Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas for Camden (Part II)

"Was this Your dream all along?"

Sometimes I think that we're so scared to take a step because we think that, if we make the wrong decision, or if we don't hear God say, "Thou shalt do this," we will be out of His will and screw everything up. So we don't move at all, and we stay in the same place, which is rarely (I think) what He intends.

So we moved. We dreamed big for how to touch all of London for Jesus' birthday, and we assembled 10,000 gifts of small anchor badges to give out to Londoners, and we passed them out in the council estates and supermarkets around Camden and invited people to Christmas dinner. The Christmas dinner wasn't our original plan, but in the end, through closed doors and rethinking and more closed doors, I think that we made it to what God dreamed for Camden. And the heart was the same - a safe place for the people of Camden to come spend Christmas together. A place where the material pressures of the season were set aside, where class and social divides were torn down, where we could all be together.

In the middle of the busyness (I would say chaos, but it wasn't. Everybody did their different roles diligently and with love), I stood in the back corner by the kitchen and looked across the room. Our neighbours were engaged in conversation with each other and with our church family. Some of them listened to the worship music with uncharacteristic stillness. Hymn, a chalk graffiti artist whose poems decorate the pavements and buildings of Camden, tried to leave to finish his shopping, but came back and sat completely silently through the worship and carols. I've never seen him so quiet before. There was a woman spilling her heart to Carrie, a mum and daughter sat talking to Ina, several homeless men that have become our mates talking with the guys, and more, and more.

"Was this Your dream all along?" I asked God.

And I knew that it was. To have us all together, worshipping Him, loving each other in a practical way. While God is complex, I don't think that He is complicated. To me, it sounds like the type of birthday party He wanted all along. 

And that's all we wanted, isn't it? To give Him glory and praise and honour, on His birthday, but also today. He's worth it. Christmas for Camden was for Camden, yes. But it was also for more of Him.

The boys barbecuing the meat outside

The tables set and ready for friends!

The choir practising carols

Some of our mates (Hymn is on the left) enjoying the worship

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas for Camden

There was a moment on Friday night, as four of my Radiant mates and I knocked on doors of the council estate nearest Hope and Anchor Community Church, that I forgot about the cold and dark and genuinely just enjoyed getting to be God's hands and feet in Camden. When we knocked on the doors, we never knew the reception that we would get. Some women refused to answer, even when they pushed back the curtain and saw Victoria and me smiling back at them with gifts in our hands. One man opened the door in nothing but his underpants. In London in December. His heating must work very well. And there was one man who opened the door ready to knock our living daylights out. But then we gave him the gifts for his family, and he nearly cried.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain why it was that we were on an estate after dark handing out mysterious gifts.

Back in early November, after a weekend of paperwork and interviews and inspections, we were drained and decided to think of a way that we could bring Christmas to London on a big scale. One thing led to another, and before our week officially even began, we had ordered 10,000 anchor pins to distribute to the people of London. But just giving them a pin wasn't good enough. We wanted to give them gifts. So we ordered straw and boxes and stickers, and last week, our Radiant offices became an assembly line as we constructed boxes and packed pins to take to the people of London.

This Christmas season has seemed especially dismal in London. Maybe it has something to do with the Brexit chaos that our Parliament is sorting, or the fact that we nearly lost our Prime Minister last week. Or maybe it's that 2018 was a rough year. And the holidays are always rough. It's a time of hope, but the emphasis on hope seems to also highlight what we don't have. We originally wanted to have a street party for the people of Camden, so that we could come together as a community in a time of loneliness. It would be full of free food and live music, a camel, gifts for everyone. It would celebrate the true Christmas spirit, that God fulfilled His greatest promise to the people that He loves. But the permits didn't come through, and we planned instead a Christmas dinner for anyone who will come.

