Story from the Mission Field: Leprosy

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When I was on a Gospel for Asia vision tour in South Asia a year and a half ago, I met a woman named Mina, who was affected by leprosy. Mina told me her story.

She had suffered from the disease for 40 years, and lived for most of that time in colonies with other people suffering from leprosy. Her husband had died, and her son lived outside the colony, only visiting occasionally. To earn some money to pay for her medication, Mina had to beg. Every day from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m., she would beg outside a local religious site.

This visit to the leprosy colony was one of the hardest parts of the trip. Most of society has shunned these people, and there was so much suffering, so much despair. But we met a group of missionaries who loved and cared for the leprosy patients. They ministered to their needs in both practical and spiritual ways, like cleaning their wounds and praying for them. We saw a glimpse of hope being poured out.

Hope in this place of suffering is almost a paradox. Mina, the woman I met, smiling with genuine joy? The men and women who said they were encouraged by our team’s visit? A man who prayed to the same God I worship? But it’s true. And it’s only because of the love of Christ working through the missionaries serving there; His love touching the lives of the suffering; His love displayed through my team members.

I’d like to leave you with this quote from Pastor Jiva, a missionary who started leprosy ministry in another region of South Asia.

“’It is because of God’s grace that we have the strength, courage and motivation to work among these people, to share with them, to hug them, to love them and to care for them,’” – Pastor Jiva

(Quote from http://www.gfa.org/news/articles/compelled-by-love/)


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World Leprosy Day was observed on January 25, 2015. Although leprosy is foreign to daily life for many of us, thousands still suffer from the disfigurement and devastating social stigma caused by this disease. In 2013, 215,557 new cases of leprosy were diagnosed globally. More than half of these were in India. (source: World Health Organization)

Dedicated missionaries like Pastor Jiva are reaching out to people afflicted by leprosy in South Asia, touching their lives with the love and care of Christ. This ministry takes place not only on World Leprosy Day, but also on every other day of the year. We can be part of impacting their lives with hope, too! Visit Gospel for Asia’s Leprosy Ministry page here.

Big City Adventure

I call it a”Big City Adventure” in jest, because it wasn’t that long ago that I lived in the suburbs of the city of Dallas. However, now that I live in the country (thinking of country mouse, city mouse, anyone?), driving into town has definitely become an event. 

My sisters, some friends and I drove into Dallas for some good coffee and adventure a week ago, in honor of Clara who was about to start School of Discipleship. Here are some photos of our time at Houndstooth Coffee and Lakeside Park. Dinner at Chipotle was not captured in photos, but nonetheless delicious!

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*all photos by Elicia Christofferson unless stated otherwise. all rights reserved. 

Cheers to the next adventure!

Okay, Deep Question Time

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Yesterday morning my sister Clara and I were eating breakfast and talking about asking hard questions. Sometimes we joke around, and say “Okay, deep question time” or “Whoa, that’s oceanic” (meaning really deep.) But asking a friend questions that are beyond the surface, or questions that show we care, helps knit our friendship that much deeper, or helps create a friendship where there was not one before.

Clara has a penchant for asking deep questions. Basically, she has a thing for it. A common occurrence when we’re washing dishes*, or making tea, or going on a drive (now that we live in the country) is for Clara to ask, “So, what has God been teaching you recently?”

Sometimes I don’t know how to answer that question right away.

But I’m so grateful for Clara pressing on to take relationships a step deeper. I have been challenged to do this too, and see how it becomes a blessing to both me and others.

These are some questions I am asking people in my life:

  • What is God teaching you right now?
  • How did God call you to serve here?
  • What are your goals for this year?
  • What aspects of God’s character is He revealing to you?
  • And… do you know of any good churches in Terrell?**

How beautiful is it that having these conversations not only grows us closer as friends, but brings joy to Jesus too?

Crystal Stine’s blog post The Questions We Need to Ask got me thinking about reaching out as a friend and asking questions, and was part of the inspiration for this post. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it.

I’ll close with a quote from Crystal:

“The questions we need to ask don’t need to be long or deep or fancy. They just need to be honest and from a heart that is willing to truly listen to the answer. It’s about knowing your friend, what her passions are, and asking God to show you the best way to pour love and encouragement into her life.” (source)


*When Clara and I wash dishes together, it’s actually more common for us to sing than to talk.
** This question recently led to a beautiful conversation with my hair stylist!

I Will Proclaim His Faithfulness

“’I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’ I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
– Psalm 40:8-10

At the end of 2013, I was praying and seeking what direction God wanted me to go after the intense year of growth and discipleship at SD Canada. God spoke His call to me through this passage, Psalm 40:8-10.

My heart’s cry was to do God’s will, and what was it He wanted me to do?

Above all, followers of Jesus Christ are called to know Him more fully and intimately. He calls us to surrender our lives to Him, holding nothing back (Luke 14:33), and to love Him above all (Matthew 22:37-39). And through Psalm 40:8-10, God showed me my call to proclaim His faithfulness.

My life isn’t about what I can accomplish for the Lord, because it’s really about what He has already done: His finished work on the cross of paying for the sins of the world and offering us the gift of salvation.

I desire for my life to be about Jesus:  100% surrendered to Him, no turning back.
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“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” –Philippians 1:21

There is no way I can ever repay Jesus for what He has done – saving me, adopting me, giving me eternal life – so all I can do is thank Him. And out of my love, I want to live for Him with everything I am.

I desire to PROCLAIM the faithfulness and steadfast love of the Lord through my life, and I want this blog to shout that loud and clear too.

This works alongside His call on my life to missions – and that’s a whole story in itself too. :)

I look forward to posting more on this blog, and hopefully starting conversations with you about the faithfulness of the Lord!  So tell me, what has the Lord been doing in your life this season?

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”!

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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.

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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.

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One life at a time

Have you ever heard the story of the boy and the starfish? As the tale goes, many starfish were washed upon a beach by the tide, and would soon die from the sun and lack of water. A little boy walked down the beach, picking up starfish and tossing them back into the water, saving lives one by one. A man walked by and saw the starfish rescue operation, and told the boy, “You’ll never finish, there are too many to save them all.” In reply, the young boy tossed another starfish back into the life-giving water, and said, “I made a difference for that one.”

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When we hear big numbers like ‘2 out of 5 people have never heard of Jesus’ or that 2.5 billion people are still unreached, it’s easy to think, “How can we ever make a difference?” and I’m right there with you.

I traveled to South Asia last fall, and I was struck by how many unreached people filled every square mile. It was overwhelming. How could we ever reach them? These kind of thoughts filled my mind while I was visiting a Bridge of Hope center in a densely populated city.

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But then, this little boy got up to share his testimony. With a mischievous smile on his face, he told us that he used to be a naughty boy. Going to the Bridge of Hope center totally changed his life, and he’s not naughty anymore.

The Lord gently spoke to my heart through this boy’s testimony, and I learned a lesson similar to the other little boy and the starfish. What He said was this: there are many yet to be reached, but every single life that is touched and changed matters.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells us there is great rejoicing in heaven over every soul who comes into the kingdom! And I think there must also be great rejoicing over every child whose life is changed, every person who decides to live in light of eternity, and every family who finds hope.

 “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

I wrote down this story of what the Lord has been teaching me originally to send to the bloggers who are part of our Blog for Asia team. However, I wanted to share it here on my blog too. This was one of the lessons the Lord taught me during our trip to South Asia, and it’s a good reminder that what I can do to help reach the lost, even in a small way, really does make a difference.

I hope to share more Faces of South Asia with you in the coming weeks, and show you glimpses of my trip last September.