Wednesday, December 6, 2017

nets stretched in the best ways

There is a story in the Gospels where the disciples are out fishing all night, yet they don’t catch anything. Then Jesus comes along, and they have such a large catch that their nets begin to break. Yesterday, in our staff meeting, Peri mentioned this story and how we are ending that sort of season right now. God has been so faithful with His blessings: today we finish a DTS with over 20 students from all of the habitable continents. We’ve had outreaches to different cities in the UK, Paris, Spain, and Italy. We had Bones/Arise camp, where we reached out to all of London in the run-up to Notting Hill Carnival. We have several houses across London and a church in Camden as well as ministries that began this year and are reaching into many different sectors of society. When we look back on 2017, we are amazed by what God has done.

Something that Chris has kept saying recently, though, is that blessings come with a weight of responsibility. Each of us has carried increased weight in this season, from more responsibilities to learning how to maintain family in a steadily-growing team. It takes a lot of faithfulness with time and intentionality in relationships. It means being less selfish with space and possessions. And it means carving out time each day to sit quietly with God and to listen to how He wants to do it, because there isn’t a precedent for us to follow. 

In this whole process, our nets have worn in some places. Those of us who are a part of Lazarus, the mercy ministry, have grown used to seeing heart-ache and brokenness in the homeless that we work with several times a week. It has taken a toll on us, even if we haven’t noticed in the day-to-day. We need to be refreshed. Likewise, those of us who have spent the past five months walking alongside our Discipleship Training School students will release them tonight at their graduation, and for a few weeks, at least, we will let go of that responsibility and hand them back to their families and friends. 

And we’re tired. This is our season of more time and freedom, when we go home for holidays and take time together as a team to listen to God and to be re-filled. We have a staff retreat in Brussels in January (where two of our team are moving to lead the YWAM base there), and before that, we are shifting who lives where and how we organise the structure of our days. But also, there will be more time to seek God’s heart. And that is what keeps us going. 

We need your prayers in this season, that doors will open for our team to have a space to meet all together. We have 25 staff and just as many students, and the places that we have been using are no longer available to us. But in February we begin an arts internship and a leadership school, and as of right now, we don’t know where the classes and track times for those schools will be held. We also need prayers that we will find the right house when we need it again, as this is the off-season for the London housing market. It is also getting closer to the time for us to begin our commercial venture of having a cafe/shop/hair salon, etc, and we are starting to learn about the rental agreements for commercial spaces. As you can imagine, the rent will be staggering. But we want to be faithful to God’s dreams for London, so we are pursuing it. 

As for me, I am training to run the London Marathon in April. It is our charity’s first year having a space, which means a lot of paperwork and registering the charity with various services from the Queen. I thought that training would be the most difficult part of the marathon, but I was wrong! If you could pray that God makes a clear way for us to get all registered, I would be very thankful!

I will be in the States from 17-27 December. On 17 December, I will be at Calvary Baptist Temple in Savannah, Georgia. On 19 December, I will be at Martha Franks in Laurens, South Carolina. On 20 December, I will be at Green Creek First Baptist Church in Columbus, North Carolina. If you’d like to see me at any of those places, please email I cannot wait to see all of you whilst I am in the States!

Micah and Ina talking to a guest at our November exhibition

Our students inviting people into our November exhibition

One of the girls I mentor performing in front of a castle in Milan, Italy

A picture one of my photography students, Joseph, took of me in Lake Como, Italy

Another photo of me by Joseph in Lake Como

With one of my arts gathering friends, Theresa, in Paris

a teaching at the International Arts Gathering in Paris

Serving the homeless of Camden

The Tuesday morning drop-in for the homeless