London Calling: Outreach Update//Part Deux!
Hello again! So this past week has been mighty crazy, with some new and exciting things that i will talk about in either this post (or another so as to not overwhelm your eyeballs)! I did spent a nice bit of time reflecting back on my time in London though and really felt to share with you all about what God did and how i grew.
So to start, leaving Bangladesh was something else. After being slightly uncomfortable almost everyday, whether it was the heat, the food the clothes we had to wear, there was definitely a level of anticipation for the Western world while we were in the Desh. So getting on the plane to Singapore was a breath of fresh air, and finally landing, taking a shower (in the airport hotel, best decision EVER), and finally putting on normal clothes and doing my hair was incredible! Yes, i am a missionary and YES i enjoy being comfortable when i can, thank you Jesus that i have that opportunity as well. Anyways, getting to London, to say the least, was absolutely amazing! I have been dreaming of going there for as long as i can remember and the history buff in me was freaking out when i finally touched down in the UK. Part of the ministry we did during this outreach went along with an already existing ministry run by YWAM Perth called Megacities, that focuses on one city, every 2 years, with a population of over a million people. This year it was London. Most DTS outreach teams have been sent there, including us, for 7 weeks, where we were split into different burroughs throughout the city. It was incredible to be able to experience a different side of London that not most get to see. My team was in a bourrough called Barking and Dagenham, located in the eastern part of London. It was not what i was expecting. Like i mentioned earlier in this post, i was so ready to be back in the Western world by the end of our time in Asia. I had subconsciously built up an expectation of London and the ministry before i had even got there, leaving very little room for God to do or say much of anything to me when it came to our team and our ministry. Yes, i was blessed with an incredible team (yet again, i’m pretty sure i hit the jackpot when it came to that), and an even more incredible co-leader, not to mention one of my best friends, Hannah. I allowed myself for a while to really get down on the fact that there wasn’t much happening, or the team wasn’t as enthusiastic as they should be, or our living situation wasn’t as nice as i had hoped for. It wasn’t a good first few weeks. Despite my attitude God was still opening doors, and making things happen for our team, even preparing opportunities and divine appointments for us! I finally came to a point of breaking down so God could build me back up and after that it was incredible! We saw so many things happening and when i started making that conscious effort to find joy in the Lord in EVERY circumstance, it didn’t matter if everything went off plan or against our schedule, we would end the day happy and full knowing that God used us just the way he wanted! We, as a team, had incredible opportunities to connect with many local churches, work with a youth club every Friday and eventually Tuesdays as well for our whole time there, lead evangelism seminars, plan borrough-wide youth events, participate in Diamond Jubilee events all over the borrough, give away free coffee and hot cocoa, as well as offer free prayer to our borrough, host incredible prayer and worship times and just awesome times of fellowship as a team and with our different contacts all over Barking and Dagenham. Every day was a new adventure, Hannah and i would try our best to plan things out but a lot of our best times of ministry were the unexpected and obviously God-inspired encounters. Our team was so ready to see God move that they allowed themselves to be used in any way possible. Yes, we had our struggles along the way but God grew us exponentially as we drew closer to him personally, and as a team! I was so encouraged by the different people i was able to lead, each one of them contributed something that was crucial to the dynamic of how we functioned in ministry times. I love how God just places things together in the best possible way, and then the awesome moment of revelation you get when you realize that he has it all under control. Leaving London was so hard for us as a team. We had devoted our whole heart to our borrough and we got to see the fruit of it, even near the end! The unity and openness of the church leaders and our main contacts was phenomenal, and leaving we had confidence that God was going to continue the work there through those people! They want to see Barking and Dagenham on fire for Jesus, and i have no doubt they will. Overall my time in London was one of the biggest challenges of my life, learning how to lean on God in whole new ways, growing closer to him every single day as i allowed my heart to be more and more open to what he had for me, becoming a better leader by learning how to be available to those i was leading, and just the incredible feeling of getting into ministry and seeing lives changed as God speaks through you to other people is something i can’t even fully explain! I absolutely LOVED my time as a leader, and honestly, i can’t wait for next year and another outreach!
These past 6 months have been the most challenging months of my life. I have gone through more life-changes in that amount of time then i ever have in all my years, and it has been awesome. God is always faithful, always strong and always there! The simple fact is that he will never leave me, he always wants to speak to me and he wants to renew my strength every single day. I am starting to see the fullness of the calling God has placed on my heart and it is incredible. God has so much for me, and i feel so blessed to serve such a faithful father! This outreach has stretched me and forced me to rely on God for a new kind of strength, and i am walking away from it a new person! A better person! God knew what he was doing when he told me to staff DTS, he knew what he was doing when he sent me on my own to lead a team in Bangladesh, he knew what he was doing when he put me in awkward situations in London, he KNEW what he was doing! That is my greatest and most comforting revelation. God knows what he is doing, so i don’t need to worry about it. How incredible to not have to dwell and stress on every little thing, but to lay it all down at the foot of the cross and know that God lovingly carries it for us? Oh i just love him. So that was my 6 months, and most recently the past 3 months. 2 fantastic countries and 2 totally different experiences. All in the grand plan that God has for my life, and so many more incredible adventures to come!