Well my third and final internship is coming to a close. And although I am stoked out of my mind to go home and see my family and all my pals, I am very sad to leave this one. I was sad to leave all of them. But for some reason, my time in India feels unfinished. I will make no promises of returning, because it’s not my place to know the future. But something has stirred within me, a fire that won’t be put out so easily. Whatever I end up doing with my life, I can never again feign ignorance for the lack of proactive action fighting for social justice in our world. That was a mouthful, basically what I mean is that I cannot pretend that I have not learned what I have learned here. You can’t ignore a bullet that hit you right in the heart. Maybe I can only make a lasting difference in the lives of a few street kids. But that would be so worth it. To give a few kids a chance in life that should be their human right. I certainly can’t save the world, but I can do my part. If I backed away now it would certainly be a greater wrong than if I had remained in my bubble of ignorance.
Don’t freak out those who love me that are reading this. I’m still getting on that plane tomorrow. I’m actually planning on going back to school for a couple of years if all goes well so I’ll be living in Canada for a few years yet. And social justice also needs to be fought for on Canadian soil.
What I am really trying to communicate is that I have learned so much from my time at ISM. During this last internship I was sick so often that it just became a joke. But I have encountered a part of God that I had only glimpsed before. I have known God as the sovereign creator, and God as my closest friend for almost my whole life. But now I also know God as the dad that fights for every one of his kids, who has made bigger sacrifices and has shown more grace than any earthly father even has the capacity to give. Who is reaching out to even the most rebellious of souls, always.
This has been a very important 7 months in my life. I can feel the weight of it. My faith has solidified on a solid rock where it was pretty shaky before.
So here’s to the God that chooses to be our dad, even when we’re the worst kids ever.
For Narnia! And for Aslan! (Just thought I’d throw that in there)
- Sarah Ricker – ISM 09.14
Hi! My name is Benjamin Ekres. It’s with great joy when I say that I will be joining ISM in Bangkok, Thailand this September! (2015)
For the past 21 years, I’ve been living in Guelph, Ontario in the beautiful country of Canada. I was raised and continue to live in a home where Christ is in the center. In my youth, I truly learned what it was to have a living relationship with Jesus. This was after I tried to seek contentment and purpose outside of His will for my life (which I’m learning is the BEST thing in the whole world). He welcomed me back with open arms and revealed to me by His Spirit that He truly loves me! He has continued to change me and is propelling me into a life of service to others and ultimately Him self.
I will be graduating College with a diploma in Radio Broadcasting this April. That being said, I know the plans I had going into my school career have definitely changed… I thought I would most likely start my career in broadcasting upon graduation… But as I spent more and more time in thought and prayer about this concept, my passion for the idea began to fade. It was not without a replacement thought, mind you. God had planted a passion for missions in me at a youth conference called Overflow (probably in 2010-11). It was there that I saw an ISM booth and was instantly intrigued. When I heard about what they were doing, I got PUMPED. I thought to my self “Wow. This is something I would like to do… and probably something God wants me to do…” It’s funny how God works… because here I am, several years later writing a profile for my acceptance at Impact School of Missions!
I’m excited to see how God will move as I intern with “Place of Grace” starting in October. The thought of serving kids and youth who live in the slums of Thailand is not only humbling, but also encouraging. It is my hope that I will be able to pour into their lives and be Christ’s hands and feet within the context God puts me in.
This verse is lengthy, but it’s one I feel lead to share:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”
Thank you Jesus! I can’t wait for what’s in store!
When you come the mission field, you can’t go a day without seeing pain. Horrible pain. It’s easy to start ask God ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’ ‘Don’t you love people?’ ‘If you love people why don’t you intervene?’ It’s okay to ask God these questions but it may reveal a lot about where you are in your relationship with Him. So how to do you walk through those thoughts and even doubts about the love of God?
As a side note – It is fascinating that I’ve never been asked this question by people living in India, Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia who certainly knows a lot more about suffering than we do. Why?
When we ask this question the complaint is against God’s character: ‘Can I really trust God when I see so much pain?’ If you are sure that you can trust Him, regardless of the pain you see or are experiencing , there is no temptation to turn away from Him because He is the only one who can help.
Maybe the reason we question God’s character when bad things happen or we see suffering is that we live lives largely independent from Him. In other words, do we actually trust Him even when things are going well? When life is easy we don’t really need to trust God for anything. I think for many this can cause us to live as Christian Atheists. We are Christians but we live like God doesn’t exist.
As I mentioned, I have never been asked questions about God’s love and suffering by people living in SEA. In fact, when I visit churches in parts of the world where they are faced daily with great pain and suffering, they inspire me. They aren’t asking, “where is God?” They trust God in everything, Suffering is part of life, part of being human and living in a fallen world. They don’t expect life to be perfect, in fact they expect suffering. When times are really hard, they cling to Him because they have already learned to trust Him when things are good and they know when things are bad that there is no other answer but God. They can’t take a pill, get a job, borrow money or run to a government agency for help.
