J and B are leading in East Asia. (Having a hard time with the pic so go by the one in the email and just count it as a security thing like their names being hidden.) God has led them into a year of new challenges: for J who is ICS it is a new, much smaller city and for B is it a new role as Team Leader while on his 2nd year of STINT.
J writes: "After only a month of being in a new city, working on a new team, meeting new friends, I surprisingly feel right at home. It was refreshing today (Monday) as I met with 4 women in our fellowship to begin a bible study. After studying the life changing power of Jesus, the girls began to think through who they wanted to see the Lord change this year. I was really encouraged by their maturity and desire to grow closer to Him. For one girl, this was the first week she had met with other believers apart from the Romanian who led her to the Lord.
"Personally, God has really met me as I have moved to this smaller city, of only one million people. Although there are still many things that can rob me of my time, I have enjoyed the quieter, slower pace of life, as well as the smaller community. In this transition, God has been showing me more and more of what it means to place my complete confidence in Him and not myself or others."
B adds: "The transition from STINTer last year to STINT Team Leader has been interesting; humbling to say the least. We put our first steps on this desert land about three weeks ago and God has already begun to work. Here are some highlights: Just last night one student made a decision to receive Christ! In one week I will be taking a couple of our key students on their first ever Mission Trip! Two Days ago, I said to one of my disciples who will be graduating this spring, 'There were people in the Bible who focused on doing nothing else in their life besides sharing Christ with other people, have you ever thought about this?' He sobered up and said, 'Actually I have been thinking about this, I've been wondering if my plans after I graduate are mine or his. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.' Pray for him!"
B goes on to say: "On the team level we are... weak. We're deficient, and not capable of doing anything of eternal value on these campuses we walk on every day. We are definitely not professionals over here. Knowing this, and knowing our need for God to move we've adapted a commitment to Desperation this year. Our Vision statement is: 'Desperation for the Father to move here so Christ is glorified everywhere.' We simply can't do anything on our own. If we try, we will fail. In fact, if we try to do things here without the power of God through the Holy Spirit, all of our work will be burned up and it would seem as if our team had never come here at all. Sound harsh? That's why we're desperate. We don't know what God wants to do here this year, but we know it's huge. Pray for us, that we would be constantly dependent on Him, the only one who can save these people."
This week I asked someone celebrating a birthday today to share a devo that she shared a few weeks with all the WSN leaders. No, not Kelly or M, but Candice. (Let's all send her an e-card greeting.) Here's what she has to say. ..
I have been searching the Scriptures of late seeking for common threads to where the Lord leads His people. It runs the spectrum of mountain tops to bellies of whales, from responsive people to hardened hearts, from danger to quiet pastures and the list goes on and on! Left to myself I would always choose the mountain tops, responsive people and safety but that doesn't seem to fit the pattern of what the Lord would choose. One particular set of stories has really caught my attention, from Mark 4:35-6:56. So pull out your Bible and follow along as I ramble a bit of the Lord's leading, try and find yourself in the stories…
We begin with the words, "Let's go to the other side…" That seems like a reasonable request until they get out there and this huge storm hits and the guy who told you to go is sleeping! And you wake Him up and He kind of takes you to task for your faith. Then you get to the other side and who is waiting for you, a crazy demon possessed guy! He is healed and commissioned, a bunch of pigs drown and then what happens…you get back in the boat back to the other side! There you are greeted by an official whose daughter is either dying or already dead, an unclean woman who has exhausted all her resources, a bunch of people wanting things and you watch Him care for each person. Then it is your turn, Jesus sends you out to do the same in His authority but He adds don't pack anything…huh?! So you go out and see all this cool stuff happen and you come back and tell Jesus and he says "Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while because now there are so many people around you that you don't even have time to eat"…sound familiar in the rush of the first six weeks?
Back into the boat you go…you wonder, what is going to happen this time? Nope, no storms but the people track you and actually get to where you are going before you do! Jesus feels compassion towards them and turns to you and says "give them something to eat" this is after He rejected your idea of sending them home…you want to say, remember we were going on a retreat to rest! You get to play a part in another miracle and then the all too familiar invitation comes again…"get into the boat and go to the other side." Right back into another storm but this time Jesus isn't sleeping He is watching you from a mountain side and then walks on the water right alongside you and with the words: "Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid." He gets into the boat and the wind stops and then you get to the other side and the people run about the whole country bringing all to Jesus.
So today where are you, on what side of the sea, is Jesus sleeping, is He asking you about your faith, is He leading you to the sick, possessed, hurting of your campuses and cities? I know I am currently in the boat, in a storm and waiting for Jesus to still the wind…and hoping there is no crazy person waiting for me on the other side! Will I, will you, leave the "security" of the boat and enter the masses? Can we commit to remind each other often: "take courage, it is Jesus, do not be afraid"? Alright, bring on the waves!
Thanks Candice. We hope you have a great birthday today waves and all.