ARISE Australia training program has been part of the Light Bearers now for four years and every class has been amazing! In case you missed it, David Asscherick and the “Violeta-Landon-Jabel” unit that make him a family have been living in Australia for a couple of years. He, along with Matt Parra, the North New South Wales (NNSW) Conference, and a super group of administers and church members are what make this school tick. And does it ever tick.
From the first 14-week training session, ARISE Australia felt like a program that had been running for years. In addition to the school itself, the NNSW Conference hires ARISE graduates each year and places them as Bible workers all over the conference. This year they placed 16 of the 30 students. Hats off to Justin Lawman and Paul Geelan for the vision they inspire and the faith they practice as conference leaders!
This year’s class size was 30 and they were all “switched on,” an Aussie term for being connected. From the moment I stepped into the class it was “lights out” with hours of extra out-of-class time to cover topics like prophecy in more detail. A number of the students were new to the message and visitors sat in who weren’t Adventist at all (one plans to attend the USA. class—more about that later).
It is not rare for students to be baptized for the first time after attending ARISE. Neither is it surprising to see students re-baptized based on their deeper, richer understanding of the gospel. This year the Spirit led former students and even one parent to baptism and re-commitment to Christ. That led to 18 baptisms during the program, with two more following so family could be present.
This class had a special bond of love knit by the Spirit of God from heart to heart.
What made this class special (and every class has that something special) was not the new administrator, Kyle Morrison—though Kyle is definitely a special guy. It wasn’t the food—great as it was, thanks to David, Lisa and Michaela. It wasn’t even the teachers—though they were pretty good in their own right, or the music which Robby knocked out! This class had a special bond of love knit by the Spirit of God from heart to heart. It was a powerful, wonderful, intensely earnest experience for me personally.
That Spirit was felt in a healing way by a young girl named Hanna who came to visit her friend Brittany all the way from Berrien Springs, Michigan. Hanna is a Lutheran, something she told me during the break after she sat in on her first class on the state of the dead, with questions, but her heart was open and the Bible was coming together for her. Even the classes on the book of Revelation finally made sense. That’s what she told me a few days later when we sat down together to discuss which ARISE school she should attend—Australia or USA. As we went over the pros and cons of each school I held nothing back. Two benefits of ARISE Australia are the weather and the one year conference sponsored Bible worker practicum. Hanna wasn’t interested in doing Bible work. As far as the weather, “I’m from Michigan!” was her response to rainy Oregon. “Besides,” she said with all sincerity, “I don’t want to wait a year!” (And neither should you!)
God is working in a very providential way in Hanna’s life and in the lives of each one of the students at ARISE Australia 2016. And God is prepared to do a similar work in our next ARISE USA beginning in August 2016, in Jasper, Oregon. If the Spirit is calling you there’s still room. The time is now—make the call. This is your invitation and we’d love to have you! Amen.