White for Harvest
Rob Gaebler’s news from Gospel for Asia
Dear friends and family,
I pray that this Christmas and New Year are a time for you to be renewed as you reflect on your walk with the Lord and all that God has given you. As one song so eloquently says, “Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.” What a blessing we have during this season to open our hearts to Christ, while the world around us rushes all the more madly on their way to death, without pausing to give thought to the baby in the manger. May the true joy and love of the Savior shine forth in your life.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
These last few weeks have been full of activity and the evidence of God’s faithfulness. God has greatly blessed my support raising, so I am almost done! My knee has been healing well from surgery, too—thank you for praying! I completed my Master’s degree in math at UCSD earlier this month, and am now back home in Iowa. This week, from Dec. 27-31, I will join 25,000 college students at the Urbana missions conference in St. Louis. I will be at GFA’s booth sharing about the internship program I was a part of last year. And finally, on January 8, I return to Dallas to work with GFA! I am needed back in the Call Center, where I worked last year. I am looking forward to serving at GFA, Lord willing, until He calls me home. Pray for many faithful, fruitful years of service at GFA.
By God’s grace, my classes this quarter were easy, which allowed me to focus on meetings and talking with people as I raised my support to join GFA. Day by day, step by step, God answered my prayers and opened doors for 36 meetings where I spoke to hundreds of people about GFA and my vision for serving there. God orchestrated several “chance” encounters with people who were very interested in hearing about GFA and supporting me—and some of these contacts led to meetings with even more people! I love sharing with people about the Lord’s heart, and the incredible calling He has given me to be part of reaching the lost—the 80,000 people who die each day in Asia without even knowing of our Savior, and are lost for eternity. And I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they catch the vision themselves. Please pray for the Lord to quickly provide all my support. Pray especially for God to guide the churches and individuals that are still praying about supporting me.
One story I often tell people is about Brother Moses Paulos, a GFA missionary who took a team of eight workers to share the Gospel in a totally unreached Hindu village called Venbar. Within an hour, villagers had tied them to a giant sacred tree at which they sacrificed to their gods and goddesses. They beat them mercilessly with iron bars until some of the brothers fell unconscious. In that village they have a custom that if anyone comes in promoting another religion, they skin them alive, then throw their bodies into the ocean. By God’s grace, the two men who would have been called upon to do the job were away, so the villagers beat the missionaries some more and kicked them out of the village.
It took more than a month for Brother Paulos and the others to heal in the hospital. Yet as soon as they were released, they went back to Venbar, knowing they might be killed this time. They did not consider their lives dear to themselves, but were willing to pay the ultimate price to obey the Lord’s call.
When the team returned to Venbar, they were received with respect. What they didn’t know is that the day after they had been beaten, the sacred tree had died and withered. The power of God so confirmed the preaching of the Gospel that the village was filled with the fear of the Lord. That first weekend they baptized 25 new believers, and within two months there was a church with 150 believers. Praise God! I am so honored that God has given me the privilege of serving people like Brother Paulos, who are bringing the Book of Acts to life today.
In JANUARY, five months into my 1-year internship at GFA, the Holy Spirit was already stirring my heart to earnestly pray and seek my calling. As I spoke with people at one Acquire the Fire youth rally, I first realized that I love sharing about the needs of the lost world and what God is doing through GFA more than I love math.
In FEBRUARY, the interns went on a two-week Vision Tour to India, where we met several of GFA’s senior leaders, visited some GFA Bible colleges and churches, and saw the work of God first-hand. Through this trip, the stories about the mission field became flesh and blood for me.
In MARCH, two other interns and I spoke at our church about GFA and our trip to India. Much to my delight, God moved several people to sign up to sponsor native missionaries or Bridge of Hope children!
In MAY, in answer to my prayers, the Lord very clearly called me to serve at Gospel for Asia! This was certainly the highlight of the entire year.
In JUNE, GFA held a 3-day missions conference. Most of GFA’s country and regional leaders from Asia came and spoke, and several hundred people from America, including my parents, attended. At last, God gave my mom and dad peace about my decision to join GFA.
In JULY, I began writing letters and calling people to raise my financial support for coming on GFA staff.
In AUGUST, I finished my 1-year internship at GFA, returned to grad school at UCSD, and had my first support-raising meeting.
In SEPTEMBER, classes started at UCSD, and God miraculously provided over $10,000 for me to afford the fall quarter!
In OCTOBER, I had knee surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL ligament.
In NOVEMBER, God opened many doors for me to speak to small groups, churches, and individuals as I raised my support. I also turned 52 years old.
In DECEMBER, I completed my Master’s degree in math at UCSD, returned home to Iowa for Christmas break, and nearly finished my support raising efforts. In this last week of 2006, I will help represent GFA at the Urbana missions conference. Praise God for His awesome faithfulness in 2006!
I have received incredible encouragement and much-needed help from many, many people. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to you all. Thank you, everyone who gave me rides, hosted open houses, prayed for me, called me back, persistently told others about my need, gave me advice, listened carefully to me and to the Holy Spirit, made promises and followed through, read the book, invited me to speak to your group, opened your home for me to sleep, let me borrow your car, and gave sacrificially. The Lord will not forget what you have done for Him.