gospel for asia

Entering a New Season

Meet the January 2014 School of Discipleship Second Year Graduating Class! That’s quite the mouthful to say. :)

I had the privilege to walk through 2014 with these 13 men and women, with all the challenges and joys of being the very first SD2 class. We were affectionately known as the “guinea lambs”!

jan 2014  year 2 class pic

First row: Joshua, Nathanael, Josiah, Christian, David, Jarius, Daniel | Second row: Natalya, Taylor, Lanae, Trula, me, Amanda, Sharlena

The Lord has taught me so much through this year and through my classmates. The various health struggles through  the year, moving from my hometown, adjusting back to being in the USA, new roommates, and an almost-overwhelming amount of homework… those things were all hard. But it seems like God works through hard things to teach me the most. He taught me trust, dependence, and faithfulness in the little things (a few of the many lessons).

Whether they realize it or not, my classmates taught me many things too. :) Perseverance. Passion for the lost and boldness to share the Gospel. Trust. Unity. Loving the differences in the Body of Christ. Patience. Commitment. Knowing God as our Father. Using our talents and creativity to glorify God. Joy. Putting others first.

We graduated from School of Discipleship on December 9th, and since we completed the second year of the program, we’ve really finished. Each of us are pressing on to what the Lord has called us to next; some to Bible college, some to overseas missions, some back home, and some coming back on staff at GFA. I’m one of those coming back on staff. I’m still here at Gospel for Asia since my family serves here, but it’s pretty different not being a student and not being around my classmates anymore.

My classmates and I are now entering a new season, and it most likely will hold more change, more transition, times of uncertainty, and struggles. But I know that we can walk with confidence in Christ, pressing on to know Him more and make Him known.

Read over this passage from Philippians and let it sink into your heart. And instead of just closing this window and clicking over to the next tab in your Internet browser, maybe open up God’s Word and spend some time with Him thinking about what He’s called YOU to do.

“Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered lost for Christ’s sake. Yes, and I look upon everything as loss compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For his sake I did in actual fact suffer the loss of everything, but I considered it useless rubbish compared with being able to win Christ. For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection: now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died, so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead. Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ.” – Philippians 3:7-14 (Phillips Translation)

How we’re linked to the mission field

This short excerpt from my recent October Newsletter gives you a small glimpse of how GFA staff or students and their support team are linked to the mission field in South Asia.

I serve full-time in Gospel for Asia‘s Web Department, in addition to taking School of Discipleship classes. I don’t always explain much of what I do or how it’s linked with reaching Asia, so I want to take some time and do that.

10 40 window

Right now the main things I work on are: GFA Canada social media (writing and posting several times a day) and Blog for Asia (a program for bloggers to use their voices to make a difference in Asia). I am also learning some web design, getting my toes wet with Google Adwords (advertising with Google), and helping make Veil of Tears follow up calls.

That gives you a small picture of my role in Web. By serving behind the scenes at Gospel for Asia, my life is linked with over 16,000 national missionaries serving in more than 10 Asian nations. I found this awesome explanation in the SD support brochure:

“Working in the ministry as a GFA School of Discipleship student, I represent more than 200 of these missionaries. My role behind the scenes is absolutely essential in helping win the battle for souls on the field. Think of it this way: The soldier who fights on the front lines has a team of people backing him up, keeping the supply lines open and enabling him to remain focused on the battle. Both the soldier and the team are equally important to the outcome of the war; one cannot survive without the other.”

To all those partnering with me, you are part of that team! Thank you.


To learn more about supporting me to come on staff with Gospel for Asia, visit www.gfa.org/ht/elch.

missionary blog for asia

Announcement: God’s leading for what’s next

Sometimes people ask me what I’m going to do after this year of School of Discipleship. In case you’re wondering that too…. I’m excited to announce that I have been accepted on staff with Gospel for Asia!

God has given me a passion for missions, and especially for India. Before and during our trip to South Asia last fall, the Lord confirmed that He wanted me to continue serving in ministry here at Gospel for Asia. Then, God directed me to be a student for another year, and this year has been an incredible time of equipping and growth. And now, the next step God showed me is staff, keeping on serving Him and helping to reach the lost in Asia!

My first year of SD in Canada pushed me out of the nest. I had to decide whether I wanted to follow Jesus and serve him because that’s what my family does, or because that’s what I was going to choose. And I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.

It’s a privilege to be part of a family who serves the Lord. Dad and Mom have been so influential in living out what it means to follow Jesus and to serve Him, and I’m so grateful for their example.