Back to knocking on doors. It's the first time we've gone door-to-door in Camden. People in London aren't necessarily warm and friendly (as I'm sure you've gathered). They don't take kindly to having their dinner or telly time interrupted by strangers. But Friday night found us laden with boxes of gifts and numb fingers that made it a comedy sketch every time we fumbled for boxes and Christmas dinner invitations. In the midst of it all, as I watched Federico cajole passersby into taking a gift from a stranger, or as Victoria, Sara, and Elin chased down strangers at bus stops, or as Sergio pulled the gifts out three at a time, I was struck by the privilege of it. This is something that God dreamt of. I truly believe that it thrills Him to see His children chase down others with a little box of hope.

And we have at least 9,000 gifts left to give out this week. The best is yet to come!

The process of creating the gifts:

The final product:

A happy recipient!

Friday, October 26, 2018

joining the fight, grabbing the plough

From the moment that Cammy, a Church of Scotland minister, called me back in September, his excitement over getting to host our DTS at his church in Edinburgh was contagious. He was brimming with ideas for us to do in our week of outreach with his parish. And his excitement was contagious - as he shared his heart with us on our first night in Edinburgh, we began dreaming of the change that could come when the people of Edinburgh hear about Jesus. 

You see, 97% of people in Scotland only enter the church to marry or bury. As we walked up and down the streets of Gilmerton, Moredun, and Gracemount, we saw many Buddhas, faeries, and other idols in the gardens and windows of the houses, but we didn’t encounter many people who knew about Jesus. When we asked Janet, one of the church leaders, about them, she said that they were cheap decorations, and when people saw their neighbours with them, they got a Buddha for themselves. I think that they don’t want to feel alone (after all, emptiness and loneliness are the human condition - we weren’t created to be alone!), so they try to fill that space with a innocuous looking idol in their garden.

The Church of Scotland churches in Moredun, Gilmerton, and Gracemount changed my perception of church. It’s odd how much of culture you don’t realise is specific to how you are raised until you encounter its opposite. Then you also have to realise that the way that you were raised isn’t necessarily correct. I’ve had ample opportunity of discovering this in YWAM, where we visit several churches around the world throughout the course of the year. I’ve been to an Ethiopian church in Glasgow, an Argentinian church in Italy, high Anglican and Catholic Churches, and churches meeting in warehouses and shop fronts. But I hadn’t realised that my expectations for church extended to the people. 

In the churches where we served, the people loved to make food for us.They made us haggis, a traditional dish, and it was delicious (so don’t let people tell you that it is disgusting!). There was one woman who is a whiz at whipping up cakes. There’s another who spends great chunks of time researching and implementing ways of saving the church money - through lowering the wattage of light bulbs to putting greenhouse plastic over the windows to keep the heat in. Many of the church volunteers have overcome drug addictions - recently. They are in a battle to regain their lives. There was one woman who is my age and has had five children, none of whom live with her anymore. She credits the church with helping her to have a purpose in life again - instead of sitting in her flat in a high rise building, thinking about what she’s lost, she has a family. She has people to take care of. And she dreams of opening her own cafe - she can do the baking, and she’s fabulous at taking care of people. 

Whilst in Edinburgh, we went door-to-door every day to invite people to the arts and sports workshops that we held in the evenings. Amazingly, many of the people that we invited came - and they came for more than one night! For a lot of them, it was their first time in the church. All of our activities (football, basketball, collaging, nails and make up, creative writing) were designed to let us spend time getting to know the people. We also hosted several barbecues, which are vital in a community that has so much food poverty. 

Scots are known for their friendliness and for being full of life. When they are living healthy lives, that is certainly true. Cammy had us rolling with all of his jokes and stories. At the same time, mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and alcoholism are rampant in the community where we served. The United Kingdom has plenty of resources, but what people really need to know is that they are loved. They aren’t alone. God created them and longs for a relationship with them. And also, the churches are empty, but the doors are still open there for them. And the churches in Southeast Edinburgh are desperate to welcome them in. It was an honour to serve with these brave, loving people in their churches. They are warriors. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Autumn Catch-Up

It has grown cold in London.

I feel like I always begin with a weather update, which is true to our culture, so here it is: it is officially autumn.

