Sunday, February 26, 2012

Andria's Testimony

Today we, as a part of FREEDOM SUNDAY, will hear an update on the ministry of Andria Jasper in Thailand.  She was with us at Crossroads in August of last year and shared her testimony at that time.  I'm posting it here as I get ready for church.  


The following is a transcript of Missionary Andria Jasper’s message as given at Crossroads Community Church, Cokato, MN, July 17, 2011. For the audio version, please to to  where you will find a link.

Introduction (Steve Thorson): Sometimes we wonder why it is we suffer often in this life. This passage from Jesus in Matthew 13 is one of the answers to that question. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field… (Steve read Matthew 13:1-23.)

Do you know how precious you are? Do you know how much value the Lord places in you, singular, personally? The value is way beyond anything we can imagine. It doesn't matter whether you may look, or feel, or act “weedy.” Our God will stand by, and wait, and see, and give and bless with His Holy Spirit, send his Word to transform and change, and use all of the circumstances of your life, and my life, to change us and do a miracle that only God can do, which is this transformation from weeds into wheat. And, because we sometimes do judge others and make mistakes, our Lord would counsel gentleness and care for every single one.

There are times in all of our lives when we may consider ourselves to be beyond hope or beyond help. [That is the work of the enemy too. He wants to steal our joy, kill our soul, destroy our joy.] Our guest speaker today is one who, at times in her life, has seen this. Now, though, she's come to recognize that she has a role in bringing light into the darkness and in setting the captives free, and doing that trans-formative work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her name is Andria, and I'd like to ask her to come on up. Let's give her a hand.

We first met on the road out here when you were coming by with a few other folks. What were you doing when I saw you on the road?

Andria:  We were doing what we call a Cross-Walk. I go to Bethany College of Missions. My freshman year our mentor decided to send us out and drop us off two hours away from campus and said “Find your way back, trust the Lord to get there” and we're like “Okay...”

So that's what we did. We [were dropped off in the morning] I think in New London-Spicer and started walking toward what we thought was home and trusted the Lord that we would get there. We had to find somewhere to stay by like 7:00 that night or we would call in and they would come and pick us up, but we were all very much determined that the Lord was going to provide for us.

We started walking. We got actually a lot of rides, which was kind of crazy. We all had expectations before we left and we just asked the Lord to provide different things—everything from as small as something to eat to being able to preach at a church—one of my teammates wanted to do that.

We were walking into Cokato. We were done. We were tired. We'd been walking for probably 20 miles. We didn't want to call. We didn't want to go back. We wanted to make it home. Then Steve came along and he's like “Hey, want to stay at our house?” and “only if you preach in the morning.”

Steve: That was because I was desperate. I had been at home and I'd been trying to get ready to preach. I'd gotten half the message done and couldn't figure out the “So What?” part of the message. And so I said “Okay God what do you want me to do?” and I went on a bike ride and there they were! And then I brought them over to Marketplace and bought food and said “You can have food but I'm not gonna cook.” So they cooked dinner for us and we had a wonderful time. And now you're back and I'm thankful for that.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father I thank you for Andria and for the work that you've done in her life. I ask Father that you would use her during this time as you choose... to do that trans-formative work and to help us as we look out at the world, as we see “weeds” and we think we know who is good and who is bad. We ask, Lord, that you would do the work of correction in our lives; that you, Lord, would help us reach out to all of the broken, to all of those who are trapped and captured in one way or another and that you, Lord, would set them free. In Jesus' name.

Andria: Okay. So bear with me. I've never really done this before. So, like I said, I'm attending Bethany College of Missions right now with the goal of going out to be a full time missionary somewhere in the world. I still have two years left and I will be spending sixteen months overseas in Thailand starting in September, leaving September 10th.

When I came to Bethany I was very lost and very broken. I came a very broken household where it was hard to follow the Lord; my family wasn't really doing that. It was hard.

It's kind of crazy how I ended up at Bethany. I wouldn't really say I was following the Lord when I went there. The Lord guided my steps. I got there not really knowing what I was getting into. I was feeling a desire to go overseas but really not knowing who the Lord was or knowing what His heart was for me.

Bethany is all about discipleship. There goal is to get you out overseas but they will spend the first two years discipling you and helping you to find the freedom that you may not find out in the world.

So I started Bethany very quiet and very reserved, not wanting to talk to anybody, coming from a very bad home and just being hurt a lot over and over again. In the eyes of everybody I was hopeless.

There came a time at Bethany where it didn't look like I would be able to go any farther. They were telling me I couldn't continue the program. They were telling me that I couldn't go overseas. And then I kind of just snapped and said, “No, I know what the Lord is calling me to and I want to do this.”

So I started seeking the Lord in a way I hadn't before. I started to see His heart for me and His heart for the broken.

These last to years have been kind of crazy. The fact that I'm going to Thailand in less than two months now is pretty much a miracle because the leadership told me “No, you're not going. You can't do this right now. You need to take some time.” The Lord really broke in and spoke to me.

