Friday, 29 November 2013

Overflow of Grace.

"We have seen his glory...full of grace and truth...for from His fullness we have received grace upon grace" John 1:14-16

The Lord is so full of grace and truth that the undeserved gift He bestows upon His beloved children is overflowing with grace upon grace. He spilt His blood not in a minimal portion, but drained it to the last drop for so that we could be sanctified.

The Lord has been opening my heart to greater understand this truth of abundant grace; it is completely undeserved and often neglected in result of my carnal flesh. This is a season of Thanksgiving and praise for the ample blessings that we have. This is one significant blessing that I hope I do not just reserve for my Thanksgiving meal when we all go around and state what we are thankful for. I hope and pray that I will be driven to proclaim this life giving truth with every breath that comes out of my lungs.

It has been too long since my last post, for that I apologize. I write now from Indiana, in a house filled with welcoming people that I have never met. Though separated by geography and being genetically diverse, we have found indescribable unity through the blood of Christ that acts as a glue holding us all together. This has led me to greater appreciate the love and support of my family and friends back in Abbotsford. I have been in Chicago for over 3 months and I am consistently reminded of the prayers covering me and sincere questions of "How is Mitch doing" that are asked of my parents throughout the weeks. 

Moody has been a season where I have both been surviving and thriving. Being quite different from my experience at CBC, I have had to adapt to new rules, different professors, a huge city and new friends. The most amazing thing is that God is constant everywhere, there is no location in which God is not/cannot go. I have been able to do a lot of work with the marginalized people here in Chicago on a few different levels. I have been volunteering at a homeless shelter and with a few other students at Moody providing daycare for the children of homeless and single mothers. My heart has truly been breaking over these kids each week. They are not well behaved and lack discipline to the standards that I have been raised, but we are able to show the love of Christ to them each week through stories, games, songs and simply through our presence. I also have been able to be involved with Moody's homeless ministry called Frontlines. I have been going out every Tuesday night, giving out sandwiches, blankets and clothes to the homeless on the streets surrounding the campus. My mindset has been challenged and my heart healthily convicted each and every week from these ministries. The Lord is working, yet it is hard to go back to the dorm to my warm room and bed when I know I have friends that struggle just to find a place to lay their heads. Have you thought about that lately?

The semester is truly winding down now, so I only have a couple weeks left of actual classes and then I have exams. I look forward to going back to Abbotsford for Christmas break, coming home on Dec 20. Thank you for all of your support and prayers!

I would really appreciate to have prayer that God would continue to open doors of ministry for me as I am here in Chicago, and that He will use me to see the advancement of His Kingdom. Pray for the people that I am meeting with weekly, and that the Lord would reveal His Spirit to them that they may believe in His glorious truth. Also, I would humbly ask for trust that God will continue to provide financially for me as I am at Moody, both for flights and for tuition costs.


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Just a Glimpse of Guidance

I sit here with my possessions...two bags, a backpack, a skateboard and my plane ticket to Chicago. Common sense beckons me to stay BUT the Lord urges me to walk in faith (Psalm 119:105). We have the choice to live in security and ease or to live in obedience which promises us nothing less than the hope and prize of standing before the Holy One in eternity...but that choice is left to us.

"Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you." - Psalm 139:7-12

This step is not one of loneliness or a time of separation from the David declares in this beautiful Psalm that whether we are in the depths of the sea, near death or covered by darkness, the right hand of the LORD is holding us and specifically holding me. This declaration is hard to comprehend and trust as I sit here surrounded by strangers with my few possessions. But following the life of David as he fled for his life from Saul's army and fought countless battles in the name of Yahweh, it humbles me and allows me to understand even a faint glimpse of the guidance of our Lord and Father.

I leave my base camp of Abbotsford to Chicago for a first session of four months in the Windy City, the third largest city in the US, and the Moody campus is in the core of downtown. I will be engaging in new and exciting studies of the Word of the Lord, and most likely this is the first trip of many over the next 3 years as I finish my BA in Biblical Studies.