I left a week and a half ago for a ministry trip to New York City to have meetings for the International Arts + Sports Gathering that we will be holding there from 7-11 October (check out here for more details and to sign up!), and when I left, it was still the end of summer. But I arrived back to 13 degrees and rain, so here we go!

Since it has grown cooler, we've transitioned from having our Hope and Anchor Community Church barbecues to giving out donuts, tea, and coffee outside during church. It creates a different atmosphere when you have a cuppa and hear worship music from the service flooding the street. I also found that we have a greater variety of people come for free teas and coffees than came for barbecue, and people are used to hot beverages being consumed in social situations. Sami, Lucas and I manned the table yesterday, and we each had deep conversations about God with the people that we met.

One man stopped dead in his tracks when he saw us, and he cried before he even made it upstairs into the service. He said he'd had a terrible day and turned down the alley that our church is on knowing that the only way forward was death. But when he saw us, he thought we were angels (which is flattering, but I think he actually encountered Jesus). He went to the service, then came down again to talk with Lucas and me, and we got to tell him about how God is pursuing him and loves him. We quoted Psalm 139, which he promised to read. I don't know if we will see him again, but it was still so beautiful to see God touch him.

As I mentioned briefly, Christian, Johanna, their kids, and I went to New York City for a week to meet with pastors and ministries about the International Arts + Sports Gathering that will be held next October. We went to NYC in March to hold the initial meetings, and this time, we saw God move in an incredible way. By the time we left NYC, we had both several locations to hold the various sessions in as well as housing and other details sorted. It is difficult to plan an event of this magnitude from so far away, but God has been very present in the details and in opening doors for us. But it hasn't just been us pursuing it; our friends and family have been connecting us to people and churches, as well. We've seen so much generosity. We always say that the Church is one body, but I've actually seen that put into motion through this, and it is really beautiful. We may lament what is happening to the church today, but the church is also alive in New York City. They are reaching the millions of inhabitants in different creative ways, and there are many of the churches that work together. It is quite something to see.

As for the rest of YWAM London Radiant, we have been as busy as usual lately! There is currently one DTS running that began in July, and they leave on outreach to Scotland, Spain, and Italy next week. I will be joining them for the Scottish portion. We'll be serving and staying in a church on an estate (think council housing) in southeast Edinburgh. It is our first time working with this church, so we are looking forward to our activities with the community there. For both Scotland and Italy, churches that we haven't met opened their doors for us. Could you pray for our DTS and staff as we make our way around Europe this autumn?

Chasm Magazine also came out with its first issue! Courtney and Carrissa have been working faithfully for over a year on this project, and there have been several crazy roadblocks in the way. They have definitely been learning perseverance, but it has paid off, and Issue One is here. Several of us contributed (I did a photography essay), and now we get to hold it in our hands! You can order a copy and have it delivered to wherever in the world you live - this is their website.

There's also a band working on their first EP (more on that to come) in our music studio, Lazarus Project planning a spa night for the homeless ladies of Kings Cross (our Instagram is here), our fashion ministry which went to fashion week, and our sports ministry running the Royal Parks Half Marathon. I am running the Half Marathon again this year, and I need to raise £150 for our charity (YWAM London Radiant). I am dreadfully behind in fundraising, so if you could take a moment to support me, even for just £10, I'd be so grateful. Here is my fundraising page. All of the money that I raise will go straight to our charity.

There are a dozen more things happening in our base and in Hope and Anchor Community Church, from a community choir on Thursday nights to our university ministry being started as one of the girls studies Human Rights at UCL to our creative writing ministry putting out a poetry book to our barista ministry and construction ministry creating a coffee cart and looking for spaces in markets around London. I hope that this post has given you a small glimpse into some of the things that we are doing this autumn - if you'd like to see more, you can follow our base instagram or my personal instagram. And you can always email me at if you have any questions or would like to chat. I can give you my WhatsApp via email, and we can keep in contact.

Finally, it was so nice to meet and spend time with several of you this past weekend at Calvary Temple, and to receive a card from the ladies of Second Baptist. Thank you so much for all of your care and prayers.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A Brief Summer-y

Does it feel like autumn to you?

