Wanna know a secret?

I’ve got a secret to tell you, and it’s a big deal. But of course, being me, I have to give you some background information first, for suspense, but also so you can be in shock as well 🙂 So every year in my church, we donate money. All year long. And at the end of the year, it never fails. A guy in our church goes up to the front to tell everyone how much money we still need to hit the budget.  Usually it’s quite a large sum, but over the course of a few weeks the money trickles in. Last night we had a night of generosity. We were challenged to pray and ask God if He wanted us to give any of our things away, and Steve, our speaker, gave us the final amount of  money needed for our outreach teams.

So I went home to the famous Flat 8 and sat on my bed, thinking of what I could give away. Instantly I knew of a book I had that I could bless someone else with, but for the rest I wasn’t hearing anything. I just prayed that God would show me what other’s needs are, and what their desires are. So I found two more things that I knew others would appreciate, specific to them. So I went about my day, did my book report, my workbook, work duties, I went and got shoes for outreach, then came back for dinner. The time comes for generosity, and I’m super nervous! So Steve has all the people who need money for outreach come stand at the front, and he asked us all to pray, then come forward if we felt called to donate to them. The total sum owing for both schools was $10,633! Anywho, people flooded in, and when we stopped, we totalled it all, and we only needed $2355! That’s $8278, donated by other MISSIONARIES, in a matter of literally 5 minutes! So everyone who had all their fees sat down, and everyone else stayed up at the front. Within another 5 minutes, we had the remaining amount knocked out! That’s almost $11,000, in 10 minutes! Can you hear the excitement through my words!?!? How crazy is that? Some of these people had $3000 to pay for their outreach, and now they’re covered! How great is our God?

We also had a time to give the material things, and also just commit to each other in our relationships. We did communion together, and it was sweet because we literally got to break bread! In our church we get bread handed to us, but I think there’s something special with actually breaking the bread together. One thing that was really spoken into me was that I am wise! It really made me laugh because I remember back in the day when I was 7 asking God to make me wise. I wanted to be like Solomon in that regard I suppose. But I never realized God gave me that gift, and last night I was able to fully receive it. So now I have the goal of using my wisdom to help others, and to honour God with the gift He gave me. It will not go unused! There’s a few neat stories about the things I gave away, but that would take a while to explain, so message me if you want to know 🙂

Something cool though- Aleksi, this awesome man of God in my DTS, gave me his Vancouver Canucks jersey! Henrik Sedin, number 33. I have no knowledge of this man, but I promised Aleksi I would do my research, and take great care of this jersey. So now I have my own, and I will wear it proudly. I just switched my allegiance to Vancouver Canucks, hate me if you want 🙂

So I’m going to challenge you! Go through your room, your home, anything, and ask God how you can bless someone else today. Honestly, you get so much more when you give. You’d be surprised how much you can bless someone else with something so small! So take the challenge, see how you can brighten someone’s day today!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Study?

Have you closed the Bible, sat in your chair for a minute, and then wondered what exactly you just read? I don’t know how many times I’ve done that. I’ve read so much, but never understood what I was reading. I’ve always wanted to know though. I’ve made a few weak attempts at “studying” the Bible, but most of the time I just gave up. It was so frustrating! What was the point of reading if I couldn’t understand it?

This week we did -Inductive Bible Study- on the book of Philemon. Now, in our reference guides for our DTS it said we would be doing this, so I had a head’s up. Also, the girls in my flat were talking about it before the lectures started. I don’t know about you, but Bible study hasn’t really been on my personal Top 10 things to do, so I wasn’t too excited about this week. All of these girls though were so excited for Bible Study, and I couldn’t figure out why! So Monday morning comes around, and our speaker hands out these booklets. They have the book of Philemon in it, along with methods for reading the Bible, and a whole load of context about Philemon. He asked us to read the book and summarize what we thought Paul was saying in this letter, so I did. Let me tell you, by the end of the week we had ripped that book to pieces! We learned context, we learned how to read OUT of the passage, rather than read INTO the passage, and we learned what Paul was teaching Philemon, rather than what he was telling him. After this week, I have such a huge desire to know what the Bible is talking about, not just read it. If I’m reading, I would love to be able to get something out of it, and I think that’s God’s hope for me to. SO! I’ve decided to read the Bible in a year. Did you know that only 20% of Christian’s have read the entire Bible? Jonathan, our speaker asked us these questions this week.

Do you believe the Bible is truth? (Yes)

Have you read the whole Bible? (No)

How do you know it’s truth, if you haven’t read the whole thing? He really challenged us to know what we are saying before we answer those questions. So I’m hoping to make it into the 20% category by next year. Want to join me? I’m interested in starting a Bible study when I get back, but if anyone wants to start it before I get there, I’m fine with that too! Message me if you’re interested in either of these things, it doesn’t matter where you’re from! Any church, any town, any age. God wants to impart knowledge to all his children.