I cannot express the thanks that I have for the overwhelming support I have been showed by family, friends and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Your prayer has been such an indescribable blessing and I ask with sincerity that as you think of me you would continue this prayer over at my time at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Pray that I would be willing to allow Him to mold and shape my mind to focus on His glory and that I would be attentive to the wisdom and knowledge He would reveal to me about Himself. The Lord provides and continues to provide over all of the logistical things that need to be done and the finances for this adventure, God is so good! 

"One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4

Monday, 22 July 2013

Meant For More

My phone rings in April, unknown number...I decline... a voicemail is left

"Hey Mitch, this is Keats Camp, and we are wondering if you would be interested in being a camp speaker this summer"

Me: "Do you know that I am only 20 years old..." and after prayer and thought I accept...

The past months have been a time of preparation, meditation, studying and prayer on the topic of "Meant for More" all because of this call I received to speak at Keats Camp. It has been a time (and still is) of anxiousness, excitement, fear and growth by the power of the Lord. Where do I go with this huge subject I asked myself, the answer from the Lord was "You mean, where do I want you to go with this?"

And so the preparation began and now I type this with only one week until I am speaking at Keats Camp, July 29-Aug 5th. I have learnt so much through this topic of being Meant for More. It is so powerful, as sons and daughters of the Most High, we are not to mold into the crowd and hide ourselves from the world, we are not lit as lamps to be hidden underneath a blanket says Christ in Matthew 5. We were created by the one and only triune God with a unique purpose to spread His name and gift to all. We are to carry, defend, represent, trust and live out His Word and many things that could be spoken on in the Bible to fit this subject but yet such little time with these campers to speak. God leads.

Gift of Christ...Hope...Life of David

I have been studying and reading through the life of David with a mentor and friend of mine and God began to tug on my heart, I knew that this man of God was to be a main part of my camp talks. David's life displays swimming against the current as the salmon run. He was not perfect, but he held to the promises of the Lord and allowed for them to be fulfilled in God's timing. I am going through a few major sections of David's life and pointing them back to the living hope (which distinguishes us) that we have in Christ Jesus.

"But what about these young hearts and minds, God I do not want to misrepresent your Word..." - Luke 21:15 ...I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict"

I fear the Lord and His Word, but I am strengthened in knowing that He will direct my words to be what He intends to speak into these young hearts and minds. Please pray with me as I speak from July 29-Aug 5th that the Lord will be calling to His children and that they will have softened hearts and that they will answer to His call and receive salvation. Also pray that I will be diligent in discerning what is of the Lord and what is of my own carnal mind as I am speaking every night, for I dare not speak of my own thoughts, only His.

To God be the Glory, Forever and Ever. Amen.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

What's Real Life?

Just playing some V-BALL
The last few days has been a radical change from life in Ukraine, a country where I hardly can speak the language, just started to truly understand the culture, had a few people to talk to for support, and then moved back where I know the language, the people and the culture... life in Canada. So many times people say that once they come back from missions they return back to real life. The truth is, you are not back in real life, you never left it. I know that God called me specifically to go to Ukraine with TREK for this past 6 month experience. I, along with all Christians, am called to a life of ministry, it does not matter where I am or what I am doing, I must do it all for the glory of the LORD. We read in 1 Cor 9 about Paul speaking about becoming all things for all people-when I went to Zaporozhye I was prepared to drop the "norms" found in Canada and dedicate my life to preaching the gospel, now what is the difference when I come back to Abbotsford? I am called to put aside the lifestyle from Ukraine and come back to Canada ready to witness to people in the best way that I can, no matter what that means.