Tuesday night ended both our Bones Camp/Notting Hill Carnival outreach and the Discipleship Training School that I was co-leading with Melo and Andres, and the leaves have begun to litter the kerbs, which leads me to believe that autumn is here. But perhaps you are in warmer climes, and you are still enjoying the heat of summer (shoutout to my parents and grandparents). 

Anyway, now that the British summer is over, I finally have the chance to sit down and share what we did (aka a summer-y). 

This summer, I helped to lead a two-month outreach around England for our March DTS and June Internship. We went to Notting Hill, where we did prayer walks and evangelism in preparation for our Notting Hill Carnival festivities. Afterwards, we traveled to Islington in North London, where we stayed whilst our base hosted the International Arts + Sports Gathering for artists from around the world. The week after that, we helped New River Baptist Church to run a holiday club (aka a VBS) for children on the estate where we were staying (an estate is social housing). Some of us got to create and pioneer the teen portion of the holiday club, and we taught the teenagers parkour, football (aka soccer), fashion design, and writing as well as having film night and American culture night. It was amazingly comedic to watch them learn to play American football. From there, we travelled to Cornwall (the western-most part of England) to volunteer at Creation Fest, a week-long Christian festival. Afterwards, it was back home to London and Bones Camp, which, as I said, finished three days ago.

And there you have it, a two-month outreach in one paragraph.

But what I really want to share with all of you is a conversation that I had with God several times this summer. After all of the evangelism that we did in Notting Hill in early July, I began to get a bit frustrated. Conversations weren’t going anywhere, and I realised that it had been a long time since I had gotten to be with somebody as they made a faith decision. Sure, I’ve had a hand in the process. I’ve gotten to disciple and watch many people’s lives as they chose to change for Christ. But I haven’t seen the moment when a person chooses to give Jesus everything. And it was really starting to frustrate me. 

At Creation Fest, we were each assigned to teams that we worked in for the week. My team was the Connect Team, or the team that prayed with people at the end of the “Big Shed” sessions (the main talks that most of the 4,000 people on site at the festival attended in the morning and night every day). I thought that surely I’d get to help somebody receive Christ, since that was what the whole festival was geared towards. Families literally brought their unsaved neighbours to camp with them for a week just so that their neighbours would meet Jesus. It was incredible. But as the days went on and I had the opportunity to minister to many, still nobody made a decision to follow Christ.

Enter Connie. Connie is well-known across YWAM England as an evangelist. When she enters a place, people receive Jesus. I remember being with her on a street in Glasgow and watching her talk to people. Large groups or one-on-one, they all decided to meet Jesus. Connie had breakfast with me one morning at Creation Fest, and she asked how many people had met Jesus. I had to tell her that nobody had. Then she gave me one of the salvation bracelets that she uses to tell people about Jesus and told me that I’d need it.

Later that day, I got to be a part of three women’s faith decisions. That night, as I was standing in the back of the Big Shed, a teenager came to me, desperate for Jesus. It turns out that he’d gotten in trouble with the police at the festival skate park and realised how much he needed to meet Jesus. There wasn’t a Bible around, so I used the bracelet Connie had given me to explain salvation. He wore it around his wrist as he went to re-join the teens for Milkshake Night.

It didn’t end there. I was excited, but I wasn’t satisfied. And do you know why? Because I realised that I’d never seen somebody receive Christ at Notting Hill Carnival. When Chris met with us before Bones Camp began, he told us to raise our expectations. He said that God wanted to do something incredible. So for several days, I wrestled with that. I wanted to see salvation, but I didn’t have a lot of hope for it. 

On the Saturday night before Carnival, we were outside until 3:30 am, preparing the angel costumes. I watched Chris lead a man to Christ in front of us. The man came up with marijuana and somehow ended up leaving with Jesus. It gave me hope, and when I came out of the church again a few hours later to take photos, I stopped to talk to the first man that I saw. He was an older Belgian man. At the point in the conversation where I normally would have said goodbye, I decided to stay and ask him why he didn’t believe in Jesus. Fast forward a few (very  awkward) minutes, and he received Jesus.

