In November, we took the DTS to Brighton and to Bristol, both in the south of England. The outreaches were short, with the primary purpose of scouting the arts scenes in the cities with the aim to do longer outreaches in the future. One of my favourite parts of outreach is the realisation that our time in any given place is limited. We only had a few days in each city, so we put all of our effort into talking to as many people as possible. We let go of the inhibitions that can make evangelism and building relationships seem daunting in London. I love seeing the freedom and zeal that come with knowing that we have kingdom work to do and a limited amount of time to do it.
I was struck by how open people were to talk to us. I went into a lot of arts shops around the cities and just started speaking to people that I found inside, and more often than not, I'd end up talking with the people for a while and praying with them. This was not unique to me; a lot of our team had the same experience. We came together after times of evangelism with lists of names of new friends.
At the church in Bristol, the pastor talked to our team about being willing to be Jesus to the city of Bristol. He told us that often, Jesus did not tell people who He was; instead, He showed them. He challenged us to show Jesus to Bristol instead of focusing on forcing the Gospel and a decision of salvation down their throats. He reminded us of the passage in the Bible that talks about God's word not returning empty. It was almost more challenging to go into the streets with that in mind: how do I let my actions shout loud for Jesus, even if I don't get the chance to tell a person how they can be saved? To be honest, that is a challenge, because it means watching your own behaviour instead of trying to force new behaviour on another person. It means that I actually have to love my neighbour and do good to those who hurt me and show others that they are more important than me. I can't rely on quoting the Romans Road or John 3:16; I have to live the love of God and let it pour out of me. I have to become less of my fleshy self so that more of God's Spirit can pour out of me. After all, I go to these cities so that the people in them can encounter God. I don't go so that the people of Brighton and Bristol can encounter me.
On the outreaches, God also impressed upon me the privilege that I have to travel around this land in His name. I spent Thanksgiving in Bristol, and even though I ate (delicious) pasta instead of turkey and dressing, I got to do the work of my Heavenly Father. I got to live the life that He created me to live. My mother texted me to tell me that she is glad that I wasn't home, because it meant that I was where God wanted me to be. She's right. I am so thankful to be right here, living in London and travelling around Europe and getting the opportunity to be God's hands and feet and kingdom here on Earth.
Our DTS students in Brighton!
I got to play a mountain dulcimer (which my grandpa taught me) and talk to the shop owners in a shop in Brighton
One of the guys gave food and his coat to this homeless man.
Andy, a new friend in Brighton
Evangelism in Bristol
A new friend in Bristol.