I want to start by saying Happy New Year to all of you (even if it’s a little late)! I praise the Lord for an opportunity (via facebook woot!) to testify before you of how I have seen the one and only Son, who was sent by my Heavenly Father, and share with you about how He has spoken to me with grace and truth. When God speaks with grace, He looks on His creation with compassion, but when He reveals truth, He sheds His light on the evil that is within our hearts. Throughout this year this message of grace and truth has been consistently causing me to re-examine my life and its focus. As I spend time before my father I am constantly being convicted of areas in my life where I have chosen to be disobedient to His words by neglecting His call for me to live missionally and incarnationally, to live a life where the gospel should be proclaimed to everyone I encounter in both word and deed. I am so thankful that despite my pride, worry and fears, my heavenly Father still presents me with opportunities to testify to His goodness and redemptive power that is at work within me.
For those of you who may or may not know (I’m sure most of you know because I was so incredibly excited about it) I had the opportunity over the past week to attend the Urbana Missions Conference in St. Louis, Missouri with a group called movein. This is a conference where I gathered with 17,000 people mostly students within the college age group to learn about critical global issues such as human trafficking, environmental degradation and poverty. I heard the testimonies of ordinary men and women who are being obedient to the Lord’s call and are proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as they work in the slums of India, and among women who are working in the sex industry, some are risking their lives in war-torn Afghanistan and one is even spreading God’s word among the world’s most notorious gangs. These are people who have put their lives at risk for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also heard the testimony of Patrick Fung, who serves with Overseas Missionary Fellowship, he and his wife gave up the opportunity to live comfortable lives as full-time doctors to serve in full-time missions work. Someone said to me after I came back from my trip, “I bet everyone who spoke at Urbana was amazing”. I responded by saying, “no they’re not amazing; they are ordinary people like you and me who are allowing God to do extra-ordinary things as a result of their love for God, their surrender and their obedience”.
I am so thankful to everyone who supported me in prayer and also supported me financially. I am so thankful to you for your faithfulness, words could never express the gratitude in my heart! The Urbana experience was absolutely incredible! Although I had a wonderful time, God didn’t change my life at the conference He had been working on me every moment leading up to it. The conference just affirmed my calling and the vision that He had placed on my heart over the past year. Each person I talked to had a different experience at the conference. I am thankful that God specifically caters the Urbana experience to meet each person’s need and speak to people where they are. The only way to sum it up is by saying- you have to go!
Over the past few months I had been asking God to help reveal my role in His global plan. I have a heart for unreached people, and not just unreached people of one country, I have a heart for people who have not heard the gospel from all over the world, and all those people are living right within my very own city of Toronto. On December 31st, 2009 I made the decision to join other believers within the Toronto area who have a vision to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ being spread amongst their neighbours. Many of you may or may not have heard of the group called move-in (please check out the website: http://movein.to/vision/), this group consists of believers who intentionally move into areas of Toronto and the GTA, including Brampton and Mississauga that are densely populated and have a high percentage of immigrants who come from un-reached nations. Many of the people within these areas live in poverty. The team of people gather together for one night a week to pray for their community and the rest of the nights they see how they can serve the people they live amongst by sharing a meal with them, helping people buy groceries and just chilling. I have committed to spending two years within one of these communities, joining Christ in the work that He is already doing there.
The theme for my week at Urbana was John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood”. Jesus Christ left His home in heaven as the King of Kings, to be born in a stable with sheep and cattle and live amongst us. Wow! A King came down and intentionally moved into the neighbourhood to live alongside people like me? If you don’t know about this King, I would love to tell you how He has changed my life and oh how He has changed my life! I am still waiting on God’s timing as to when to move in and what area to move to. I hope to go to teacher’s college as I live within these neighbourhoods, but I still have at least 2 more semesters at Brock before I graduate. If you choose to pray for me, I ask that you heed the words of Sundar Krishnan, who said: “Pray Big and Pray Bold because history belongs to the Intercessors”. Please pray that in time God will provide a place to live, entrance into teacher’s college and finance’s. As I spend the next year preparing to move in pray that God will constantly be at work renewing my passion and filling me with the power and authority of His word. As Hudson Taylor once said, “God’s work, done God’s way, will never lack God’s supply”.
Since I want to give you all incentive to experience Urbana, I plan on helping someone attend Urbana 2012 by giving them $250 dollars. The only conditions are:
a) You have to show a genuine interest in cross-cultural missions and your interest must bear some sort of fruit.
b) You have to take the initiative and talk to me about your desire to attend the conference.
c) You have to recruit your friends to join you.
To end, it’s my prayer that God rocks your world this year!
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus …And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.