Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Newcastle, England

I am here with the final team newsletter from our time on outreach! Here is the team newsletter about Newcastle, England:

Where we last left off, we had left Cork and were headed to Newcastle. We left Cork at 5pm on Tuesday afternoon, knowing it would be about 24 hours until we arrived in Newcastle. God provided remarkably for our team during this time of travel. We stopped in Belfast at 2am and our next bus was not to leave until 6am. Since we were not on an overnight bus, we were not allowed in a bus station. Thankfully, there was a 24hour McDonald’s within walking distance. We trudged through the rain with our considerable amount of luggage only to arrive at an overcrowded dining room filled with drunken University students in Halloween costume. Through prayer, Mats’s quick thinking, and the blessing of God, our team was actually given the entire second floor of McDonald’s all to ourselves.  At 5am, we left for the bus station to continue our journey with three more buses and a ferry.

Twelve eventful hours later, we arrived, tired, sleep-deprived and in desperate need of showers in Newcastle. Here we met our new housemates. During our time in Newcastle, we lived in a YWAM house with four guys from the Netherlands, England and Norway. Life with these four men was never dull. It was quite different from our base in London, but we always felt welcomed and wanted by these new brothers.

The Newcastle YWAM team organized a large evangelism event called The God Story. Our main purpose in Newcastle was to promote the event and to participate in it as the drama team. Unbeknownst to the Discipleship Training School (DTS) students, our first activity in Newcastle was to be a faith day. A faith day is a day where all eight of us left the house at 10:30am with no money and no food and were told not to return until 9pm. Before leaving we prayed for direction from God and left the house in total faith that He would direct the day. When we left, we felt God tell us to turn right and this was the first of many vague and confusing directions.

To describe this day in detail would take many pages, but in short, God provided what we needed right when we needed it. For example, one of the team members felt the effects of low blood sugar and within five minutes of seeking God’s help, He directed us to a Catholic church, where we were given coffee and biscuits.

Not only did God provide, but He also blessed our team unexpectedly. Late in the afternoon, when we were cold and discouraged, we headed to St. Nicholas’s Cathedral, a beautiful Anglican church, to rest. We were sitting and writing notes of encouragement to hand out on the street later that evening, when a choir started practicing for a Requiem Mass in honor of All Souls Day. We stayed for the service and while none of us are from the Anglican tradition, our spirits were rejuvenated by a time of worship in such a beautiful place.

After the service, we went back into the city to hand out our notes of encouragement. By 8pm we were exhausted and hungry and not looking forward to the hour walk home. One of our team members felt called to ask for a free bus ride home. While not all of us were convinced, we supported and encouraged her and stood faithfully by the bus stop as she stepped courageously onto the bus to make the request. Our prayers were obvious when, to our surprise and delight, the bus driver said yes before she had even finished asking her question. The eight of us happily ran onto the bus, climbed up to the top, and collapsed into bus seats for an enjoyable ride home. When we got home, it was really fun to share all that God had done with our leaders and discuss all that He had taught us. We also enjoyed eating our £2 kebabs.

The next week of our time was spent in drama practice and flyering, handing out flyers to advertise The God Story. The plan was to perform the drama to the Lifehouse song, Everything, on the Friday night of the event and to perform a drama called The Clincher, one we had never seen before, on Saturday night. We partnered with a team from the Netherlands for our time handing out flyers in the City Centre. All together we passed out about 15,000 flyers and had the opportunity to speak with many people about God.

This is the first time The God Story was held outside of the Netherlands, and we were excited to be a part of it. The first night about 150 young people attended for a night of music, dancing, rapping and our drama. The first half of the evening is primarily entertainment, and the second half, introduced by our drama, is a serious and clear representation of Christ and the Gospel. At the end of the evening, at least 25 young people made a decision for Christ.

The following evening, after a full day of flyering, the event started as expected. About 80 young people were there enjoying some games and music when all of a sudden the fire alarm went off. Everyone evacuated, with or without jackets, into the cool night, to the assembly point at the next block. The team’s prayers were answered when we were allowed back in about 30 minutes later, roughly the same number of people re-entered the building. We continued the evening with little change. The night ended with 10 more young people committing their lives to Christ.

Our whole team was encouraged and thankful to participate in such a powerful event. Acting in dramas on stage was a very new experience for many of us. Yet, we found our nerves give way to true worship of God while acting. Both dramas were well received and many commented on how powerful they were.

Our last day of outreach was spent as a day of remembrance and honour of what God has done in all of our lives during this DTS. We started the day in praising God for all He had done, the things He has taught us and how He moved. We ended our day with special team time. One team member would sit in the centre of a circle and the other members would share what they love and appreciate about them as well as words of encouragement and affirmation.

Our two months of outreach have come and gone faster than we can believe. We have seen God move in incredible and unexpected ways and we have grown even closer as a team. As we are preparing to return to London, and looking ahead to our futures, we will never forget the lessons learned over these months or the family members we have gained along the way. Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Please continue to pray as we say some difficult goodbyes and trust God for our next steps.

No comments:

Post a Comment