Dear WGM Family. . .
Before we knew it, we have come to yet another point of transition in our student cabinet. For some of us who are graduating, it hasn’t hit us yet. For me, writing this post is part of my attempt to come to grips with that reality, but it will also serve as my personal letter to you all who are part of the WGM family.
WGM has tremendously impacted and shaped my life. Through Global Café, God has opened my eyes to whole new horizons. He has shown me more of His heart. He has painted for me a picture of the world as He sees it, and He is inviting me to share in the work of the Kingdom. I hope and trust that the same can be said for you as well!
Global Café has grown tremendously during my time here, and I am so privileged to be allowed to be a part of it. The relationships I have formed here are precious to me, and it’s painful to say goodbye. This place is one of the few places in my life where I feel like I truly belong.
But now I turn specifically to next year’s student cabinet. I want to paint for you a picture of who Asbury WGM is. Even though I have spent barely a year on cabinet, I think I have been a regular attendee long enough to attempt to articulate the heart I have found here (side note: if a newcomer can articulate what you are about after knowing you for a short while, you’re doing something right).
If I could take everything we do and boil it down to three main purposes/missions, they would be these: 1) to connect people to the heart of God and to others; 2) to make sure every person who walks in those doors feel seen, heard, and valued; and 3) to exhort one another to say “Yes” to God’s call. I am so grateful that we have a group of people who give their all to these purposes week in and week out, and a director who unendingly reminds us to be expectant of what God wants to do. WGM is a vision-caster, and God knows we need more of them. We need people who cast a vision of the Kingdom, of the call, and of the heart of God.
This is why we do what we do. Whether you make gallons of coffee every week, or you stand outside in the elements to welcome people in, or you spend every Saturday making desserts. Whether you stand up front with a guitar or at the back putting out chairs for the latecomers (we see you), this is why you do those things. Believe it or not, the reason you wipe down the tables and “store up treasures in heaven” is so that someone can have a place to say yes to Jesus. You are doing Kingdom work! Don’t ever forget that.
Treat every person who walks through those doors as special guests, for you’ll never know when you may be attending angels unawares.
You will be blessed with a family you never expected to have but will be eternally grateful for. You will be known as the wild ones and will be proud of it. You will be surrounded by people who are willing to stand with you through the storm. They will celebrate when you celebrate and weep when you weep. This is a place where vulnerability is received with love.
The seniors are leaving to you a great work, a legacy. That legacy is not ours. It never was. We were only stewards of what had been passed on to us for this short time. Neither will it just be yours. You are a part of something bigger than yourselves. And we know we are leaving this place (and James!) in good hands.
Here at WGM, we connect people to God and to the world. It is what we do. It is who we are.
Praying God’s blessings on you,
Nathanael Chong ('19-'20 Webmaster)
Joseph's First Christmas
Hold on. Mary? Pregnant? How? Why? Who? And most importantly: what now? These disillusioning moments for the young Joseph presented only questions, no answers. He always thought Mary was a decent, God-fearing girl. Maybe he was wrong? How disappointing it must be to learn this of someone whom he had such a high opinion of and great affection for! This definitely wasn’t what he envisioned his marriage to be like.
What now? He had every right to send her away, not to speak to her again. Plus, as a righteous man of the Law, he should not proceed with the marriage. Breaking off the betrothal would probably be the right step. Yes, maybe he should do that. And what of Mary? He knew the Law was not kind to a sin like the one she apparently committed. If others find out, she’d be doomed to a life of misery, maybe worse. No, after much contemplation, he felt mercy was in order; rash action would be unwise. Send her away quietly. Give her a bill of divorce before two or three witnesses. Make this process as private as possible and wish her well. Yes, yes, that’s what he will do.
At the end of his rope, the angel of the Lord appeared to him, saying, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Hearing the Christmas story over the years has taught me various things, but this year, the story of Joseph’s first Christmas showed me this: that God was in what seemed like a scandal.
It wasn’t an actual scandal, but it certainly seemed scandalous to Joseph at the time. And that’s the point. We would like God to work in ways we can predict, measure, and write an annual report on. We would like God to “play safe” with something we can control. And more often than not, we would like God to fit in our theology.
I think it’s time to expect something different.
The story of Joseph’s first Christmas challenged me to take a second look at the things that seem weird and outside of my comfort zone. Some things are just plain wrong and we should put them aside. But for all we know, careful deliberation may reveal one of them to be the hidden workings of God, unacceptable from our perspective, but perfect from His.
To clarify, we should not go around looking for scandalous events, neither should we be okay with them. What I’m saying is that it is entirely possible that what may appear questionable to us may not actually be what we thought it was. This is where discernment comes in. But here’s my point: if, under much inspection and prayer, something unorthodox is found to involve the hand of God, we should not reject it, even though it may initially be uncomfortable.
The church has been praying a lot for God to move in powerful ways. I am too. I’m just wondering if, when God does move, it would be in a way we can't readily accept. I pray that we will be able to recognize the fingerprint of God in the things in which we don’t expect to find Him. This is what the angel was essentially saying to Joseph: “I know how it looks, and I know how you feel, but don’t reject it because God is in it.”
So just as God revealed to Joseph that the virgin birth was the work of the Holy Spirit, so sometimes God may point to something uncomfortable and say, “Don’t be afraid, for I am in it.”