NDAY doing their sound check
We had an amazing last few on assignment, and must of that is because the final BBQ went great! We had just over a hundred friends and church members come and celebrate the time that our team was blessed to have in Zaporozhye. David and I set up a volleyball net, we grilled hot dogs, played games, took seemingly a thousand pictures, had a concert with the local Christian band NDAY and the most important thing was that the GOSPEL was able to be shared to all our friends. I was able to go one stage a tell everyone why our team was there, what the goal of this trip was and about the amazing love that Christ has for each one of them and that he desires a relationship with each person. It was held in a park so there were many people attending the concert who had never even met us but they heard the word of life.

My team arrived back in Abbotsford on Sunday and now I am living back at the Mark Centre for two weeks of debrief. I am taking this debrief very seriously and I want to bring a good end to this experience so I would politely ask for no visitors, I am finished on the 16th of June. It is a time in which both of the teams are united once again and we are able to just talk about what happened on each one of our trips and our stories and experiences. We also pray that God will guide each of us into a smooth transition back to life in our hometowns. I am not too physically tired but my mind definitely is in a bit of a confusing stage right now just trying to process the changes that have happened and will happen.
Please PRAY for the seeds that we have planted in Ukraine. Our friend Kristina is so close to entering into relationship with Christ but she is just afraid of giving everything to Him, please join us in praying that God will reveal to her his greatness and that she may give Him all that she has. The New Hope Centre/Church is working hard at starting their trade school this coming September, please pray for funds and also house parents to live with the students. Also as I am entering back into life in Canada, it is a very big change and please pray that my mind with stay focused on the LORD and allow Him to lead me and allow me to process the whole last 3 months in a positive way. I do not want to just slip into the regular routines of life, but I want to continue to put my all into advancing the Kingdom of God. Thank you for all of your support, and I look forward to seeing and sharing with you personally when we meet.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Hidden Treasures

    "My son, if you receive my words
        and treasure up my commandments with you,
    making your ear attentive to wisdom
        and inclining your heart to understanding;
    yes, if you call out for insight
        and raise your voice for understanding,
    if you seek it like silver
        and search for it as for hidden treasures,
    then you will understand the fear of the LORD
        and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1-5

Search for wisdom as if it is as valuable as hidden treasure, it has great worth! This has been the focus of the last week here in Zaporozhye. I do not want the knowledge or wisdom of the flesh to consume me but I want the Holy Spirit to fill me and spill out of me. For what God speaks is of more value than any silver or gold that we can find here on earth. His mind is so great and so wise that he thought of the design of the universe, the earth and all that is in it. He thought out precisely how I shall be made, how my heart will beat, how my blood will flow, how many hairs are on my head...his knowledge is greater than any earthly wisdom. This has especially relevant to me as I preach. I never want to speak out of the knowledge that has been tainted by the evil in this world, the earthly wisdom that promotes impurity, pride and self-reliance. I desire for the words that flow out of me to be prompted upon by the Spirit of the LORD.

But how could I ever be able to obtain this wisdom from above... I must receive the words of God and treasure them, incline my ear to His whispers of knowledge, cry out to the LORD for his insight and SEEK it! I have been convicted of not having spent enough time with the Christ in silence and solitude, I had been asking and calling out for the wisdom of God but I have not been earnestly searching for it as if it diamonds, gold or silver. So that has been something that I have changed and will need to continually work on in my walk with Jesus. I have not been devoting time in the evening for God just to speak to me, I have been trying to tune my ear to His still but ever so present words. I feel comfort and a security more than I ever have before in my God. He has been telling me to just continue to pray...that when I feel that the puzzle of pieces of life just don't seem to be fitting together, he spoke and said "Relax, remember who made the pieces".

These last few weeks have gone by so quickly, and now we only have 5 days left. Five days to be confident that we left the mark of Christ on all of the land that we walked on and all the people that we met. The devil has been persistently attempting to place doubts in the mind of myself and my team in these last days. In the name of Christ these doubts have not right to be believed, be gone Satan and be bound by the blood of Jesus. I am a servant of the LORD, I have been called by the Almighty God to be here in Ukraine for the last 3 months, and our ministry is not and was not in vain. The truth in the Bible and the wisdom of God is able to give me this assurance.

