Salt and Light

As soon as students walked into Grace Chapel Monday morning, they could feel the excitement for the World Outreach Conference.  Representatives came from 25 different mission agencies to share with students the work they’ve been doing around the world.  Kaelyn Watson, a sophomore, said that this is by far her favorite week of the whole year.

With mandatory chapels almost every day of the week, solid speakers are more than appreciated.  This past week was a definite win.  For the World Outreach Conference, Toccoa Falls College had the opportunity to host Ghassan Thomas, an Iraqi pastor of a large evangelical church, called the Light of the World, in the city of Baghdad.  Pastor Thomas was extremely moving for those who had the privilege of hearing him speak and it was evident that each time he spoke, his audience was engaged.

Pastor Thomas’s first chapel was Monday morning.  He was able to share several moving testimonies from the church and from Christians over in Iraq.  “People need love; American and Islam.” Thomas said, after delving into his message for the morning.  All of his stories demonstrated that truth in some way or another.  In the words of Junior, Vannessa O’steen, “I think Pastor Thomas was really transparent when he spoke…his messages were inspiring and a challenge to my faith.”

On Tuesday morning, Thomas introduced his message by reading the story of the bleeding woman in Luke 8.  He used this as an analogy for people who are in a sense “bleeding” and waiting for the work of God to be done in their lives or in some area of the world.  “Pastor Thomas really stressed the importance of trusting God’s healing in all situations, yet having patience because it will come only in His time,” explained Senior India Ward.  “I was definitely encouraged by this message and felt like God was really speaking to me.”

Thomas emphasized the importance of remembering what God did on the Cross.  Things such as reading the Bible or praying shouldn’t be done out of guilt or just because God “wants” it.  It should be out of love for Jesus and the desire to please him.

Pastor Thomas was able to use testimonies from the people over in Iraq to show how Americans are envied because of the freedom they have to express their faith.  Sometimes a reminder of that freedom is needed to constantly take advantage of the opportunity it gives.