ICYouth: Am I a Nuisance? (Erianne)

Thank you for your generosity to Immanuel. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Erianne Thedorf

Do you ever get the feeling that you might be a nuisance to someone else? The definition of nuisance is an obnoxious or annoying person, thing, condition, practice, etc. I constantly am feeling this way in multiple scenarios throughout the day. For example, when I’m all done paying for my groceries, I say to the cashier, “Thank you! Have a nice day!” and hope they actually do have a nice day. Most of them usually reply with “thanks” in a rude tone or “next please” or they don’t even reply at all. I don’t know if it’s the grocery store I choose to go to or the employees, but I constantly am finding myself in that position where I think to myself, “Am I being a nuisance?” I understand the cashiers don’t wish to know your life story, as well as be at work longer than they have to, but it just surprises me and makes me question myself.

I’ve come to a conclusion that I occasionally feel this way about my faith as well. Sometimes when I talk to my friends who are non-religious about my faith or church, I feel that I’m only being a nuisance to them — that they’re thinking, “Okay, we get it, you’re a Christ follower.” But we shouldn’t be afraid to proclaim our faith and what we believe in. I want to be known as a Christ follower because that’s my life, and that’s who I am. I want to be recognized as someone who is strong in her faith. However, be careful in the way you preach because most people do not intend to hear your whole life story while out to eat. Listen to 1 Peter 3:15 as it says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”

There was a time not too long ago when one of my friends from school unfriended/unfollowed me on a social media account. When I asked her about it, she explained that my posts were “just too religious.” After she said that I immediately thought my posts were being a nuisance to her. I became self-conscious and was wondering if anyone else felt the same way and if I really was being bothersome with my posts. I had to remind myself however, that I shouldn’t care how one person judges me about my faith. I am proud to be a follower of Christ, and I wish to set a good example for others. I am proud to be known as a Christ follower to my peers. We are the ones who should be spreading this good news of Christ’s love, bringing people to God continually. Don’t be ashamed of that like I was!

Live your life full of spirit and be proud of it! Your faith is never a nuisance!

ErianneErianne is a Junior at Grayslake North High School. She enjoys books, movies, music and meeting new people!

ICYouth: Dreaming of Heaven (Erianne)

Thank you for your generosity to Immanuel. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Erianne Thedorf

Do you ever just sit and think to yourself about how AMAZING life will be once we die? Do you ever think about the life full of light, love and happiness once you die? Let’s not forget the most important part; you will meet God! God the creator himself! Isaiah 25 states, “He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against his land and people.”

How amazing is that? He will wipe away all tears. Revelation 21 goes even further into this: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Imagine that type of life! Wow. No more tears, no more death, no sorrow, no crying, no pain. I wish you could see the smile on my face as I read those words and just how marvelous life is going to be with our God.

Revelation again says, “No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there … And there will be no night there–no need for lamps or sun–for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”

Joni Eareckson Tada explains the glorious things of Heaven in her book A Place of Healing (my summer deeper book), better than anyone ever could. She says “Everything will be far better than anything we ever experienced on earth. I tell these unbelievers, ‘The most beautiful, pleasurable things one could enjoy here on this planet are only hints and whispers and omens–mere crayon scribbles on a grocery sack–of even greater, more glorious things. Pleasures on earth are just shadows of their realities in heaven.'”

You could love the way the leaves change color during fall, but those are only hints and whispers. Can you imagine how beautiful heaven will be? The things you love on earth, no matter how big they are, will be so minute compared to the amazing things God has in store for us. Joni says again, “The best thing about heaven will not be running or walking, touching or holding. The best thing about heaven will be a pure heart no longer weighed down by sin and selfishness.” A pure heart. How beautiful it will be to have a pure heart. To live for God and not yourself and no heaviness on your heart from sin. Oh friend, heaven will be wonderful. The sights, the sounds, the people, the things we’ll do, the places we’ll explore, the friends we’ll make, the kingdom we’ll rule, the fun things we’ll learn, the joy of being with our God, the happy-hearted praise we’ll give our Savior, the angels, the heavenly hosts.

It is in God’s hands when it is time for me to be with Him, but I just cannot wait to be there! Heaven will be nothing I could have ever imagined… it will be an infinity of times better. I challenge you to not be so hard on yourself in the toughest days, for God has a incredible place waiting for us.

ErianneErianne is a Junior at Grayslake North High School. She enjoys books, movies, music and meeting new people!