On the Monday afternoon of Carnival, whilst I was on stilts in an angel costume, Peri and I talked to another man. We asked him if he believed in Jesus, and he said no. But as we talked to him about how much Jesus loves him, he started to cry. He really wanted to receive Jesus, and he prayed to receive him before we could even work up to leading him in the prayer. It was incredible to stand in that swirling chaos of high and drunk people and to watch a man give his life to Jesus.

This summer is a crazy blur. When I look back at everything that God did, I am amazed. We had artists come from all over to share their hearts for God and the arts. We got to help several different churches and organisations in their summer activities. And we got to be God’s hands and feet across this city. I am well tired now, but it was worth every night of little sleep. It is always worth it to see God move in mighty ways. 

Floris, one of my DTS students, praying for a man at Hope and Anchor Community Church

Talking to some of our new friends at a Hope and Anchor barbecue

a session of The International Arts + Sports Gathering

Everybody in this picture is called Deborah (from our teen camp in Islington)

Camping expectations vs reality (from Creation Fest in Cornwall, where we camped for nearly two weeks)

Raising our 5 metre Cross in Shoreditch during evangelism/barbecue time in a park

Courtney in the angel costume for Carnival

Sharing during Notting Hill evangelism at Bones Camp

(thank you to Joseph, Alexa, and Nestor for the photographs of me!)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

layers, angles, sides

Every fortnight, we have a free barbecue at Hope and Anchor Community Church. As the weeks go on and we get into the swing of things (read: as we still try to figure out how to get the fire to catch in the grills), we are also getting to build relationships with the people that we invite into our family. I still get a lump in my throat when I look around the room and see gruff old men and teenage girls worshipping next to each other, especially because they don't know the songs, but they go for it anyway.

One of my favourite things to do during these barbecue services (because we do them simultaneously) is to stand downstairs with the people who don't feel that they can go upstairs. Sometimes they feel too dirty, or they don't have anywhere to leave their dog (the homeless often take better care of their dogs than other people do their own children), or they are a different religion, so they don't want to disrespect the church. We welcome them upstairs anyway, but sometimes, they prefer to stay with us outside.

I've gotten to know several of our neighbours this way. I appreciate the open hearts that they have to share how life is going for them. They love the idea of spending time together as a community (and they love free barbecue, because who doesn't?). They aren't afraid to share themselves with others. And that is as rare as the sunshine in London. Although, we've had several weeks in a row of sunshine and hot weather, and if that's not a sign of an Almighty God, I don't know what is.

During the last barbecue, we all got to know Sarah. I don't know the details of her situation, but Sarah has a way of turning up at different times throughout the week. She brought food to share to the barbecue, because she didn't want to just come and take. She wanted to contribute to our time of community. While Sarah was certainly inebriated, she was also kind, and she made sure to include and talk to everyone. When she found out that I was a photographer, she was keen for me to take her photo.

What I love about these photos is the range that Sarah shows. She has different layers and different sides, which I am getting to know through the texts she has begun sending me. Yesterday morning, I woke up to eight messages from her, most of them pictures of the sky. She shared what she was seeing and how she felt about it. I love getting to see Camden through her eyes.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

the taste of hope is thick in the air

Last Sunday, we celebrated the third birthday of Hope and Anchor Community Church in the best way conceivable: we bought three grills and barbecued in the street for the people of Camden. There's nothing quite so unifying as a free barbecue when the weather is nice, and we spent Friday and Sunday giving out flyers and inviting people to come round. At first they were suspicious, but when they saw the smoke and smelt the meat, they were keen.