So what’s the plan? The big picture plan is to keep running hard after Jesus, with everything I’ve got. :) Also as I finish this SD year (by God’s grace!), I’ll work on raising support for staff.

Read more in my August/September newsletter…

elicia-christofferson-prayer-cards

Find out how you can support me here.

Faithful to say what God called me to say

Words are a gift. We can use them to build up, or to tear down. We have been given our words, our voices, by the Lord. And He’s given our words to us to be good stewards of!
For me this means being speaking words that love and encourage and build up, rather than words that criticize or judge or tear down. And being a steward of my words means using them well. If God has given me a talent in writing or saying things, then I want to be a good steward of that.

I don’t consider myself a “writer”, and I never have. But in the past few years the Lord has given me so many opportunities to write, and to hopefully learn to do it well.
And I confess, I haven’t been a good and faithful steward of my words. I haven’t been faithful to write and to say some of the things God has put on my heart. And I’m sorry.
I know this blog isn’t big, but I want to be faithful to be a good steward of it.

Psalm 40:10 says, “I will proclaim your faithfulness in the great assembly.”

That’s my heart’s desire – to proclaim God’s faithfulness! I want to do this through my life, through my photos, and through my words. And I want this blog, this letter to you, to be something that glorifies God. Something that proclaims His faithfulness.
This past weekend I was at the Declare Conference; an amazing gathering of women who love the Lord and who write blogs. I was on the team that represented Gospel for Asia, the ministry that God has called me to be part of. It was a joy and a privilege to connect with amazing attendees and awesome sponsors (and I want to give a shout-out to CK Design Mission and Mercy House Kenya!)

Thomas, Sara, Natalya, Clara and I got to share about what God is doing in Asia through GFA, and share the plight of women. And we hosted a Veil of Tears movie night! If you didn’t get to be there, you can watch the trailer for Veil of Tears here or order a free movie kit like we had at the Gospel for Asia table here. (**update – these are real links now – sorry for not linking this up before!)

Not only did we go as sponsors, but we heard from 5 awesome ladies who were keynote speakers, and sat in on a few sessions. I loved hearing from Crystal Stine about building authentic community through social media, and was challenged to be authentic and real even in my personal Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos. So you’ll probably be seeing less “cup of coffee, perfectly styled” Instagrams. Which will be a good thing.

A few of my biggest take-aways from the Declare keynotes and sponsors:
• Let’s follow God in wild obedience even when it doesn’t all make sense, and we don’t see the whole picture yet (from Kristen Welch).
• Saying yes and faithfully obeying what God asks us to do IS success (from Lisa-Jo Baker).
• When taking photos, ask the questions “Am I telling the whole story? Does this give dignity to them? Am I giving or taking by taking this photo?” especially in relation to photojournalism (from Esther Havens, humanitarian photographer).

The theme at Declare this weekend was Wild Obedience. And another theme was being brave with your words. I got this awesomely applicable temporary tattoo from Armed with Truth! And also designed this image, inspired by what I learned from Jess Connolly and my sister Clara.

brave-blog-collage

This is like the ultimate link-up, mention-all-the-names post! I only go to a few blogging conferences though, so…

Here’s a few photos from the weekend:

EC14-01736EC14-01746EC14-01751
EC14-01760

Gospel for Asia’s 35th Anniversary

35 years ago today, Gospel for Asia was founded by Uncle K.P. Yohannan. My family and I have been part of this ministry (this family!) for 12 1/2 years. It’s such a privilege to be in a community of people who love the Lord, who build up one another, and who are passionate about telling people in Asia about the salvation found only in Jesus. I have personally grown so much by growing up here, and by spending these years in the School of Discipleship. I am so thankful for my classmates, co-workers, teachers, and leaders who invest in my life. And God is continuing to work in our lives, and in the lives of thousands on the other side of the world. The best is yet to come!

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (one of my favorite verses) says, “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.”

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

35-anniversary-2

Gospel for Asia’s website is www.gfa.org.

Grateful for my Mom

coffee with mommy jan 2014Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, and it’s awesome to have a day set aside just for Mom. I need to tell my Mom how much I love her every day though, not just on Mother’s Day! Moms love and serve so much – they raise the kids, change the diapers, make meals, and take care of us, and often my Mom ends up serving people behind the scenes. It’s wonderful to have Mother’s Day and say, “Okay Mom, this day is for you. You can’t do the dishes; you can’t make the food; we’ll clean the kitchen. We just want you to know you’re loved today.”

