Last December my husband wandered into the kitchen and asked if I was ready for a bombshell.
“I’m thinking about doing this,” Damien said, as he threw an ARISE brochure on the bench where I was preparing dinner.
It was only three years ago that God had called us out of our worldly lives and dramatically transformed us.
Going against the grain and making “crazy” decisions had always worked for us in the past, so my initial reaction was one of excitement and enthusiasm. It was only three years ago that God had called us out of our worldly lives and dramatically transformed us. Damien was undoubtedly “on fire” for the Lord, so a three-month evangelism course seemed like a natural step—except that we have two young children and rely on his income.
We committed it to prayer and asked God to sort out the finer details. Within a few weeks He had sold our Queensland investment property. That alone was a miracle. There were more than 1000 properties for sale in that area of the Gold Coast. Ours was far from special, yet we received two offers in one day. The real estate agent was stunned! Then God arranged someone to keep Damien’s surveying projects going—His will was clear.
The Lockley family.
Twenty-three people from three different countries had similar stories. Stories of anonymous financial donations and the most unlikely scenarios that enabled them to leave work or study and come to northern NSW in February, for the first ever ARISE Cornerstone program to be held outside the United States.
I wrongly assumed that ARISE would be an opportunity for the kids and I to see a little more of Damien, especially as we live only a kilometre from Kingscliff Adventist Church where the event was being held. However, within a few days of the program starting, I had labelled myself the “ARISE widow”! Fortunately there were other widows too, and we were quickly able to connect and support each other. What a privilege it was though, to be behind the scenes as my husband spent 12 weeks in intense Bible study, worship and outreach. His long days were filled with the inspiration of international and local speakers, including Pastor David Asscherick, Pastor Ty Gibson, Jeffrey Rosario and Matt Parra (NNSW director of Evangelism), learning just how biblically sound the Seventh-Day Adventist message is and how to communicate that to others.
I remember waiting nervously at home the night of his first doorknocking experience, praying for God to lead the students to the “right” houses. He did and soon more than 30 Bible studies were underway with members of the community. From that, there have been 12 decisions for baptism and many new people embraced by our church family.
With ARISE returning to Kingscliff in February 2014, Damien is encouraging any potential students to step out in faith.
“ARISE far exceeded my expectations,” he says. “It gave me a much better understanding of God’s character and just how far from it we are.
“All the classes were relevant to the time we’re living in which made it easier to share with people in the community. Probably the biggest highlight for me was being a part of a unified group that consecrated themselves to God. ARISE exemplified the end-time work we should be doing as God’s children, in order for Christ to come.”
Summer Lockley writes from Kingscliff, NSW.