I stayed downstairs to welcome the people that were coming, since many of them were the homeless friends I've made in the past year and a half of Lazarus Project, and as I escorted one of them upstairs to the table of breads and sauces, I stopped dead in my tracks. I have not often wanted to cry from wonder, but I couldn't help it. Chris was in the centre of the room, preaching about God's love for broken people, and the room was filled with new friends from the streets. As Chris mentioned that he, himself was broken, one of the women raised her hand and said, "But not as broken as me!" When Chris explained that Jesus came for people like us, those who are broken, she froze. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

She didn't make it through the whole sermon; that much truth overwhelmed her. I followed her downstairs, though, and we stood in the sunshine as she told me a little bit of her story. She is not homeless anymore, but her children have grown and gone, and she feels terribly alone. Yet in the hour that we stood outside talking, countless people came up to say hello to her. She has such a gift for creating community around her.

I got to pray for her before the end of the evening, and as she left, she told me, "You've changed one woman's day today. I'll see you next week."

And do you know, I still can't really believe it. It was a dream come true to see so many people in our church. Apparently they are still talking about the barbecue in the various homeless drop-ins across the city. But it goes beyond that: the people who came, who were homeless and teenagers and adults and people with homes and families and people who were curious and people who were lonely and people, and people, and people...It wasn't just our dream. It isn't that we've been fasting and asking God for this for years. It is His dream. It was His dream long before it was ours. We've been learning to be faithful to His dreams without seeing much of it in reality, but on Sunday, we saw it. It came in the flesh to us. It asked questions and wanted prayer and answered back in the sermon and wanted prayer.

And I still can't believe it. It is so much better than I imagined.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

words that shine like sunny rays

Every Saturday for years, we have gone to Portobello Road Market to do evangelism. The evangelism has turned random conversation into relationships, so that now when I walk down Portobello, I get to move like a local, stopping to chat with so many of the people that I see. It can take a while for Londoners to warm up, and many weeks conversations seem to fall flat. So we pray as we walk away and wait for the next Saturday.

One of my favourite Saturday friends is called Dolly. She is 91 years old, and she has been working in the market since she was 14. Her hands are gnarled and often bleed from her excema. A few months ago, she let me start praying for her hands when I buy my weekly punnet of blueberries. In the middle of the chaos of bagging up produce, she stops, and we pray. And this week, after I prayed for her, she told me that she loved me.

I don't really know much of Dolly's story, in spite of seeing her every week for years. But her words remind me of our hope, the reason that we walk down the market every Saturday. We have gone years without seeing anyone meet Jesus. But actually, that assumption is wrong. They meet Jesus every week. And even when we can't see the change inside of them, even when we feel that conversations have fallen on deaf ears, that the effort isn't paying off, something is happening in the deep places.

It is for these deep places that we fight.

Monday, March 5, 2018

when you learn to walk your dreams

For several months, we as Hope and Anchor Community Church have talked about our desire to have a congregation that looks like the neighbourhood outside the church doors. Our real passion is to be a church on the streets, and not just a church that is holed up in a building, enjoying a worship service but never impacting the neighbourhood.

With Lazarus Project, several of us spend time in the streets of Camden, feeding the homeless alongside a project called Streets Kitchen and talking to and checking on the homeless and needy with whom we have relationships. We have been wondering what it would look like for the homeless of our streets, the people who seem most willing to have relationships with us, to become a part of our church. And, if nothing else, it is cold. We have a warm space for them to be in for a few hours on a Sunday.

While a few of our homeless friends have ventured into church once, they haven't repeated their visits. They are a transient community. It is hard to stay in touch with them if we don't find them outside, because they rarely keep phones for longer than a few weeks, if they have them at all. So we don't know why it is that they don't return. But we want them to return.

Before the service last Sunday, Sara and I talked to a homeless man called Sam. It was a fiercely cold day (we had a week of snow last week - and London is not prepared for snow), and we invited him to come inside of the church to warm up. We assured him that he didn't have to participate, and that if all he wanted to do was sit in the back, that was fine. So he came along and sat in the back, and after serving him tea and biscuits, we left him to warm up.

After the service, Sam stayed sat in the back of the room. I began helping to clear away our equipment, and as I did, I saw our pastor go and kneel down in front of Sam. They stayed that way for a while, and while I do not know what was said, what struck me the most was the posture. The busyness of tidying away swirled around them, but all of Chris's attention was on Sam. Before Sam left, he told us some of the things that he needs. His bag was nicked last week, so he is without many essentials, but he was hesitant to ask for everything that he needed.

