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We returned from the mission field last week, and now are back to the everyday routine, except with a whole new outlook on the work. Knowing what we've been a part of and what is being accomplish on the field is one thing, seeing it with your own eyes is another. I always knew that behind the power points, pictures and stories, there were real people but now I know what kind of people are behind them. People with tears, laughter, hopes and dreams and faces with lines on them that tell stories. It's been a real eye opener.

Yes, I'd been overseas before but I did not see the work of God in action like I did this time. We saw many things, heard lots of honking from unorganized traffic and experienced a whole new world in comparison to North American life. Through the heat of each day, from one destination to another we had much time sitting in a vehicle and time to think about all we were seeing. It begged the question, what on earth am I here for? Am I going to build my kingdom here in the sand or live for the one True God and His Kingdom? Creation groans for the redemption of Jesus Christ. Am I willing to yield myself to God and be used by Him to impact the world with His love? Yes, because Jesus paid for my freedom with His blood, I owe Him my life.

 One of the things that impacted me most was seeing the Widow’s ministry. A group of widows were gathered under tarps when we arrived. They all sat on the ground but they had put chairs out for us to sit on. They greeted us with flowers and much affection. Then, a few of the widows shared their testimonies. As one as one was finished sharing her testimony another would stand up, then another. It was touching because all they wanted was a voice and someone to hear them. I can’t imagine myself in their place. I hadn't thought much of the deep scars on their lives and what it would be like for them to lose their husband. But as they shared they had to fight tears because they recalled the memories as though they were yesterday when their husband didn't return home again. Now left to fend and provide for the family, forced to earn a living by daily labour for other villagers, life itself became a burden. 

But that wasn't how things remained. Our dear Sisters of Compassion and brothers were sent to share the hope of Christ with these precious women and to care for them. To help them with domestic work and make a way for them to have a community together with one another and with God at the centre. It wouldn't have happened this way had someone not been sent to share the Good News with them. God's love stooped down and met these precious widows and their children where they were at and met all their needs. He cares for widows deeply and tells us in His word to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (James 1:27). What’s on my Father’s heart ought to be on my heart, not out of duty but because He loves, I also love. What a boundless joy to be a part of touching the lives of the people in Asia with the love of Jesus now, and seeing love in action. The harvest is still plentiful, and the workers are still few (Luke 10:2), there's much work to be done. 

—Disciple in GFA Discipleship Program




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Serving LepersThroughout our trip I was encouraged to realise that, yes, my prayers do make a difference and in awe of the fact that that God has chosen me to be a part of the work that He is doing on the mission field.

 I felt so humbled and privileged to get to see and experience the many different ways that lives are being touched through God’s love. To see the love on a widow’s face as she expressed her gratitude for the hope that she has found in God or the life and excitement in the eyes of the children at the Bridge of Hope centres we visited. Their smiles and joy reflect the fact that for the first time in their lives they have hope and a future ahead of them.

What an honour it was to get to pray for the missionaries who give up everything, face persecution and count it all joy for the sake of reaching those in need! I felt so small alongside them and yet they would ask me to pray for them. Because we are a team and both the senders and the workers, the prayers and those on the front lines are absolutely vital to this work that God has called us to.

I was touched by the example of the Sisters of Compassion we met serving in the leprosy colony. They are willing to go beyond the barriers of culture and society to serve and actually touch the lepers. Through this they show the lepers that in God’s eyes they are worth loving and touching and holding. They are no longer just lepers but precious men and women, so valuable in the sight of God!

To sum it all up I would say that the one thing that impacted me the most on this trip was the love that I experienced, God’s love. It was expressed in the lives of the missionaries who are love in action. It shined out of them in a way that made me say, ‘there is something different about that person.’ God’s love is what causes the Sisters of Compassion to touch the lepers, wipes away the tears of the widow and gives the destitute children hope.

In response to all I have seen and experienced my prayer is that God’s love would also shine through my life in such a way that all those around me would be drawn to Christ as a result. May His love be the reason behind all that I do and the focus of my life. Only through God’s love will I be able to lay down my life and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world around me.

As it says in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

And verse 13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

~ Disciple in the Discipleship Program



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Has the Lord ever prompted you to pray for something very specific but you were uncertain whether the Lord would answer or if it was really from Him? I’ve been there, and I am excited to share with you how the Lord does answer specific prayers when they are according to His will to strengthen our faith and to bring Him glory.