Maybe we struggle with suffering so much in the West because we are so comfortable and ‘safe’ most of the time that we feel we don’t need God. We don’t rely on Him on a daily basis and therefore we don’t really know Him as we should. I think this is at the heart of asking ‘why?’ When suffering comes along, it is not so much that it takes us away from God, but it reveals to us that we haven’t actually had to really trust Him or we haven’t been close to Him in the first place.
What should we do? Often when we are upset by our circumstances the first thing we should do is the last thing we do. The best thing you can do when you are upset or confused is to get into the Word of God and pray. If we aren’t close to Him in the first place, the last thing you want to do is spend time with Him. If you’ve been a Christian for awhile it’s so easy to do and say the right things and not even really believe them. The Word of God is supernatural and spending time hearing the voice of God through the Word helps give you the right perspective and helps you to know who He really is. To know HIm is to love Him. If you aren’t in the Word you can’t remember the truth and start doubting basic things like GOD IS LOVE which is true regardless of the circumstance. The Word reminds you of that on every page. If you don’t feel like reading the Word or praying start by asking God for a hunger and thirst for Him. Ask Him to help you to fall in love with Him. Forcing yourself to read the Bible and pray isn’t the way it was meant to be. If you have to force yourself it probably means your love is waning. Love drives us to be with Him. If we aren’t in love with Him we’re likely living on the fumes of former days where we did vibrantly love Him and that’s why we starting doubting and asking why. Another helpful thing is to talk to people in the midst of suffering who have an unshakeable faith in God. Their joy in their pain helps you understand what faith looks like and that circumstances don’t need to affect faith because God is trustworthy and He never changes.
The good news is. even in the questioning, He loves you – He is used to His children trying to live in their own strength or running from Him and yet , if you cry out – He’s standing right there. Arms outstretched – waiting.
Hi! I am Jennifer Johnson and I’ll be starting my internship in September 2015 at Samaritans Creations in Bangkok.
I grew up in the church and I have been blessed with an amazing family and lifestyle. I have never had to want for much. I am so thankful for all that my life has been this far. But I can’t help but feel that this blessing also hinders me. The devil hides and captures people in satisfaction and mediocrity. I am a daughter of the living King as well as a daughter to my father and treated as such by many close family role models. I have been surrounded by amazing men my entire life, men that have taught me to bring this world more good than bad, to never stop fighting for an intimacy with God, and to love each and every person with a passion, just as God loves us.
Being dipped into the world I have found that everyone desires to be loved, and not everyone has gotten a chance to feel the kind of divine love that is ready to be poured out upon them. I feel called to share this drowning love with others that I have been so fortunate to feel for myself. I have found freedom in knowing our Creator and Father. And in knowing him I have found so much grace, mercy, and rest.
God has taught me many lessons in the past four years that I have spent at school and the main thing I know now is that I need to get up and go with His light shining on me, my walk in faith needs a leap and he is calling me to empower women. Faith in God has grown as I consistently call on him for a path. From all angles in my life sexual trafficking as been brought up, and now that I know so much about the topic, I feel like God has put this directly in front of me for a reason. I am an equality advocate; racial and gender prejudices make me cringe. I feel so honored to have been loved by my Father in heaven, and my earthly Father, I feel it would be selfish of myself to not share this love with as many people as I can.
There is one verse that is constantly consuming my mind; I think the world needs to hear it. Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Hello! My name is Marcie Braun and I will be interning in Bangkok in September of 2015. I am from Saskatchewan and I am so excited to be serving for five months at Samaritan’s creations in Bangkok!
I have known for a while that I have wanted to take a year off from school and focus on service. There is such a vast amount of opportunities out there and I found the decision quite overwhelming. ISM drew me in with its focus on specific ministries. The word “go” on the promotional video immediately struck my heart. Being presented with all these decisions, I felt that God just kept telling me “go”.
I did not hear the whole gospel until I was 12 at my church’s youth group. I gave my heart to Jesus at a Bible Camp and God has been drawing me closer to himself ever since. A passion for the Bible became significant in my faith as it gave me so much assurance while living with parents that did not support me being a part of the Church. I was blessed with my sister Kelly who has interned at ISM in following God under these circumstances.
Camp ministry has been a way for me to grow in leadership and has spurred my desire for others to know Jesus. Learning more about the issue of human trafficking that I was previously unaware of, I felt a compassion that I had never felt before. I knew that I could not ignore it. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of God’s work in curing injustice and comfort hurting people. This will be my first time doing missions abroad. I am still in awe of how God has given me this amazing opportunity to intern.
A verse that encourages me is: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
-2 Corinthians 5:14-15