ICYouth: How You Treat Your Family Now Affects the Later (Erianne)

Thank you for your generosity to our one-fund, Accelerate. Because of your generosity, we are able to share stories of how God is changing lives! Every Friday, one of our student bloggers shares how God is working in his or her life. Leave some encouragement by commenting?

By Erianne Thedorf

Family life is unique in each home. No two families have exactly the same people. Because of this, everyone has different experiences going home. Some cases involve coming home to an annoying little sibling, a “too cool” older sibling or nagging parents. In the more extreme cases, some people go home to an alcoholic, an abuser or even a mentally ill family member. Everyone’s experiences are different, but the amount of stress that family members can put on each other can be the same throughout all different shapes and sizes of families.

All of my life I have been looking toward the future. The only reason I used to think this way is because I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and into college. I didn’t want to hear the constant nagging from my parents about grades, chores or every other little detail in my life. I will admit that there have been a couple of occasions where I have reacted negatively to my parents for being who they are, but I’ve learned to act differently. If we respond to our family members’ actions in negative ways now, it can become a habit and that negativity might even lead on to our later families in the future. How we act to our sibling might rub off onto our college roommate, and how we react to our parents will not be acceptable to our future bosses. You might not think this, but how you respond toward your family now will affect you in the future.

To prevent a bad future from forming as well as bad habits, we must learn to do three things daily:

1. Treat people well. This includes everyone you know, and family is included! Treating people well in general will benefit you in the greatest way possible. So many relationships can prosper and be created from just treating other people well.

2. React kindly. I know it may be hard to do, especially when someone isn’t treating you the way you would like, but even Luke 6:31 says “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” It may seem like one of the hardest things you can do, but know that not only is it going to help you in the future, but it’s also making you a better person inside and out.

3. Believe in God’s purpose. Listen to Jeremiah 29:11 as it states, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope.” Live day by day knowing that God has a purpose for you, and you should believe firmly in that.

God has plans and a future set up for you, but you just have to know how to deal with your family now, so you don’t have problems in the future. I can personally say that I am no longer counting down the days till college, but focusing on the now, spending time with my family.

ErianneErianne is a Junior at Grayslake North High School. She enjoys books, movies, music and meeting new people!

Planting New Foundations

Our missionaries, Chris and Kathy Gouzoules, are determined to bring God’s presence to those living in Mexico. They know the gifts that God has for each of his children, if only we are willing to open them. I love this story of how God can change, even the hardest of hearts, and wrap them in His everlasting love.
mexico

Isaiah 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Paths to dwell in.

After school, nine-year old, Mario, walked into his house and passed his parents’ bedroom. The door was open. His father yelled out from the room, “Mario, this is what real men do.” His father was [sleeping with] with his mistress while Mario’s mother was at work. That day, Mario’s tender heart began to turn to stone.

Years later, Mario became a teacher in Tenancingo and began drinking and doing what his father had told him that men do, sleep with other woman. He zealously participated in the generational evils of his family.

The week before Mario and his wife, Sarah, attended a Sunday worship service at our church plant in Tenancingo, Mario had visited three prostitutes. He and Sarah had been clients of a local witch during ten years of their marriage, and her occult powers deranged their lives and dismantled their marriage. Mario and Sarah had been fighting, and Sarah was planning to file for a divorce when they visited Comunidad Cristiana (The Christian Community Church of Tenancingo).

Their daughter, who had invited her parents to church, lead Sarah into the prayer room. While Mario sat in the Sunday worship service, listening to songs that exalted the power of Jesus, women began to pray for Sarah. God touched Sarah, and she began to sob and then wail, releasing her pain to Jesus. Jesus enfolded Sarah with his love, and she received his embrace. Shortly after, Mario joined her in the prayer room. He was told of the power of Jesus to forgive them and heal their marriage. He cried out to God for forgiveness and reconciliation with his wife.

Since that day, Mario and Sarah became courageous followers of Jesus. Jesus resurrected the frayed remains of their souls and created whole, cheerful, spiritual warriors. They have broken the multi-generational cycle of marital unfaithfulness, alcoholism, and occult practices in their families. When Victor and Angelica, who recently died in a car accident (see last update), came to Christ, they had been going through a marital crisis. Mario and Sarah counseled and taught them from their own experience and the Bible. From his new life in Christ, Mario was able to tell Victor that a real man is one who is faithful to his wife and family.

Kathy and I are returning to Mexico because there are many more couples like Mario and Sarah whose lives have been bulldozed by the Aztec witchcraft of the region, and need Christ to give them life, rebuild their marriages and families, and lay life-giving foundations for the future generations.