I peered out the window of the nine-seater van as it rumbled through the busy streets of Nairobi, Kenya. The air vibrated with roaring engines and chatter, and smelled of exhaust gas. I was taking in everything--the other vehicles, the concrete buildings, the metal roofs, the red dirt roads, the street stalls, and the sheer number of people. In a city populated with three to four million people, you would be hard-pressed to find a spot where you could be alone.
People flew by my window as we drove, their faces blurring together, only giving me a split second to look at any one of them before another took its place. This sightseeing continued for a few more minutes before I had to take a step back, because at some point those faces blended into nothing for me. I ended up seeing them as mere numbers. A mass. A mob. Then a voice in my heart spoke, and I remembered that each person I passed by had a life just as complex as mine, if not more so. Plus, God knew each of them intimately, listening to their cries and prayers, and He was calling to Himself that random man who was sitting on that white bucket with a green baseball cap, just as He had been calling me. That day, I remembered, not for the first time and definitely not for the last, how big this world actually is.
Throughout that two-week mission trip in Kenya, my heart and mind were full of thoughts and feelings I struggled to process. Each day was filled with new lessons, new understanding, new joys. I saw true dedication and sacrifice. I heard of miracles and sufferings. I awed at the beauty of life, and attended a ceremony of death. I learned to build bridges and ride the wave. At one point, I took a step back and had a renewed awareness of how finite my heart was. At the end of each day, I found myself filled to the brim of everything I had to reflect on, so many I could hardly keep track of them, every detail that is pregnant with meaning--and all that from just a small part of the country There was no way I could hold in myself all that the world had to show me. The capacity of my own heart is too small.
And yet, our Father in Heaven has a heart big enough to hold all the desires, needs, miracles, cries, joys, and hurts of all the nations in His heart and hands. You see, I also realized that the world is not just one singular thing. Each person we drove by on the street possesses his or her own world, fleshed out and complex. The world we are called to is actually composed of all the personal worlds of the 7.7 billion people on the planet. To think that God knows each one intimately, and then some, puts me in a state of awe of Who He is and how great He is. The thing is, my heart is full of what could be poured in; His heart is full of what could be poured out, and He is calling each of us to be a vessel for everything His bursting heart has to offer.
Mary Anne Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, wrote the novel Middlemarch which focuses on the ordinary aspects of human life. Her lament is that we so often fail to see the ordinary, and she argues that there is really no such thing. If we take a moment to open our eyes to the noise of details and the smallest of pains, we may very well find that the most ordinary things are in fact the greatest. Alas, we so easily tune out of that awareness--but maybe for a reason.
She writes, “That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.” This is also true of the burdens of the world that people turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to—there is only so much we can take. The other side of silence is a noise that we cannot contain. “Our frames could hardly bear much of it.” But there is One Who could, and does. He holds it all. And we have a part to play. We cannot possibly bear the whole world, but we definitely can bear a part of it. And God is in the business of giving each of us our share. Some of us have been given a burden for the hungry cries of a baby. Some have a burden for the fatherless, friendless, or childless. Some have a burden for the high schooler, the retiree, the congressman, or the homeless. The call is to receive the one the Lord has for you.
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once said, “Get close to your surroundings. Get close to the world. That is where burdens are lifted. That is where burdens are given.” Rarely does one receive a calling within the four walls of one’s own room. More often than not, a calling is received outside of one’s comfort zone. That, in the words of a wonderful person by the name of Heather Tyner, is where the magic happens.
Sometimes we can get stuck. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually.
Sometimes it's because we are afraid, and sometimes it's because we are overwhelmed, and sometimes it's because of something else entirely.
Regardless of cause, when I personally feel paralyzed, turning to God is the only thing that helps (whether it is through prayer, scripture, fellowship, or another thing the Lord uses in His sometimes-surprising ways to get me moving again).
Putting Together the Pieces
How many times have you been asked to do a trust-fall over the years? How many times did it take to do it ‘right’ with your legs completely straight and no catching yourself? For me, it took years of summer camps and group trainings before I was able to fully let go...and it is still hard.
Life as a Christian can be like that sometimes. God whispers in our ear, “Trust-fall,” and asks us to lean into Him. How easily do we do it? Do we buckle and try to save our own skin? Or do we let His arms wrap around us in a protective embrace?
God was putting together the pieces. -Whitney McMunn
And so it begins!
"Let fear be your teacher, not your master."
Summer life is quiet in Wilmore. Each Fall when the semester resumes, a new energy returns with the students. Is it louder? Crazier? Perhaps even more reckless? Sure; but, it's also more full of Christ's loving people.
Over the past two weeks, hundreds of students (starting with campus leaders and Freshmen) have returned to Asbury University. Our exciting news? Most of them have already visited the WGM student center and/or engaged with cabinet members. In many incredible ways, Christ's loving people are eager to get involved.
Willkommen, Bienvenue, Kuwakaribisha, Bienvenido, etc. and...
Welcome to our new page!
If you were looking for World Gospel Mission at Asbury University, then you have come to the right place (and if you weren't looking for us, maybe you'll find something interesting anyway). We are happy to have you here, and more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to contact us for further information.
The people behind these posts are passionate about you and about WGM, and will always attempt to combine content with care.