So on Saturday we are leaving for our first outreach! How crazy is that? I’ve been here for 8 weeks, and they already want me to do something! Ha, just joking, but really, we leave in the morning, and we’ll be driving about 5 hours north of Townsville to a city called Cairns. (pronounced caans) Cairns is a real tourist city, so we’ll be doing a bunch of evangelism with the backpackers that run through the city and the beach area. We’ve been invited to a few churches and schools also to speak, so I’m getting nervous! In one of the schools though we’ll be making breakfast for the students and then we get to hang out with them and talk to them, so that’s pretty sweet. I’m just really looking forward to seeing the doors that God is going to bust open for us! Oh! And here’s a story to let you in on how crazy our God is! Roger, one of the guys on my outreach team, was stressing out a bit Thursday night because our outreach fees were due Friday. If we didn’t get our money in, we wouldn’t be able to go, and Roger didn’t have any of the money he needed. All glory to God though, Roger made one phone call, and BAM, all of his outreach is paid for!! The couple he contacted told him that God had told them to stop giving money to the church they regularly donated to, and to save it for something, but they didn’t know what. They knew that someone would need that money, and when Roger called them to ask, they felt God releasing them to do that for him! That’s $3500! How awesome is God eh?!

Thanks so much for reading! Don’t forget to drop a comment too, alright? I like to hear your hearts just as much as you like to hear mine, so speak up! Oh, and don’t forget to feed your souls this week!

“The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation’.”  Psalm 91:14-16

Shine!

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

Oh Camping

So for the past 2 weeks I was away at Hidden Valley, a beautiful oasis literally hidden among the mountains in Australia. I’ve been camping before, but this experience was unlike any other. At one point during the 2 weeks, we had 200 people camping with us. 200 people, 4 toilets, 2 showers, and one shed to hide us all when the rains arrived. To say that the trip was amazing would be the biggest understatement of the year. I had so much fun. I could give you a day by day overview, but that would be boring as, so I’ll just fill you in on my personal highlights.

The Sunday after we arrived, my outreach team went on a 5 hour hike through the Australian bush. We waded through and crossed trees over creeks, we swam through swift rapids, and had lunch on the top of a gorge!! I was in my glory, and our team got to learn a lot about each other, so it was great. Through the week we had lectures on Lordship by Mark Parker from New Zealand. This man is a living example of dying to himself and listening to God’s voice. One of the most amazing things he reminded us of was that when we are baptised, the Holy Spirit is in us. Sometimes we get the idea that we need to grow more or learn more about the Spirit before we can walk fully in our gifts, but Mark reminded us that there is no “baby Spirit”, we’ve got the real deal. The trouble lies in us, and whether the Spirit has all of us. Tricky, isn’t it? He also ignited my desire to know the Word more. I’ve always found the Old Testament quite, well, boring, but Mark had a way of tying the old and new together, it was really refreshing. I also got quite a scare last week when I thought I’d have to figure out my future in one night. I never realized how much I miss home when the thought that I’d never return was presented. Thankfully, God calmed me down and just reminded me to trust Him.

Week 2 was quite different, but so refreshing. The best part about camping for me was the quiet times. Since we were in a valley, there were hills all around us, and the sunrises were spectacular! Also, seeing as the country lays heavy on my heart, I loved being able to walk away and not hear a sound except for the insane tree frogs and bugs. Walking through the forest talking to God is actually the most calming thing I’ve ever experienced. This week we had a bunch of testimonies from our staff, and our speaker talked about hearing God’s voice. God works in phenomenal ways, but He also works in the normal, everyday ways. The trick is recognizing Him, so that’s what I’m working on.

Week 2 was great, but it was also really revealing. Being out there was refreshing, it was beautiful, freeing and needed. But it also helped me realize how much I love home, how much I love you guys, the life God gave me with you, and the things and people He’s brought into my life. Homesick would be a good word if I wanted to theme the week. I want to write all of you a letter, each one of you, but I don’t know if I can promise that. So until I get around to it, this is going to have to suffice.

Thank you. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. Thank you for praying for me and for sending me a message when you think of me. Thank you for every memory I have of you, I recall them daily. Thank you for being my family, blood related or not. I love being able to think of coming home with such eagerness, such joy fills my heart when I think of landing in good old Canada. Trust me, I am SO enjoying myself out here, and I’m learning so much, but I can’t wait to be back with you all. I am so blessed to have family all over the world. God is good.

I pray you live today. I pray that no matter what you’re going through, you find Jesus in it. I pray you can influence someone with Christ’s love today, because He gives gifts so that we can pass them along. I pray you have a great day, because you all deserve it.

Much, much love from me,

With Strength that is not my own, Sam