Thursday, September 20, 2012

20 Years of God's Goodness

the beautiful cake my sister made!
I celebrated my 20th birthday last month. It’s somewhat odd that I’m actually in my twenties now—it seems like a jump from 19 to 20, even though I don’t feel older.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to watch God work in many different ways in the past twenty years. I’ve made many mistakes, had many growing experiences, had great influences in my life, a wonderful family that loves me, siblings to talk with. I’ve been blessed to have friendships develop, ministry opportunities come forth, ways to serve, times to learn to put aside my own desires for others.

But the most important thing that happened in my first 20 years of life was that God gave me abundant life, through the death of my Savior and Lord, Christ Jesus. Thanks to His selfless giving of Himself for my sins, I have a relationship with the living God! Through that have many amazing things come. Certainly there have been trials, struggles, pain, and hardship, as any believer would face. But the joy of the Lord gives me the endurance to face anything, because He promises that all things will work together for my good, and that those difficulties will refine my character. Situations where I’ve learned to trust the Lord more deeply, to call on Him for strength, to depend on Him moment-by-moment and to seek His face daily have been life-changing.

Multiple moves, various church plants, college challenges, friends coming and going, and many other things combined have been circumstances God has used to teach me more about Himself (and the often sinful tendencies in my own heart) and to shape and refine me.

Yes, I’m still young, and I’m still learning. God has a lot to continue to work in me. My prayer is that He would continue to work in and through me, that my life might be used to the fullest extent to glorify and honor Him!


Allison

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trials, Joys, and the Mighty Work of God

It was exciting to watch God work in the second city. The difficulties made it all the more sweeter and wonderful as I watched God work through my weaknesses, my tiredness and my incapability. The work He was doing, particularly in one administrator’s heart, was incredibly exciting. The opportunities we had there to share with people and to watch God work were completely worth the challenges. We had the opportunity to teach one of our administrators “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” (and explain the words!), and that became our theme song there.

Even though the beginning was very hard and overwhelming, the last few days went wonderfully. I felt like God renewed and refreshed me and gave me the energy I needed to complete each task set before me. I wasn’t overwhelmed, but began to rest that God had everything under control and knew exactly what I needed. I began to get better sleep (though still not my normal amount) and God was so good to supply all my needs. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” This is not an easy task, and definitely not one we can accomplish in our own power. But with God's power, it is a joy to give to others.

The Hudson Taylor quote I posted in July really resonated with me while I was in China:

“It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient… So, if God place me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength?”
Hudson Taylor


Katie

Monday, September 3, 2012

Teaching

Although I had much fewer students in the second city, the grading and preparation still took just as long, due to the fact that I had to prepare for younger students and more teaching time. Each evening, after our two hour long dinners, I would head back to my room and prepare for the next morning’s class. If there was grading to be done, I would do that. We were expected to give homework to the students, so I had to determine that, and grade it each day. I also allowed my students to write to me several times and I wrote back, because I had more time to do so.

around town
When I got home from my morning class, we walked a couple blocks to the KFC for lunch. This became our daily lunch place, because it was fast, easy, and inexpensive. We even met students or others for lunch there sometimes. After we got back from lunch, I would prepare for my afternoon elementary class. I felt like I was living day-by-day, or hour-by-hour! I like to have things planned ahead, so this was definitely stretching for me.






There were several days, particularly in the first week, that I felt overwhelmed. I reminded myself that God was able to make all grace abound to me, and that He was sufficient to meet all my needs. On my class schedule I would write things like “Needy and Dependent” to remind myself of this.


I was encouraged by a verse a friend wrote to me that I read when I was away:
“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

Our work, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is never in vain if it is something the Lord has begun!

Katie