My Mom has taught me so many things: how to sew, how to cook food, how to drive, how to treat other people, and how to love the Lord. She has been so influential in teaching me to follow Jesus, and I’m so grateful for her Godly example. And another big part of my upbringing was being a staff kid at Gospel for Asia, which I’m also so grateful for.

This year, Gospel for Asia has the goal to see 2,000 Bridge of Hope children sponsored before Mother’s Day. So, why child sponsorship for Mother’s Day?

Parents in Asia want to love and provide for their kids, just like parents here do, just like my Mom and Dad do. But so many families are trapped in poverty, and the fact that they’re not able to provide for their kids is heartbreaking. They can’t afford to feed them and to send them to school. They struggle just to put one meal on the table each day. My heart hurts to see this reality faced by impoverished families and moms.

That’s why Gospel for Asia wants to see children rescued through Bridge of Hope. Because when a child is enrolled in Bridge of Hope, it doesn’t just impact that little boy or girl – it touches the whole family.

mothers-day

Imagine being a Mom unable to provide for your child, just like these Moms in South Asia. And then someone comes and helps your child out of this life of poverty, sends them to school, gives them nutritious meals and medical checkups, and then tells them it’s because of Jesus who loves and values them. Imagine how grateful you would be!

And that’s what this Mother’s Day campaign is about. You can honor your Mom here by sponsoring a Bridge of Hope child for her, and you can give a mother in South Asia the hope of her child being helped. That’s a Mother’s Day gift better than roses and sweeter than chocolate! :)

It’s so exciting to see that over 700 children have already been sponsored. Seven hundred precious, unique individuals who are receiving hope and learning that Jesus loves them!

mothers-day-countdown

Happy Mother’s Day! Tell your Mom how much she means to you this weekend, give her a hug and a kiss, and consider checking out Gospel for Asia’s Mother’s Day campaign at www.gfa.org/mom to see how you can help rescue a child.

BOH-mothers-day-image

just 14 days

two weeks till canada

2013 is the year that this adventures begins.

On January 18th I’m going up to Canada for the School of Discipleship program with Gospel for Asia. One year where I’m dedicating my life to listen, obey, and serve Jesus.

I’m excited to see where Jesus takes me this year :)

I have to raise support to cover the cost of this year, $10,200 in total. By God’s grace, 62% is already raised. Would you think about supporting me?

www.mygfa.org/supportellie

only a drop in the bucket

Image

Gospel for Asia is able to help thousands of children in Asia through our Bridge of Hope program, but there are still millions who remain living on the streets in poverty and hopelessness. Sponsorship is only a small sacrifice on our part, but the $35 we give literally changes that child’s life. A precious little boy or girl will now receive education, good food, and medical care. And they’ll learn of a God who loved them so much that he sent his Son to die for them. This radical love is completely revolutionary in a culture where low castes are shunned and told of their worthlessness. I am blessed to have the opportunity to impact the life of a little girl living in the slums of Mumbai.

Each sponsor represents a child whose life is being changed. That change also ripples to the child’s family and community – so your sponsorship will impact more than just one person.

Join the ranks of those making a difference.

project: forgotten christmas

Back in January, my sister Clara and I helped plan for Gospel for Asia’s Forgotten Christmas video. This is the second year GFA has done this project – and its purpose is to challenge the way we think about Christmas. This 2 minute video forces us to think, to look at Christmas differently.

Have we lost the meaning of Christmas? Have we covered it up with “stuff?” Has Christmas become about the decorations, the gifts, and the celebrations, rather than JESUS? We’ve let these things steal our focus.  It’s not the way it should be.

As Christians, we are to be in the world, not of it. It’s hard to fix our focus on the one thing that does matter – Jesus. It’s hard to tear ourselves away from this world, and to look at Christmas differently.

Put Christ first this Christmas.

Go watch this video here: www.forgottenchristmas.org

Last weekend I created this with my friend.

Time-lapse .gif of it’s making:

And just for fun:

You might notice the “gfa.org/gift” written in chalk up there. GFA’s Christmas Catalog is a way that we can help people who are lost and without hope. The Dalit people group in Asia is the Forgotten People (go to this link to learn more). We can remember them this Christmas, and share with them the love and hope of Christ. Not only can we tell them of the God who loves them, but we can help them in practical ways as well. With a goat, a sewing machine, a cow, some chickens – these people can make a new life for themselves, and learn of the One who died to save their sins.