Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's all that white stuff everywhere?

We love Jesus thiiiis much! Out West in Medora, ND.
Oh, wait, PSYCH! It did snow twice this past week, but both times all the fluffy stuff covering the trees, grass and sidewalks was gone before the day's end. Darn. The blizzard we were predicted to receive yesterday never arrived, but I suppose that's just fine. In due time I'm sure there will be much more than we all, including me, bargained for.

I also realized that I start every post with a weather update. Many apologies to those of you who really don't care what the weather is like in Fargo. For those of you-which, might I add is the majority-that find out I'm in Nor'Dakota and laugh because you think it's year-round winter, it seemed fitting to begin each post updating you that in fact winter has not actually hit yet, contrary to popular belief. You wouldn't believe it but one I thing I love more than most is breaking stereotypes, nearly as much as I love fitting them, but that's enough about that.

It seems like lately I've been learning in overdrive what it means to be a FOCUS missionary. If you have any amount of curiosity, let me fill you in: there is no specified regimen for this job position, no curriculum and every person, situation or opportunity that presents itself to us is never something that we ourselves actually find. Rather, every time I meet a new student seeking the Truth, have an amazing conversation with one of the girls I disciple, present the Gospel to someone and actually witness their heart be opened to a relationship with Jesus Christ or leave Bible study geeking out because of the visible transformation taking place in these women, it is important to remember that each of these is nothing more than a gift.

With all of these things being gifts, the last few weeks have been a constant Christmas morning. Our team realized that we need to be presenting the Gospel to everybody. Not only to our Bible studies or to our disciples, but everyone. And we weren't doing it. All of our hearts broke equally when the question was put on the table of whether or not our disciples knew and could present the Gospel to someone and we could not answer with a confident "yes." Of course we desire that the students be built up and learn the lifelong mission of evangelization, but in all reality we desire much more that each person develops and maintains a lasting relationship with the One who really makes this happen--Jesus Christ.

The last few weeks of swapping stories with the other missionaries about Gospel presentations in discipleship and even to our Bible studies has been very inspiring and I think that really the whole point of presenting the Gospel to someone is not only for their sake, but for your own as well. Whenever I'm about to start I get a few nervous butterflies (and I still haven't quite figured out why) and as soon as the question is posed, "Do you desire to make Jesus Christ the center of your life?" and they respond with a definite "yes" my love for God and for souls increases just a little more.

Now I ask you, do you know the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I don't mean the four books in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I mean the actual reason for our being and what life is all about.  There are four basic points:
  1. We were created to be in a relationship with God.
  2. That relationship is broken because of sin and God's people are separated from Him (a.k.a. Adam and Eve ate of the apple in the garden way back in Genesis).
  3. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to restore that relationship and bring us back to Him (John 3:16)
  4. We are called to respond (Be baptized with the water of the Holy Spirit, go to confession to repent of and turn away from our sins and receive the Eucharist in a state of grace --John 6:53).
We have been sharing this a lot lately, and we actually just had our second "Monthly Mountain" for all of the student missionaries on Friday and talked heavily about this issue. A couple of students gave brief testimonies and shared with everyone why presenting the Gospel is so important and it was very humbling to hear from students what we, as missionaries, should be teaching them. Overall, the transformation taking place among the student missionaries by being more directly presented with the Gospel and inviting others to discipleship is incredible. In fact, while speaking of gifts, the Lord handed me a pretty neat one this week: a disciple on the women's basketball team. If you happen to remember in my last post when I asked for prayers for Katie Birkel, a senior on the women's basketball team who recently tore her ACL and is out for the season, thank you for your prayers! She had surgery last week and the healing (both physical and mental!) is already taking place. I sat down with her on Friday, presented the Gospel and invited her into discipleship and she responded with an excited yes. She's looking forward to not only walking towards the Lord herself, but inviting others to as well.

That's just one small story among many, and thank you so much for your prayers for the missionaries and the students here at NDSU, the transformation is definitely taking place!

Please also keep these in your prayers:
  • Our VarsityCatholic movement (working with all of the athletes)
  • FOCUS Greek (Jenne just took 8 students to Nashville a couple weeks ago for the conference and had a great time!)
  • A mission trip (that I was approved to be director of!) over Spring break--location is TBD, please keep that in your prayers)
Thank you so much for your prayers and support, God bless!
Kelsey Marie

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