April 29, 2009

Oh, The Joys of 1-to-1 Discipleship

For the whole of last year, I had the great privilege to meet up 1 on 1 with 4 girls to study God's word and seen them grow and know Jesus more.

I knew J from church's fellowship group Clay. She was the first person that I approached to do 1 on 1 study with. We started to do Women of God study with monthly meetings at my place on Saturdays. From our 3rd study onwards, she brought Y to join us.

I am very encouraged to see how J learnt and benefitted from the studies. I myself had done this book years ago with M back in Singapore. I figure that it would be easier to begin with a book that I am familiar with. Through the studies and our discussion, J learnt what it means to be a woman who loves Jesus and the role of women that God has created us to be. I recalled some discussions caused J to be thinking about her views and opinions about the role of women.

J is now in Asia, quit her job and is spending this 1 year of her life to be trained and exposed to gospel work. Of course her decision to do this is not flowing from our meetings but it flowed from her love for God and sharing the Good News with others who have not heard of Jesus.

Y is a fairly new and young Christian when I just got to know her. J did the series of Christianity Explained with Y and she became a Christian after that. When Y learnt that J is meeting up with me, she was keen enough to come along to join us. It was very humbling and encouraging to see how much Y thirst for God's word, how readily she fast absorb all that we learnt in the studies and how she would faithfully write down J and my prayer requests into her book so that she will remember to pray for us.

After the Women of God studies, I continued on to have a series of Bible Explained studies with Y. B.E. goes through and explains the entire theme and understanding of the Bible through 7 talks/studies by Michael Bennett. Even though I had learnt about something similar before, I thank God that I am still learning as I go through it with Y. At the end of the studies (which only ended recently), Y shared with me that through these studies, she has learnt so much about the Bible and that she now knows how to read the Bible herself. She is excited that she probably knows it more than her peers in church. However the most important thing was her confession and seeking prayers for an issue that she is struggling with and she struggles more as she grows as a Christian. I am very encouraged that her growth has prompted her to think about how she is conducting her life and she wants to (even if it is a painful decision) obey God and not displease Him with what she is doing.  This issue was something which I long ago, had thought that it was a problem but did not have the chance to speak with her about it. In the end, it was the Holy Spirit in Y working in and through her and prompted her to change. Praise the Lord!

Y is now looking into joining Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) where she hopes to settle and grow in a Bible Study group (her church's teaching is not great and she could not find a suitable group to join). Really pray and hope that she will continue to grow in her knowledge of God.

Z came to our church's garage sale to buy things for her and her flatmates as they arrived in Brisbane to study. They were all from my home country. One time, Z visited church and came for the Sunday service. From our chat, I realised that she used to attend church in SG. In the end, as part of ministering to them and getting them used to Brisbane life, I offered to bring them around Sunnybank, a suburb full of Asians and Asian shopping. That was how we got to know each other more...

During Z's school holidays, I invited her to my place one Friday for lunch and to help me out making afternoon tea for the coming Sunday's service. Through our conversations, I then realised that she is not really a Christian and she was not sure if she could be one. We chatted and I tried to find out why she thinks that way. In the end, I challenged her to find out more herself by reading the Bible. 

I then offered to Christianity Explained studies with her on Sundays for about 1 hour after church service. I figured this would also make her come church more regularly. Through the weeks, Z got to understand more about who Jesus is and what He has done for her. Z has a very compassionate heart. She would also pray for me when I share with her. Even though we did not complete the CE studies (we were left with 1 last study as she left back to Malaysia/Singapore for good), I challenged her to consider what we have studied and for her to make a decision. Even though she did not really truly replied me, I know and pray that she will continue to grow in her journey of knowing Jesus. I was so moved when I saw her blog entry about me... 

S is a stay home mum of a 27-month boy and is expecting No 2 in September. Last year, I told S that if I manage to find part-time work, we can meet weekly and do some study together. God answered our prayers when I found my current part-time job. This allowed us to meet every Monday to go through a book (with study questions) "Disciplines of a Godly Woman". 

Although we did not end up discussing the book and its questions every week, our meetings has been ministering to her as we talk about marriage and parenthood. Even though I am not a parent yet and have been married for a much shorter time that S, I could encourage her and able to challenge her in some areas relating to marriage and parenting. Through the past few months, I could definitely see the ways that she has grown in her parenting and some aspects of marriage... all thanks to God who worked in her to cause the transformation! We still have lots to cover in the book... but even if we do not get the chance to complete it nor meet often as before, our friendship has grown and this made us closer and hopefully, able to mutually encourage and spur the other to love and good deeds.

It is so amazing to see God working in people's lives and see lives being transformed. I humbly thank God and praise Him for what He has done in the lives of these girls! I am thankful and amazed when I recall that it I do not really have the chance of meeting 1-to-1 with women in SG because of our busy schedules and my involvement in church. Thank God that I can manage to spare the time here in Brissy to do so. Even though there were some times of disappointment, tiredness, weariness, laziness, God still worked in His own ways! 

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