Friday, September 28, 2018

BSSM2 - off to an awesome start!

Friends and family! I hope this letter finds you in splendid health and good spirits. =)

Gabe Venezuela (Bill Johnson's son-in-law)
is the head of second year.

It finds me almost a month into school, heading off tomorrow for our retreat week, and, upon return, transitioning into our first trimester, city services, and the full swing of things.

I want to start off with a praise and big thank you! Thanks to several very generous gifts and the money I made in Alaska, I’m now fully covered for tuition and rent for the entire year. Your support and belief in me and what I’m going after is humbling and means the world!

In the vein of testimony, here’s a fun one from a couple of weeks ago - my 1st-year housemate (Thomas) and I went to pick-up soccer one morning and I hit him in the face pretty hard. He told me he was fine and I thought no more of it. About three days later another one of my housemates came and got me and told me we needed to pray for Thomas. It turned out his nose was still hurting from soccer, but he hadn’t told me. Well, we prayed and he was instantly healed! Hallelujah. Sometimes small “insignificant” healings are some of the most fun. If it matters to us, it matters to him.

2nd Year -

It’s hard to explain, but the atmosphere and feel of 2nd year is very different from 1st year. It’s smaller and more intimate. There’s a deeper focus and unity. Today we had our first revival group gathering (an almost entirely different set of people from last year), and it was crazy how different it was from the first gathering last year - the fact that some of us already knew each other aside, you could tell we were all on the same page in a way we weren’t last year, because now we’ve been sitting under the same leaders and teachers and vision-casters for a year, pursuing the face of Jesus together.
1st revival group meeting - prophetic musical chairs to
prepare for blessing the 1st-years at retreat

Rightly, the expectations for excellence are higher - and as the year is focused largely around leadership, one of the ways this translates is the expectation that we’ll be serving consistently in very practical ways. If there’s a conference, we’re expected to be there, setting up chairs and ushering, or in the kitchen chopping potatoes. If there's a need Bethel's helping with in the city, we're going to be there doing whatever we can. We also have the privilege of pouring out on the 1st-years, championing them in our city services.

It would take too long to recount all the ways God is already moving and speaking, both in my life, and the class corporately, but I’m so excited for the year I’m practically bouncing off the walls (as well as being nervous - as God seems to be steering me directly into places fear still has hold of me. Hallelujah: God loves us too much to leave us in bondage to anything other than himself).

Wherever you may be, whatever seems to be going on around you, I want to say take hope, take courage - Aslan is on the move. One of the great privileges of being at Bethel, that I cannot take for granted, is that with it being such a place of network, we hear testimonies of the crazy things God is doing all over the world in so many different spheres. If you didn’t know, just this last weekend a large stadium event took place in Portland, Oregon that over 100 churches and ministries from a wide variety of backgrounds, denominations, and “streams” made happen by coming together and setting aside differences for the sake of the proclamation of the gospel. The event itself was a couple of days, but people poured onto the streets for days beforehand to encounter everyone they could find with the power and love of God. Not only that, but structure was in place to plug all the new believers into churches and discipleship programs - nets to catch the harvest.

Living once again with my South African housemate from last
year has been one of the greatest joys so far this year
God showed up! The testimonies are endless - but people walked out of wheelchairs, arthritis was healed, and countless numbers rushed the stage to give their lives to Jesus. Many BSSM students went to help, and when they came back the presence of God was electric at school with all that he had done.

Ministry Trips -

One of the big parts of 2nd year is ministry trips. Sometimes it looks like a stadium event like that one, sometimes it looks like just a few people in a small country church. These are distinct from missions trips (like the Asia trip from last year). They’re basically opportunities throughout the year for us to go with a leader and serve him or her in whatever way they ask as they speak at a conference, throw an arts & healing event, or whatever the case may be. There’s a huge emphasis on us taking advantage of these trips as best we can, as it’s really an incredible opportunity to get to travel with world-class leaders and learn from them and serve alongside them all over the world (the teams are typically quite a bit smaller than the missions teams). We can travel as much as three weeks (this doesn’t include missions) throughout the year, provided we’re always up to date on all our assignments and classes.

I have already been accepted to my first of these trips. Last year God put the dream in my heart to get to travel to Asia with Ben Armstrong, the leader of prophetic ministries here at Bethel. Just a week or so ago, God spoke to me prophetically at school through another student, and I went home to see that Ben was leading a trip to Taiwan, one of the countries in Asia I’ve most been longing to go to.

I have a deep love for all things far-east and southeast Asian, ever since I was little, and my heart comes alive on Asian soil. I’ve traveled there a lot in the last few years for ministry, and I believe the love God has given me for Asia ties into the things he wants me to be a part of there.

I’ve also gotten many words about the prophetic and moving in the prophetic. Many of you know I went after that gift hardcore last year, while at the same time it’s a place I’ve struggled with a lot of self-doubt. Finally, after missions in the Spring I felt I had to give up my right to the consistent self-doubt. God’s not interested in it. As I look to move forward in this gifting, stewarding the words God has spoken over me, I believe that this trip with Ben, the prophetic ministries leader, is an important step.

An old picture from last Christmas. But these guys were 2/3 of my small group last year.
This year we're not required to have a small group, but we're continuing to meet and be
intentional about deepening these relationships we felt God very intentionally gave us. Andres
(middle) is in my revival group again!

The trip is from October 15th-22nd, and costs $1,400. If you would like to give towards it, you can do so here. The deadline is essentially immediately (technically we’re past it, due to a weird set of circumstances I was accepted after the deadline - also, this is tax deductible).

Many of you have already given generously, and I do not take $1 for granted. May you be blessed abundantly for your generosity. I’m going to squeeze as much as I can from my weekly budget to go towards these trips (bye home-brewed coffee), and I’m also working to generate additional income on top of what I make with my part-time job - but cannot get the most out of the year without some more help.

May your heart be uplifted today,

1 comment:

  1. Thani - great news and I love this format!!! Praying for you often. With Love, Gary and Jami