. We went two by two, and trusting in the Lord to direct our paths. This time, I decided to take my guitar along with me so that I could play it and draw people over towards me and my partner, and then we could engage them in conversations. Anyway, we got dropped off at this park, I was partnered with another fellow student, and we decided to go walk down the path to see if there were any people there. First, we see this older gentleman with a dog. He rejected the tract. So, our number one attempt was a fail, but hey, at least he knows we cared enough about him to try. So I’ll take it as a win in my book.
After that we decided to go by the entrance to the park to sit on the bench and I’d try my guitar tactic. It didn’t work…and it was a little awkward to be playing my guitar when there was a tennis court right behind us. So I packed up and we went walking again. The next three opportunities were a success, the people took the tracts! Praise God! Now that we had some successes, we decided to walk through the neighborhood to see if there was anyone outside their houses in the Texas heat.
We got a tad lost…so we headed in the general direction we thought the park was after no success with the neighborhood. When we were nearing the park, we saw a group of teens hanging out with a video camera. So we went up to them and started talking to them. It was a great conversation. After a while we got the chance to share about the School of Discipleship with them, and about India, and about Gospel for Asia. At the end, we gave them two free books and headed back to our rendezvous point so that we could go home.
This whole experience was exhilerating though! I was so excited that I got the chance to share with people about Jesus, and that for the most part, they listened! I was afraid at first that my fear of people would get in the way of me actually having a conversation with people, but God is good and gave me just enough courage and boldness to step out in faith and share. Praise God!
I love evangelizing now! When I go home, after I graduate in July, I plan on taking my brother with me to evangelize around my hometown in Pennsylvania. If God is with me here in Texas, I’m 100% positive He will be with me in PA.
God is good!
So I learned two things yesterday. One, running was created as the worst kind of torture—fact. But two, and this is really the purpose of blogging here today, I am a very material centered person. Now I guess these are both things I have “known” before, but yesterday really just confirmed them.
See, yesterday afternoon I decided that when I went home then I would try to be productive and clear out a lot of my things that I don’t need. The whole idea of trying to simplify my life with all the clutter of stuff so that I wouldn’t be distracted by them anymore so that I would be more free to focus on God was an appealing and logical idea that I wished to pursue.
HOWEVER, this task took a lot more effort then I had anticipated. I was pulling out clothes I haven’t worn in forever, and realistically I forgot I even had them and yet I was extremely hesitant to give them away. But why is that?? I kept thinking of reasons to hold on to my 4th long sleeved black shirt (what if I need to go painting and some of the paint spills on my other 3?). really? that was my excuse?
And after much clinging and some relinquishing, I did manage to collect one large bag of clothes but I held on to a lot more then was necessary I’m sure. Maybe in the next couple months I will go for a take two and try again, cause who really needs eight hoodies? Texas isn’t THAT cold…