This week was a whirlwind. It has been super busy and overwhelming at times, but God is teaching us both so much! To get everyone caught up, last week we had orientation, moved into our house (we have our own room in a cute house with 10 other people), went to a nature reserve for a BBQ and saw lots of cool birds, kangaroos, emus, and koalas there (we even saw two tiny baby koalas!), and went camping for 3 days as a base. Each week we have a new lecture topic and a new speaker. The lecture topic of our first week was “Hearing the Voice of God” and our speaker was one of the leaders here on base, Sarah. We’d like to start each post with an overview of what we as a class learned that week and the fun things we did. Also, this blog is a reflection on what God is doing in both of our hearts, so every week we thought we’d each write about what God is teaching and communicating to us.
This week was all about communication with God – how He communicates with us and how we are to communicate with Him. We learned that God desires to speak to all of us and that HE IS NOT CRYPTIC – He wants you to hear His voice. There are two main reasons that He speaks. The first reason is identity. God wants to speak to you the truth about who you are – that is, who He created you to be. The second reason He speaks is to reveal His purpose for you and answer your questions of “Why am I here?”. As Sarah said, “Allow the Lord to replace who you thought you’d be with who He thought you’d be.” SO GOOD. We also learned some of the ways that God speaks to us, such as scripture, dreams, wisdom, visions, interrupting thoughts, and nature.
This week God hit me with a brand new revelation that I have lived in a spirit of fear for a really long time. All week I had been praying for God to reveal truths to me and He definitely did. Fear is a choice and is an indication of lack of trust and faith in God. Fear has been the motivation behind so many decisions in my life and once I acknowledged that and asked God to forgive me and help me conquer it, I felt so much better! It’s still a process to get over fear, but I’m so thankful that when we ask God to reveal things that are holding us back from Him and from experiencing the fullness of life, He does!
In this first week, the teachings about hearing God’s voice and my personal communication with Him have also revealed a few important things to me. It really amazed me that I could be a Christian and go to church for years and not know how to hear God in my life! It has definitely been a sort of goal of mine to actually hear God in one of the many ways listed above. Through much prayer, as well as receiving words and visions from fellow classmates and leaders, I was able to not only pinpoint an area of weakness, but also begin to work on it. In an initial welcome letter, my one-on-one staff member Nathan wrote that while praying for me to arrive, he envisioned a room with a gaping hole in one wall. Over this week, I pondered this image in prayer and while reading scripture. Then, while camping at Base Retreat, I had a dream that I was talking with God (in class, reading my bible, or something – not sure the context), but was suddenly awoken by an audible sound of rushing water. That next day, I went to pray and read by the water to figure out what my dream might mean. The answer I got was that God was not only breaking a hole into my heart to reach me, but He wanted to flush it clean, and pour out His love through me onto others.
Like I said, I’ve never recognized God speaking into my life, so this week has been filled with revelations for me. It is not complete, though. God has reached deep into me and now it is up to me to respond. We came here to hopefully learn a plan for the next step of our lives, but the hardest part is trusting what God has in store for us.
In other news, the first week has also been filled with the ups-and-downs of adjusting to our new environment. Days have been long and filled with activity, so we are still figuring out the best ways to relax and spend time together. If you would be open to it, we ask for prayers both personally and spiritually. Personally, that we have the perseverence to be dilligent with school, pursuing of our marriage, and wise with our time. Spiritally, that we continue to make breakthroughs in knowing God’s love for us and using that knowledge to love others more and more. Also, as we begin our Youth Street Saturdays, that God gives us a big heart for the kids here and guides us in how to love them (never been around kids much – we still feel like one of them!) Finally, we still have just over $2,000 left to raise for outreach phase (we’ll find out where we’ll be going in two weeks!). If you feel lead to, we would love it if you would prayerfully consider partnering with us in this opportunity to bring the Gospel to the nations! If you do feel called to give, here is the link to our fundraising page.
We just cannot reiterate enough how thankful we are to know we have so much support from our family, friends, and even acquaintances while we live and learn here. One thing we learned was that while God calls certain people to missions work, he pours blessings onto those who help them get there.