For the past few months, we have only been staff living in our blue house in North West London. While we thought that we would spend the months furthering our arts, it soon became evident that we were actually going to spend the months preparing our home for the fourteen students that arrive in a few days. We grew muscles this summer, both physical and spiritual, as we worked together to build foundations for this group of Discipleship Training School students.
Yesterday, at the church meeting that we began holding in Camden earlier this summer, Christian spoke to us about perseverance. It hasn't been an easy summer, but it is one that we needed to pull us closer as a team, to make us less independent and more invested in our common goals of using art to show Christ and building relationships with those who cross our paths.
Just as we finished everything this week, there was a surprise dismantling of the kitchen (a cabinet self-destructed and took out the sink with it), and now the guys are working hard to put the kitchen back to rights before the students arrive.
They are persevering most admirably.
It talks in Romans 5 about suffering producing endurance, endurance producing character, and character producing hope. While I am not claiming that we have suffered this summer, I will say that we have had to endure. Part of my character, the part of the flesh that I was holding onto, got squeezed tightly until I finally let go of it in favour of living God's way. And I have hope for the months to come. I know that we will be terribly busy, that we will not sleep much and will laugh a lot and will probably cry a fair amount, as well. But I have hope, because after being pushed past my own limits this summer, I know that God shows off when I give Him the chance to take control.
And in three days, when the students show up and we welcome them with open arms and hearts, it won't be the end of persevering with God. It won't be the end of this race we've been running since we got back from Spain in May. With Notting Hill Carnival and Bones Camp still to come this month (this will be my fourth Bones Camp!), it will only be a new leg in this race.
But as I look forward to the students coming, to a production to be written, a homeless feeding ministry to be continued after we piloted it last month, a church in Camden to be firmly rooted, and outreach to Puerto Rico in December, I must confess this: I have hope. I have hope that it's going to be beyond what I can imagine.