This past year, Ben and I have felt God calling us to something bigger than ourselves. We didn’t know exactly where, when, or how He was going to send us, but we had a pretty good idea that it was going to happen, and it was going to be somewhere in the UK. The words I kept hearing God whisper were “community” and “UK”. My small mind immediately put together that we would be in some small town in England (because Ben doesn’t want to live in the city), and start a community center for local youth (simple, right?) and it would happen in about 5 years (because Ben needs to finish school and have a solid resume before we can think of changing jobs).
Note to Self: God’s plans are bigger and better than our own. God changes hearts and desires when He wants something accomplished. IT’S NOT ABOUT US or the silly plans we try to make on our own.
We thought, because Ben’s business company had an office in central England, that we would be going to Redditch, England. London was off my radar, because I felt that any draw I had to the city was just my own heart longing to return.*
*(I did my graduate studies in London in 2012-2013)
What I didn’t understand is how much God loves using our passions, talents, and gifts to minister to His people.
We decided we were going to start praying daily, multiple times a day even, for God to show us a glimpse of His plan for us overseas. This was almost a year ago! I’ve learned how to pray AND be patient; the waiting is still happening now.
A few months ago our church, Grace Point, started talking about sending a small group to London in November for a missions opportunity. We had already made plans to visit London for Christmas 2016, in part to visit some churches and find out more about their work. So we approached our pastor to ask him what the mission team would be doing there.
We found out that the IMB (International Mission Board) asked our church to send a team to go to London and learn about their new city outreach program to minister to Londoners across different social, cultural, and career platforms.
Fact: London has a 3% Evangelical Christian rate. You can meet people on the streets who have never heard the name of Jesus! The Church of England is in major decline, and the city is basically GIVING AWAY these big, historical churches because so many have closed their doors and remain abandoned.
They are looking for people who are willing to get normal jobs in London with the help of the IMB, especially people in the business sector (Hey, didn’t Ben just graduate with a business degree??) and get plugged into one of their outreach programs. Their goal is to have a church plant around each Underground Tube station point; there are 270 stations!
We were pretty floored when we heard about this opportunity. God has begun to orchestrate this plan for our lives, and we didn’t really need to DO anything! We had stretched our brains, done research that seemed to only discourage us, wondering how WE were going to accomplish a plan to minister to the UK (silly us).
We met with the IMB contact and several of our church leaders to learn more about the London missions initiative. He said that right now they are researching the different cultures and subcultures within the city at each Underground Tube stop. I explained that during my stay in London as a graduate student I had worked for Art on the Underground researching cultures and subcultures for different Tube lines and stations. THE SAME RESEARCH THEY’RE DOING NOW HAD BEEN MY JOB IN LONDON! God was working on this even 4 years ago, crazy right? I think the whole room felt the weight of this awesome “God moment”.
The IMB program is still brand new, they have lots of kinks to work out, and we still have many questions. However, God has made it very clear that we need to be ready whenever we have a solid opportunity to go.
Brexit and the waning English economy makes acquiring a job seem daunting, but God has taken us this far, and we have faith that if it is His plan He’ll take us the next mile and beyond.
Please pray for us. If you have a prayer list, journal, bible, please write us down!
Specific ways to pray for us:
– God would continue to work out the “kinks” of the new IMB initiative and give us a clear path (job) to GO
– We would joyfully leave the “things” behind in order to go for an unconditional amount of time (this is especially hard for me as we’ve moved into a new house and gotten it all decorated.. I know.. silly.)
– We would have support and love from everyone around us
– God would continue to build our hearts for ministry.*
* This is something we have been fighting with over the last year- are WE ministers? Could we put together a sermon/talk? Ben is an introvert and I tend to lose my breath and thoughts when I give presentations to my peers. We aren’t Pastor Mike! (I know he’ll think thats funny, but really, he has a great gift to preach)
God took me to this verse today:
1 Corinthians 1:17 “..Christ sent me to preach the good news- and not with clever speeches and high-resounding ideas, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power.”
I have faith that God will equip us for anything He calls us to!
We are thankful to have such a big family in Christ.