Happy New Year, NSAC Family!
It’s been a while since we’ve spoken (sorry about that) so I thought I’d send you all an update on what I’ve been up to since September.
After spending the summer with you all at NSAC, I headed back to staff the second of the 2 schools I committed to staffing with YWAM’s School of Biblical Studies (SBS). My adjustment back to staffing was smooth as I fell back into the rhythm of probably my favourite job ever: getting to walk alongside my students as they encounter the life changing reality of the Gospel and fall in love with the One who created them and gave up everything just to save them by His blood. Practically speaking, I get to do this through 1-on-1 discipleship of our culturally diverse student body (training missionaries from India to Germany), teaching lectures on the Bible, leading ministry/intercession, academic mentorship, and leading out the SBS Outreach program.
The fall was challenging for many reasons (circumstantially, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally), yet at the same time it’s strange: I feel increasingly that as I’ve gotten to know God more and more and walk in intimacy with Jesus, even the shadowy seasons of my faith/life can be so sweet.
Throughout the challenges that the fall held, one place I really knew His sweetness was when I got to teach Leviticus to the SBS class. It was so humbling to see the way God moved in the lectures I taught. How He filled my mouth and heart with words during those lectures to impact and help serve as a catalyst in the lives of my students. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the testimony one of my students shared with me after one of our sessions: he explained that up until these Leviticus teachings, he has never been able to fully receive Jesus’ forgiveness because of deep unforgiveness he has carried towards himself. Yet during our lectures together he encountered God’s heart, His relentless love and forgiveness at a new depth he had never experienced and now, for the first time he is able to forgive himself.
In early December I had the great gift of the opportunity to be released from my staff duties for a month to fly back to the mainland North America to first stand in my best friend’s wedding, and then head home to Canada for Christmas with my family. Christmas at home was again such a sweet time in the middle of a season that I’ve often found myself in the valleys. It was so encouraging to meet with many of you, and to be reminded throughout this time together, of the deep treasure it is to have you all as my home church. As well, being with family again (before I go as many as 12 months without seeing them again) was an answer to prayer and so wonderful.
I flew back to Kona in early January to staff the final 6 months of the current SBS, transitioning back to the wonderful and stretching roles I expressed earlier in this letter. The first weeks of 2020 have been similar to the last months of 2019 – challenging, and yet I continue to stand in awe of the reality of His closeness, the faithfulness of His light, the constant strength of this Rock, as I face challenges once again.
These next months will continue to include the wonderful roles I explained earlier in the letter – discipleship of students, leading ministry times, coordinating outreaches (we are currently building 5 teams to be sent at the end of June to serve in long-term locally-run Bible schools), and teaching (I get to teach Ezra next!).
As well, the new year marks a new challenge/blessing: I have begun the process of looking to accredit and develop the teacher training curriculum I have been writing this past year. The curriculum is intended to help further equip indigenous church leaders of the Pacific Islands with tools to reach their people and lead their flocks in integrity and love of Jesus. It is a program that hopes to increase Bible engagement, challenge church corruption, and empower those that have believed they are unable to study the Bible for themselves. Hopefully, if the program is accredited, I will spend the summer running this school out of a Bible school campus in western Papua New Guinea. If not, I look forward to seeing you all once again in the summer.
While the next 6 months are daunting, a landscape carved with many mountains, I begin these weeks with great gratitude for God, and for you. Reflecting on the mountains and valleys of 2019 I was so grateful for the ways God has been so faithful, with one of those ways being you all. Thank you for your continued love, prayers, encouragements and support as I learn how to love, trust, and obey Jesus with everything.
You, church ohana, are a testimony to His goodness.
Praying that as you enter into the new year, you all would encounter the sweetness of His faithfulness and presence with you.
With love to you all,
Pray for discernment...