As you may know I have finished my 2nd year of BSSM several months ago, but I thought I'd update you on where it all finished and some brief testimonies of God's goodness. Firstly my missions trip. I went with approx 20 people and our Revival Group Pastor to Bellingham, Washington State. Sometimes it can be so easy to think "is this really a missions trip?". I am reminded that Jesus said go into all the world (Mark 16:15) and make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:19). This doesn't mean only areas outside of the western world, or non-English speaking countries, or even miss my hometown. It very much includes all of them, so off I went to Bellingham.
I was taken back by the love and courage our group showed. We did street evangelism, went to University campuses, homeless shelters and pre-planned concert events...... and many other things to spread the love of Jesus. Above all though, the team just genuinely loved on people and wanted to see the best for whoever they encountered. They prayed for healing, for people's families, restoration of lives, hope and salvation, but they also respected those who didn't want to hear. They respected their wishes and just loved them even in the midst of being rejected. Then they just listened to the Holy Spirit and went right on loving the next person they felt to talk to. These are people just like you and me, who were prepared to put aside their own emotions to serve and love people with the purpose of bringing the love of Jesus to those they encountered in whatever their setting. It was truly an honoring time to be with them all.
During the trip, we joined up with another ministry called "Carry the Love" to put on an event at the Mt Baker Theater in Bellingham. There were a few things that made this event so special. Firstly, it was non-denominational event and had the backing of basically every church in the city. Yep, they all partnered with each other, they all had people there and no one church had their name up in lights. We all came and served the Carry the Love team with the goal of showing the love of Jesus. Another incredible aspect of this event was that the idea to do this came from a girl in youth! She had a dream about an event at this venue and felt it was a God-dream, so she chased it. As you can tell, Pastors and churches got behind this young lady (I cant remember her exact age, either 16 or 17) and supported her believing her dream was from God.
Interestingly, the year before, a similar type event was held for the youth of the city. Only 30-40 young people showed up. You can appreciate, this was quite a risk everyone was taking when they sought the Lord, backed this young lady and booked this theater. Everyone was nervous, but trusting in God for something unusual to happen. So how did the event go? I hear someone ask. Well, there ended up being almost 700 young people turn up to this event!! Around 35 people gave their yes to Jesus! Yep, as many people gave their lives to Christ and said 'Jesus, I will do it your way' as there was in attendance the year before. It was amazing!
So, after finishing 2 years at BSSM, I am saying yes to another year. I am coming back to do one more year as a third year student. Third year is different to the first 2 years in that you really hardly spend anytime in class, rather you spend the year serving a mentor and applying what you have learnt from your first 2 years. For me, I will be serving the amazing woman who was my Pastor in my 2nd year: Hannah Giddens. Here, I will get the opportunity to sow into her ministry and goals, as well as the 2nd year BSSM goals. It will be a chance to give away what was freely given to me. Part of my responsibilities will be mentoring some of the new 2nd year students. What a challenge and a privilege this will be and I look forward to it, albeit with some nerves. Also, Jo has given her yes and will be doing first year BSSM which is super exciting! It will be fantastic, albeit a logistical challenge, to do school at the same time.
I just want to finish by saying thank you. You don't quit your job, take your family to the other side of the world and spend 2 (now 3) years doing this without help from a larger community. As you may or may not know, as international students here in the US we are under strict regulations that prevent us from doing any work whilst here. Nope, not even mowing a lawn for money is allowed. As you may appreciate, this creates unique financial and emotional pressures. It also creates an even more unique opportunity to partner with God, believe what He says about loving us and never letting us down and press on in faith. So we say a huge thank you to those who have partnered with us financially to help with daily living expenses, tuition expenses, transport expenses, mission and ministry trip expenses and just donations to help us however we have needed it. We continually pray the seed you sow into our lives will be returned to you 100 fold!! :) We also give a big thanks to our prayer partners. Those who spend time praying for us in ways we don't even realise. Without community none of us thrive, so thank you. We know God loves us by your actions. It really does mean that much.
I pray something in this update touches you personally and shows you another facet of just how good God is.