I want to read Psalm 71:1-2
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.

I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.
My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.
One day I came across that verse. It says “I have redeemed you.” “You're not lost. I have a hold of you.” I was “Okay... whoa... it makes sense.”

I didn't understand what faith was until I went on that "crosswalk" and just trusted the Lord to provide. We had no money. We had a cell phone in case of an emergency but otherwise we weren't allowed to turn it on. We set out, on foot, for we didn't know how long. We had no clue how far we were from campus or which direction. I think that's the first time I learned what it is to trust in the Lord to provide even the small things and even the big things—and to see Him continually guide my steps these last few years and to see the leaps that I've taken forward and the desire that He has for not only me but the broken and the lost.

That is my heart—to go out there and to free those that have been lost in the darkness for so long.

In Psalm 34:18 it says that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

For me, being so broken, I couldn't believe that the Lord would love me. I couldn't believe that He cared because all I had seen was pain. All I had seen was hurt my whole childhood and growing up. Coming to Bethany it was like “It doesn't make any sense? How can people say that the Lord has this plan? It doesn't pan out from what I had seen in the past.”

The Lord kept seeking me—through others because I wasn't always willing to listen, at the beginning stages, to the Lord. It was like “He loves you. He cares for you. You are a daughter of the most high king.” I was like “No, that can't be true.”

One day, after someone had gotten done praying for me I came across First John 3:1 and he says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God. That is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

It's such a hard reality for broken people to realize, that the Lord loves us, that we are His children. The world doesn't know that because not everybody sees him. They don't understand what we're doing and what we desire to do. But he does! He loves each and every one. He loves the broken, and he loves those that seem to have it all together.

We're all on a journey with the Lord, a journey that needs restoration.

Sometimes it's a scary path. Many times I've had to step out in faith and be like “I don't want to do this, I don't know what You're doing” and it kind of scares me and I don't understand it, especially with going to Thailand. I don't really know what I'm walking into but I know that is where the Lord has called me.

It's a hard journey right now with not really knowing how He's going to provide the funds. It's not cheap. But it's been cool to see that people have come alongside me already to support me in this journey and the desire that I have to go out and speak the truth, not only in Thailand but even to come here today is a huge blessing to me and something that I have desired for a long time.

My heart is that the broken will see that the Lord loves them, that they will see that truth can break through the lies.

So many people, all they hear is lies day in and day out. The lies that the Lord doesn't love them, that He doesn't care, that no one cares. It's hard for them to even see that He does because they hear the lies 24/7 whether that be from a friend, a family member, or just what you're hearing in your head, talking to yourself. It's so hard for that truth to break through.

That was one of the hardest things for me was to get that truth to break through and to focus on the Lord and to look to Him to guide me. And it's been crazy. It's been a weird journey. But it's really cool to see what the Lord has done and to see him speak through me, even to friends. I've done a lot of street ministries through my time at Bethany. To see him use my testimony to speak to others and to break in in their lives. I just lived it, I'm don't understand. But the Lord is slowly showing me that what I've lived is going to bring freedom to others, because he has restored me.

His desire is for restoration for each and every one of us. His desire is for restoration for everyone, outside of these walls and inside of these walls.

All of those people that we walk by daily. They're lost and they're broken—they need Jesus. They need his love. And I want to do everything I can to share that with them.

Everybody, especially back home thinks I'm crazy that I'm going into full time missions, and I was like “Sometimes I feel the same” 'cause you don't have a steady income, you really don't have one at all! They ask “What are you doing?” and I was like “I don't know. I'm just doing what Jesus told me to do.

So it's funny just follow the Lord's direction and do that. I mean, mission field is everywhere... I'm working at a resort near Nisswa to raise money for Thailand. I see day in and day out that I'm working in a mission field even here in the States. I walk into a place where people don't know the Lord and I have to learn how to love them even when it seems really hard.

It's been a cool process to see the Lord walk through it all and show that you are in a mission field with every step you take whether you're here in the States or you're over in Thailand.

I went to Azerbaijan back in November for a mission trip. It was just crazy to see the darkness there and the people that are so lost. We went and visited one of the intern teams from our college over there. How much they sowed into that group! They were there for sixteen months also. To see their heart for those people and to be able to minister to them as a short term team going to the long term team, to show them the light—It's crazy!

No matter what you do or where you go there's a mission field. If you're doing any type of job it's still a mission field. That was the hugest revelation for me going through my time at Bethany.

A lot of people don't go to Bethany to become full time missionaries. They don't even know why they're there. Most people the Lord calls there and we don't have a clue why. Like “I don't want to go into full time missions.” The Lord will either change that or he'll reveal very clearly why He brought you there. A lot of times it's so you can find freedom and seek the Lord and be able to get a clear picture of what he wants.

That's what I desire. I want to go overseas to work with human trafficking, to be able to help victims of that, to work in those environments because it's similar to the kind of childhood I lived. Not the same of course but similar. I want to be able to do that in Thailand.

