“I will surely bless you…
because you have obeyed me”
by James C. DeSpelder
Intro: The GAP
program is a Kairos initiative for people aged
18 to 22. It has proven to be an effective
tool in training and forming young
Christians for mission. People from all over
the world come to the GAP base in Glasgow,
Scotland for a year of service – through
evangelism, student outreach, youth work, or
media and publications projects. As Gappers
they get the opportunity to live in
"households," a small community of young
people who pray together, live together and
do mission work.
GAP years are for other people. At least,
that’s what I told myself. My parents had been
suggesting a GAP year for ages, but I would
have nothing to do with it. I couldn’t wait to
graduate from university, start making money,
and begin my climb up the corporate ladder.
expected to be spiritually refreshed and leave
renewed – but not changed. I didn’t want to
change. At the time, I had an excellent job in
my future career field with a fantastic wage,
friendly boss, and complete flexibility with
my class schedule. I was set until I
graduated. This job was the result of much
prayer, patient waiting, and I rightfully
considered it a gift from God.
teaching from Martin Steinbereithner shattered
those expectations. As Martin spoke
about different Biblical figures, I was only
half listening – until he got to Abraham.
Abraham’s son Isaac was the result of much
prayer, patient waiting, and a gift from God.
But still, God called on Abraham to sacrifice
Isaac on an altar. Abraham obeyed. Not only
was his son unharmed, but he was blessed by
God for his obedience.
challenged us to identify gifts from God in
our lives that we had turned into idols and to
think of ways our idols were inhibiting us
from hearing God’s call to us for mission. I
was immediately convicted with the realization
that my idol was my job. I had snatched the
gift God had given me and run away from my
generous Father like a greedy child. It was in
that moment I knew I was going on a GAP year.
been in Glasgow since September 2014 and have
experienced a “return on investment” beyond
anything I could have imagined. I’ve made
lifelong friends in an incredibly hospitable
and exciting community. I cannot wait for my
personal prayer time every morning, I
experience a measureless joy and wonder
working with local children, and I’ve been
given a wealth of wisdom from the poor.
seen God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 22
extended to me - as he extends it to all those
who answer his call. “I will surely bless you…
because you have obeyed me.”
James DeSpelder is
from Lansing, Michigan, USA. He grew up
in the Work
of Christ Community in Lansing. He
is currently in the Kairos
GAP Base program in Glasgow,
Scotland. He serves on many projects,
including partnering in mission with
an evangelical church in one of
Glasgow's neediest areas.