Orphanage 3 Final Bell Ceremony
In these last weeks we have attending the graduating ceremonies for the two orphanages that we have been heavily involved with and landscaping a lot at one of the local dental clinics. David and I were also blessed to be apart of a Bible study held by one of the friends that we have met through our Friday night English Clubs. We have been meeting with people and inviting them to go for coffee and talk about the love that Christ has for them. Our friend Kristina is still very hungry for the power of God to fulfill her life. We have given her a new testament copy of the Bible in Russian and she has been reading through the Gospel of Mark and we are meeting with her a few more times this week. Please pray that the blinders that Satan has placed upon her will be broken off and anything that she is holding on too from the past will be destroyed and she will have no doubt in the love that Christ has for her and that she is a beloved daughter of God.

Please Pray for our final barbeque this coming Thursday. It is our final goodbye and chance to really share the gospel with all the people that we have met, there are going to be lots of people attending, pray that the presence of God will be evident and that people accept His love and relationship! For the healing of Alona's tailbone. We have been trusting and praying that she will be healed before we leave. For the New Hope Church, they have a baptism classes this week and pray that the people that have accepted Christ in the last year will attend these classes. For the Christians that have been attending the church for a long time but have not yet accepted Christ, they are continually in the community but have not made a decision to enter into relationship with Jesus. For our team, please pray for peace and trust as we are leaving our new friends and family in Christ, that we will REJOICE in all things no matter what happens that we will stay focused on our remaining ministry.

Monday, 21 May 2012

We are ENFORCERS, not captives

Reaching an entire it possible? Do you think that through the power of the LORD we would be able to tell a whole population that Jesus Christ loves them and desires to have a personal relationship with them? What is holding us back...Money? God, in whom we trust, he is the one who holds all the finances of the world in His hands. Rejection? It states in Galations 1:10 that we are not here on earth to please man, but that we are here to please God. He calls us and we read in the Great Commission that we are to reach OUR city and then go to the ends of the earth and proclaim His glory. Trials? In James 1:12 it says "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.". What is holding me back, what is holding the church of Christ back?

Preaching at New Hope Church
Throughout the last couple weeks I have read through "That None Should Perish"-Ed Silvoso and that is when I really started to think of the best ways to reach people for the sake of Christ. God has been teaching me more and more about advancing His kingdom at all costs. When I left Canada, I came here willing to adapt to the culture and try to think in the mindset of a local, and I desire to do the exact same thing when I get home. At all costs, being fully adaptive to my surroundings, I want to spread the love and grace of Christ to all people. I preached this Sunday at The New Hope Church in Zaporozhye about the body of Christ uniting together and becoming ENFORCERS OF TRUTH. That we may no longer be slaves to the deceiver and captives to lies but to be free as officers of God to claim back that which is rightfully His! Zaporozhye is His, Abbotsford is His, the world is HIS, we need to serve the evil one his eviction notice in the church and in our daily lives.

Playing at orphanage in Volnyansk
Although we only have two more weeks serving here in Ukraine, I am trusting that God will still use us greatly for His name. We are at a stage in ministry that we have built strong relationships and have told many of our english students the gospel. We had a girl come to our house this past week and we did a devotional through John 3 with her and sang worship songs and she is hungry for a Savior right now. Her name in Kristina, so please join me in praying for her that we will see her coming to know Christ before we leave on June 2nd.