The call that the Lord has placed on my life is Isaiah 61. This chapter is one someone spoke over me during one of my first weeks at Bethany and I was like “No, I don't want to go do that. I don't know what that looks like.” So... Isaiah 61:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Andria then showed the team video.  Here is the transcript -- the video itself is available
Eight people coming together because of their love for Jesus and the Thai people. Relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we follow on the path he has laid out for our lives. Loving God and loving others. Spreading the gospel in a country with 0.8% Christians and as few as 45 church buildings. Thailand, “The Land of Smiles” is located in southeast Asia. A country of 68 million people where human trafficking is a 12 billion dollar industry and the average age of entering prostitution is 13. Roughly ten people a day commit suicide.
On September 10, 2011 we will be embarking on a journey to reach the Thai people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. 16 months. 8 people united in Christ, joined in one calling to shine like stars in a warped and crooked generation. We are headed to the city of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where we will live cross-culturally, being students of the Thai culture, learning the language, and forming relationships with locals.
Millions of people have never heard the name of Jesus. How can they believe if they've never head? How can they hear unless we tell them? How can we tell them unless we have been sent. We have answered the call to go.

My name is Fernando Ramos,
and I will show the Thai people how perfect love casts out all fear.

My name is Kayla [unintelligible],
I will bring will bring joy where there has been no joy before.

My name is Andria Jasper,
and I am called to bring the captives out of darkness and into the light.

My name is Chelsea Hoffmaster.
I’ll be a friend to the lonely and encourage weary hearts.

My name is Matthew Williams.
I’ll follow Christ who desires all people to be saved.

My name is Julia Ortega,
and I will go as an ambassador of Christ to reflect the heart of the [unintelligible].

My name is Catilyn Real I will go to show love to the unloved.

My name is Julie Dennon. I am committed to bringing restoration to the brokenhearted.

There is hope. His hand is not too short to save. The love of Christ compels us to go. We will unashamedly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Thailand.

Will you help send us? Would you join the work that the Lord has already begun among the Thai people?

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Will you commit to pray for us? Will you partner with us financially?

I will go. I will go. I will go. I will go. I will go. I will go. I will go. I will go.

Will you help send us?
So that’s a little bit of an intro to my team as well as to what I’ll be doing in Thailand.

The eight of us are an interesting group of people that are very different, but we’ve come together over the last couple of months but we’re really excited to go overseas together and to be able to share the love of Christ with the Thai people.

At Bethany you do two years on campus and then sixteen months overseas in the internship program where we work with ministries as well as we take classes to further our bachelor’s degree in Inter-Cultural studies.

So we’ll go there in September (10th) and spend four months learning the Thai language which is pretty intense learning. They want us to become as close to fluent as we can in that language, which sadly, the Thai language is tonal so it will be interesting. So then after that we have a month to decide, to test out ministries we want to work with, and we then commit to that ministry for a year while we are in Thailand.

I’m hoping to work with the Garden of Hope ( which is a human trafficking group that helps victims come out of it. They have a children’s drop in center where people can just come and drop off kids who they have found. They have a teenager program and an adult program.

After we’re done in Thailand we come back to Bloomington where Bethany College is and we spend four months debriefing. And figure out what we’ve been doing and seeing what the Lord did in our lives and what he desires us to do for the rest of our journey. For most of us that are going on internship our goal is to go on full time missions after Bethany, whether that be back to Thailand or wherever else the Lord may lead us.

My heart, not only for Thailand but for the rest of my life, is to go and proclaim the light of Jesus and to set the captives free. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life no matter where that may be. I want them to find the freedom that I have found. I want them to understand the love I have found. Even if it seems like nobody else is standing beside me the Lord has never left. He never gave up hope when everybody else did. He kept me going even when it seemed like I was down for the count. He had hope and he said “It’s okay, stand up and keep going, take that next step.” He desires that for all of us. Every one. He has a plan for each of your lives, and mine.

It’s always crazy to see what the Lord does and how he works it all out. To be standing here today is kinda crazy for me, to have come this far in a rather short amount of time from what I walked out of.
But, yeah… thank you for listening!

…If you guys would like to be on my monthly newsletter and receive that through email I have a signup sheet if you would like I’ll have that if you would like to touch base with me afterwards.

Toni Thorson: We can’t all go to Thailand, but we could all support Andria. So if the Lord is urging you in your heart to give something today, I’d encourage you to do that. It costs a lot to go overseas and some people may be on her team come from families that are healthier she came from and come from churches that can gather around and help support. Andria is at a little bit of a disadvantage I think because of her life situation. We can be part of her family and so I encourage you to do that.

NOTE - This post was written in early 2012.  Andria Jasper has, as of late 2013, been completed her studies and Thailand internship at Bethany College of Missions and has been approved to be a full time missionary with Bethany International.  See for info as of late 2013 and instructions about how to donate to Andria's return to Thailand.

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