 Jeremiah 29:11-12. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

It was a year or two ago when the Lord impressed upon my heart to pray for something specific and trust Him to bring the answer within a certain time frame. I had heard others share how the Lord answered specific prayer; but I wasn’t ready to commit myself to what the Lord was asking me to pray for. It just seemed to impossible for me. I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”” And I know this is talking about the rich young ruler walking away from Jesus; but somehow the words that are italicized challenged me to step out in faith and watch God work out the impossibilities.

Well I came to the point of surrender and stepped out in faith to watch God answer my specific prayer. By now you may be very curious as to what the request was that I was praying for and whether the Lord answered my heart’s desire. The request was for a trip overseas for my 30th birthday, which sounds silly and rather selfish, doesn’t it? I thought so too at first which was part of my hesitation when praying about it; but the Lord had given me that desire and all he asked me to do was tell only Him, pray and believe. This trip wasn’t for relaxing and vacationing; but rather to visit friends who were on the mission field and see what the Lord was doing in and through their lives.

Bridge1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” The Lord called me to trust Him and by His grace and perfect timing I was able to visit the mission field before my 31st birthday, so technically in my 30th year the Lord answered my prayers and showed that He is faithful all the time. We serve an awesome God who delights in blessings His children and watching grow in trusting Him.



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Greatest of These is Love

Recently I was blessed to go on a vision tour to Asia as part of the Discipleship Program.

Being able to go on this trip and see the work that God is doing on the mission field and that my life has been a part during my time in the Discipleship Program was an amazing privilege and a very impactful experience for me.

God used my time there to give me a greater understanding of the difference that the hope of Christ can make in the lives of those who are without hope and in desperate need. As we travelled to different areas of the mission field I saw much hopelessness and suffering and was reminded that Jesus is the only true Hope.

 I was challenged by the example of the missionaries I met there whose joy was to serve and be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around them, whose love for Jesus shines on their faces and whose unity and oneness enables them to effectively serve as a team. Men like one of the brothers we met who is serving in a slum ministry. This pastor has given his life to living amongst and serving the hurting and needy people in the slum. When we met *Pastor David during our visit there, I was struck by his love for the Lord and his dedication to reaching the people around Him with Jesus’ love. He and his wife live with just the bare necessities of life in the same condition as those they are ministering to in the slum.

Pastor David is the only Christian in his family. He shared with us how as a young person he got into the wrong crowd and his friends were a bad influence on his life. He was involved in lots of parties and drinking. A pastor came to his area looking for young men to mentor and to send to Bible School. He met David and some of his friends and began sharing about God’s love with them. The pastor asked them why they were destroying their lives and told them that God loved them and had something better for them to do. God used that conversation to speak to David’s heart and he made the decision to commit his life to Christ.

Now Pastor David is able to minister to other people who are living in the same hopeless condition that he was. We had the opportunity to attend a house church that he is leading in the slum and meet some of the believers who are there.  It was a blessing to worship alongside them and know that even though our cultures are worlds apart and we don't speak the same language, we can still worship the same God together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

*For security reasons name has been changed.

 



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I wrote a post over a year ago while I was in the US about being independent; you can read it here. The general idea behind what I wrote was that I needed to be okay with asking for help from those around me. This remains and stands true, but God has recently taken me one step further than that even.

In my walk with Jesus and growing to know Him more, I have come to the realization that I need to not only avoid being independent of those around me, but I need to stay very close to Jesus from one day to the next. As it says in the Psalms...

He only [is] my rock and my salvation; [He is] my defense; I shall not be moved. In God [is] my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, [And] my refuge, [is] in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God [is] a refuge for us. Selah

— Psalms 62:6-8 NKJV

...I need to be trusting in God always. Whenever temptation or my human frailty creeps up on me, I need to run back to Jesus.

Another verse that we are rather familiar with...

Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

— 1Thessalonians 5:17-18 NKJV

...is also an encouragement as it outlines exactly what I have found to be necessary in my life. Without going to Jesus on an almost hourly basis I have no strength to live a life that pleases Him.

As part of the Discipleship Program we've been reading The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Laurence. This book has been a great encouragement to me in my learning to walk closely to Jesus. Brother Laurence describes what it looked like for him to walk with Jesus; doing every act solely out of a deep, heartfelt love for God.

He also describes his challenges in this growth. I can see myself, toddling along, beside the great strides that he was taking. Of course, he had decades of experience and practice; just as in everything else, practice makes perfect.

This is my desire; to walk with Jesus daily, hourly, and minutely. If I'm not there yet (I'm not), I will keep going forward and growing as I walk. Maybe by the time I become a senior citizen I will have steps to match Brother Laurence.



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