Please pray for our friend Alona as well for the healing of her tailbone by June 2nd, so that she may sit on it again with no pain. Also please pray for our team, it is very close to the time that we will be leaving and all of us are not looking forward to saying goodbye to the friends that we have made here. Pray that our hearts will be at peace for leaving and also the re-entry into Canada that we will place God as the provider of our lives. Like I said previously, we have had a great impact on many teenagers lives since we have come and we have a goodbye BBQ which is our last time to tell them about God and why we exactly came to Ukraine. The New Hope Church will be there and we are praying that we can connect these young people to the church and see them have a personal relationship with Jesus. Thank you for all of your prayers!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A New Heartbeat

Our hearts beat at least 100,000 times everyday. It works around the clock to pump blood throughout our entire bodies and without it we are unable to support our mortal bodies. What is God's heartbeat, what gives life to the King of Kings? Answer: THE LOST. The thing that God lavishes His love over is the lost and seeing them come to know Him. This is not saying that He does not care for those who have faith in Him, but the main focus is on those who do not yet know Him. I have been focused and praying to obtain this desire to see the lost saved. The people that surround us day after day are not just mortal bodies that are going to live for 80 years but they each represent an eternal life...everyday I need to remind myself of this, an ETERNAL LIFE! I want the heart like that of the shepherd that left the ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep. I have been learning and reading about praying for those who do not yet believe in Christ and through this I have been getting excited to advance the Kingdom of our Living God! I no longer want to just list off a number of people who need to know Jesus and pray the same words for each person. I want to pray for specific ways for the Lord to minister to them and show them how they can find peace in His name. "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”-Matthew 21:22. It is all about FAITH! God desires for me to put all that I am into His power and His name and lift up prayers for the lost with a healthy expectation that he is going to reveal Himself to the people that I am asking deliverance for. I want God to use the trek team and me specifically to see fruit amongst the people here in Zaporozhye. I desire for each of the beats of my heart to be driving me to see the spiritually blind set free and find rest in Christ's love.

Playing English Games at School 40
Our weeks here in Ukraine have been jammed packed and filled with many different things. Our team had our last day of teaching English at School 40 this week and it was sad to say goodbye to our awesome students. This day was also extremely uplifting from the response of our time there from the teachers. They were so thankful that we came every Thursday and they wished deeply that we could have spent more time with them and their classes. They went around and spoke words of encouragement to each one of us on the TREK team. I was confirmed by a teacher named Lienna that I have been given the gift of teaching and I show a passion in all things I did. She also wished me much luck for my going into church ministry and she said that all the teachers and students were amazed when God blessed the opportunity for the team and I to share the gospel with the students around the Easter season. All of her words touched my heart and I felt so encouraged to hear this non-Christian lady speak with such kindness and sincerity for me and the ministry within the Church that I am pursuing.

Our games night continues to be an amazing way for us to outreach to those who we teach at School 40, those we meet at English Club and throughout our other ministries. We invite those who want to come to play games, eat some dessert food and snacks and then one of the trek team members shares what God has been teaching them that week. It is an easy, fun and productive way to share the love of Christ with those who do not yet know Him. Please pray for a girl named Kristina, she has asked for us to buy her a Bible and she is coming to church next weekend. Pray that she may see again the love the Christ has for her, that He will never leave or forsake her. Also pray for our friend Yefim. I met him at our English Club on Friday nights and he has come to the orphanage in Volnyansk to translate and wants to come again. He strongly dislikes the politics that many of the churches in Zaporozhye facilitate so please join us in praying that he will see the freedom and relationship that is offered to him through Jesus.

With some friends from Feodosia
Our team was also encouraged by joining and worshiping together with a church in Feodosia. We spend the weekend with the congregation and had a picnic and church together and we were very blessed by them and their love for the LORD.

Some other prayer requests would be for our friend Alona. I have prayed with her a few times and we are praying for her tailbone to be healed. She has been unable to sit comfortably due to the pain for over two years and ever since we have started praying, she has been feeling better and better. I am asking to God that He will heal her so that she may sit down with no pain by the time that our team leaves for Canada on June 2nd. Also pray for me this week as I am preaching at two services at The New Hope Church, that God and His Spirit will choose the topic and reveal it to me that I may bring all the glory to Him. Thank you so much for your support and your much loved and needed prayers. I can definitely feel the prayers from home and it is so encouraging to remember that the God that you and I are praying to, across the world, is constant and does not change. HALLELUJAH!