We thank you for your prayers and financial support. Your prayers and giving are helping break Satan’s grip on the Central Mexico region and transforming families and communities through the power of God.

Thank you,

Chris and Kathy

World Outreach: Scholarship Update on JETS

JETS mission and vision is to glorify God by providing (Biblical) knowledge that leads to Christ-like character and by developing ministry skills, in order to equip men and women to serve the church and society. “JETS seeks to be a premier evangelical, spiritual and academic community, faithfully applying Biblical truth for Christian living, producing theologically erudite leaders with Christ-like character, committed to transforming church and society.”

Through World Outreach and our missionaries Bulus and Rose Galadima, we are able to help and give students training for Christian ministry in Nigeria and the Philippines. We wanted to share a few updates and prayer requests from students at the JETS Seminary in Nigeria. THANK YOU for your continued support of World Outreach.  YOU are blessing these individuals.

Student Updates

I am Cephas L. Bahago, a student of the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary (JETS) studying for a Masters of Arts in Psychology and Biblical Counseling. This is my final year in school. I have been a beneficiary of the Provost’s Scholarship scheme for the most part of my education during this period. The scholarship has been of tremendous help to me in several ways, including the following:

  1.  The scholarship has been taking care of my tuition and other administrative charges, which is the largest part of school expenses. This has lifted a heavy burden off me as I only have to work hard to take care of my housing, welfare, study materials, and other expenses.
  2. With the Provost’s scholarship, I have a completely settled mind to study;, I do not have to think of where my tuition is coming from. This has saved me tremendous tension.
  3. I do not have a consistent source of income or any support to take care of my fees. Therefore, the Provost’s Scholarship is a great relief.

Overall, the Provost’s Scholarship is contributing immensely to my training for ministry, life dream and calling. I will forever be grateful to God and the Provost for this great favor.

As I work had to graduate from JETS, I have these prayer needs:

  1. The psychology and counseling training I am receiving here is only enough to get me started in my area of calling. Therefore, I necessarily need more training in the field of Christian psychology and counseling, which is an essential need in the Nigerian society, so I can be better equipped for the ministry of counseling (especially with youth), teaching, and writing, which I am passionate about. I need God’s guidance – and the admission – on which school is most suitable to train me for ministry. And then I need sponsorship/scholarship and support to carry out this study.
  2. At times I am concerned about my mom who has been a widow for just 5 years now. All of us, her children, are mostly away. Therefore, she is mostly alone. She needs God’s peace, company, constant comfort, good health, and protection.
  3. I need God to keep me healthy and strong.

Cephas L. Bahago –  Graduate Student 

I am Alice Yelebephee Wilberforce, from Taraba State, Nigeria. 200 level.

My father, Mr. Wilberforce Gyada,{has been} sick for four years now of stroke which left him speechless and paralyzed on his right side.

When I got admitted here, my elder brothers complained of the cost of tuition compared to a conventional university so they decided that I should forfeit my admission and wait for the coming year to write JAMB (pre-university test) and then go to the university since (according to them) my tuition for one semester is enough for a four-year degree program with feeding and course materials. I refused and told them that the God who gave me the admission despite the cost of tuition is able to provide for me. They {took their} hands off, and I came to the seminary trusting God for my tuition, feeding, money for books etc.

Actually, I almost gave up at a point because it looked like God was not going to provide and then my brothers would have laughed or even rejoiced that they had told me but I did not listen. I discussed with an M.A. student who begged me not to leave because he was sure that God would provide for me.

A week later, precisely October 14, 2011, I met Dr. Mrs. Galadima on the road and I greeted her. She stopped and asked if I was a student here, I said yes. She then asked me to come to her house. I went and met her with her husband, Prof. Galadima and afterward they gave me scholarship.

As I write this, they are not only paying my tuition but meeting my every need and I am staying in their home while they are away. My brothers are ashamed because I don’t call them for anything as they expected. Praise
God. God bless and reward you. Acts 10:4 is my prayer for you.

Alice Y. Wilberforce – Undergraduate Student

OUR PRAYER NEEDS

  • A standard hostel accommodation
  • Medical and counseling clinic
  • Scholarship for students
  • Sports facilities
  • Books for the library
  • Vehicles
  • Renovation of some structures
  • Staff development
  • Faculty and staff housing

Editor’s note: Immanuel family, thank you for your generosity! These two scholarships are made possible through special gifts given from individuals and through the World Outreach fund.