Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Glasgow, Scotland

This is the team newsletter from Glasgow, Scotland.

Our team arrived in Glasgow, Scotland without clear direction of what our two weeks there would be like. We were hosted by the Glasgow City Mission, the first city mission in the world! We arrived after dark, and Andrew from the mission picked us up from the bus station. Most of us literally piled into the back of his van and rode in the dark across town to the building we’d call home for two weeks. It was an exciting introduction to our time in the city for sure.

Our first few days in Glasgow were spent in preparation. We gave the building, an extra one the mission uses to house the homeless in the winter months, a deep and thorough clean and even painted much of it. We also spent a lot of time in prayer for the city and asking God what He had for us to do in our time there.

Our first Sunday in Glasgow we attended Destiny Church as a team. After the service we met many members of the congregation who gave us lots of ideas for things we could do to bless their city during our time there.

We started our street evangelism Monday in the city centre by going off on our own and speaking with people on the street. The people of Glasgow are open to speak, and approaching someone by saying “hello, my name is and I am from, what is yours” elicits a response! If you continue on and say “what do you think of Jesus” most will give you a answer. It’s a quite different atmosphere from London.

During Arise All Nations, the outreach we participated in during the Olympics, some of the team evangelized with the team from Colombia and learned a neat evangelism technique. We taped large white paper to the ground in city centre and wrote a question at the top, either “what is your biggest wish” or “what do you hope for” and had markers on the paper. We’d ask the people who walked by the question and invite them to write their answer. This simple technique provided so many opportunities to speak with people, especially young people. So many were willing to share their answers to the question, to speak with us, and we were able to pray with many. When people asked why we were doing that we told them we’re Christians and will pray for everyone who wrote something down that night. It was a great way to engage people in conversation about God. We used the paper method multiple days and found each day it got better and better.

While some of the team engaged with people over the questions, another part of the team did face painting. They painted the faces of countless children and young adults. While they painted (and did a great job of making the children look like butterflies and Spiderman, rather than blobs on the faces of the squirmy children), they’d pray for the people they were blessing and their parents, while others on the team would speak with their parents. It was a fun way to speak with people and tell them the reason they were painting faces is because we love God and God loves them, too.

The Glasgow City Mission has a food pantry we lovingly called the cannery. There are large shelves of canned food organized by date, ready to be given to the hungry in the city. We were in Glasgow during their harvest season, and we were able to help in the cannery twice. The first time we organized the shelves, making room for future cans. The second time we sorted and put away fourteen large boxes (boxes that would hold four seated team members) of food. Our team worked together like a well oiled machine and we surprised Andrew with how quickly and efficiently we worked.

When we met the members of Destiny Church, we learned about Destiny’s Angels, their mercy ministry to the city. We spent a morning in their facility helping in various areas, cleaning, sorting clothing donations, helping in the office and preparing bags of food for distribution. We also helped at two of their drop in tea times, one for the homeless, and the other for women affected by abuse, prison and prostitution and by inviting people to the drop ins. It was great to work with another ministry in Glasgow and see the people who genuinely care for the people of their city and love them as the hands and feet of Christ.

We had one day off while we were in Scotland, and we used it to go to Edinburgh. We walked up a large hill/mountain (the name changed depending on what team member was speaking and where they are from) to enjoy the view of the city. From the mountain we walked the Royal Mile, between a royal palace and the ancient castle. We enjoyed the outside of the castle and then split up and everyone went off to see what they wanted. Some enjoyed a nice meal, a walk around the city and shopping while others took in more of the sights. Edinburgh is a much older city than Glasgow, and as a team we learned each city has its own charm.

One of the final things we did in Glasgow was attend an Ethiopian church. While on the street, Israel met a pastor from Ethiopia and he invited us to his church. The team members who are in the drama, Masks went and performed it for the church. Amy explained the drama, I shared my testimony and Jason shared about our evangelism in Glasgow. Israel preached in his native language. The people of the church were extremely welcoming towards us and were glad we cared enough of their city to come and tell the residents about Jesus.

While we did not know what to expect going into Glasgow, we clearly saw God. We prayed for countless people, told many about the love of God, and were able to help the Glasgow City Mission in their preparations for their winter shelter. Our time in Scotland was fruitful and made us even more excited for what God is going to do on the next portion of our outreach in the Republic of Ireland.

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