Testimonies to God’s love and grace

Imagine being young and having the opportunity to see your church’s ministry and mission in action first-hand, enabling you to gain an understanding of the gospel partnerships our church has and to experience ministry in an Asian culture. For the second time, young Australian and Asian Lutherans get to do just that. Over the course of a year, they learn about our church’s ministries, develop leadership skills, see mission and ministry in Asia up close and have a mentor encourage them in their faith walk.

The Grow Leadership program identifies future young church leaders in the LCA and in our Asian neighbouring churches. The participants develop friendships across cultures and are encouraged in deepening their love for Jesus as they see his Spirit at work.

A new Zealander, five Australians and four Myanmarese are taking part in the Grow Leadership program in 2019. They were set the task of reflecting on their time spent together in Myanmar as part of the program.

As Emma observed a different culture, she reflected on her own culture. ‘We focus so much on what other people think of us – we forget to act in ways that God wants us to act. I see over here (in Myanmar) how desperate people are to teach others about God and the lengths they go to share Gods love and message. Why aren’t we that desperate to share God?’

Hudson observed, ‘God’s spirit is literally all over the world and it unites us.’

Matt found a reality in being human ‘I learnt a great deal about God’s patience for His people when we stuff up’.

While Wendy was drawn to reflect on Scripture, ‘I saw the real meaning of when two and three are gathered in my name – I am there.’

To be immersed in another culture opens our eyes in many ways. The young people were surprised at the enthusiasm they witnessed during worship. They observed a Christian culture willing to give so much even though they have so little.

Erin summed it up by saying, ‘I wish that back home myself and others could get out of the self-importance mentality we have and learn to give more and think of others in the way the people here do.’

The group visited a school for the blind, spent time with school students and joined in Sunday worship. Time was taken to debrief and discuss the new experiences each participant was taking in.

Our seeing and hearing doesn’t always lead to a deeper growing of our faith. To be encouraged to listen to what God’s Spirit might be teaching us through experiences takes a willingness to be open and trusting.

The following quotes bring testimony to God’s love and grace.

‘Being in the blind school I felt a sense of calm and a sense of heightened joy as well as another emotion I cannot explain. Seeing the way God has touched each of their lives was beautiful.’ Erin

‘I talked to God and he answered me back. He made me remain calm.’ Jacob

‘When I was feeling really overwhelmed or anxious I could feel God giving me comfort and knowing that he was listening, even when I wasn’t speaking. This gave me a sense of peace.’ Wendy

Seeing how God works in the lives of our brothers and sisters in another culture has given these young people a greater appreciation of how God works and blesses his people with his grace and love.

‘He is faithful in the beginning of my journey to the end.’ Bielehmo

Maybe you or someone you know may like to pray and ask God if being part of the next Grow leadership program might be something you should explore.

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/