On Tuesday evening, Chris took some emergency blankets we'd ordered to Sam and his friends. Sam had told us that many of the homeless men had to walk around all night, because they hadn't anything to keep them from freezing to death if they went to sleep. Yesterday, as I walked down the stairs at church (more tidying), I found Chris with Sam, who was trying on several pairs of shoes. One pair I recognised as Chris's own, a sturdy pair of trainers in which he's walked across the world.

Chris would perhaps not like me sharing this, but I am going to do it anyway, because it struck me. This is what it looks like to be the church in the streets and to welcome the streets into our church. It means giving them what we have. It means not putting demands on their behaviour. We say that we want to meet people where they are at - and maybe this is what it looks like. Maybe it looks like letting a homeless man sleep in the corridor during movie night. He doesn't have to participate, because what he truly needs is a safe place to catch forty winks.

We don't really know how to move with this, but I think that's okay. Because we asked God for this, and He has seen fit to do it. So now, I think that we just have to keep following Him and doing our best to be faithful to His dream.

I really hope that Sam comes back next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

hope is rising

This update is long overdue, especially considering that I met many of you during my ten-day visit to the States in December. It was amazing to put faces to the people who support me and to get to pray alongside you for the church that our team is planting, for our staff, for the homeless, and for getting to be God's hands and feet in London. 

All of that being said, I don't have an excuse for not writing. We are in our quiet season; when the leadership school students and arts interns arrive in the first week of February, we will begin a long streak of schools that will last until the Christmas season. The weeks have been spent preparing our various houses for that onslaught of students, meeting around tables to discuss the hopes and dreams God has put on our hearts for 2018 (and to put back at God's feet the things that we feel we could have done differently), and sorting through the piles of things that we put off to do "when we have more time." But "more time" is almost over; next week, our whole base heads to Brussels for our base retreat, and when we get back, the students arrive. 

Whilst I was lying in my childhood bed in my parents' house, I found myself asking God for one thing over and over again. I had the space that I needed from London and the perspective from talking to all of you about 2017, and I realised that, somewhere along the way, I got so focused on the day-to-day activities of various schools and ministries that I forgot to hope. You have to lift your eyes to hope. You have to look beyond the circle of what you are holding in your own arms to the heavens so that you can see that there is a way that we cannot even fathom. And that way is far better than the suppositions that we make on a daily basis. I can keep my eyes level and look at tomorrow, but when I do that, I forget to factor in that God will be next to me. Chances are that He will do something that I don't expect. So I need to learn again how to look up, to see my situations reflected in the Light of Heaven. 

Part of that hoping and receiving beyond what I expected has been the opportunity to go on several ministry trips in the first months of this year. I will be travelling to Brussels, Geneva, and New York City in January, February, and March. I am excited to meet with other believers around the world, to make connections that will hopefully lead to us working together, and to see what God is doing where I am not actively working. Going on ministry trips and outreaches gives me a heart for the whole world and helps me from getting self-focused on what we are doing in London. London is but a piece of God's plan! In the midst of my excitement, though, is the realisation that my bank account also did not expect these trips. God is faithful, and I trust Him (I feel like I always reiterate that at this point). If He wants me in these places, He will make a way. But also, if you are wondering what area of need I have right now, this is it. I need support that goes directly to me and my bank account for travel, food, and the other necessities of life that are not covered by my staff fees in YWAM. If you'd like to help in that area and don't know how, please just email me at 

I also briefly mentioned above that we have an arts internship and a leadership school starting in February. You are probably tired of hearing about arts internships by now, but this leadership school is our first one ever! We saw a need to raise up the next generation to lead in a Godly way. True leadership, the Bible says, is to be the servant of all. It also means being able to come under authority, being rooted and grounded, and many, many other things that I have come to learn in my time as a part of this team. So this February, we have young people from around the world coming to a three-month leadership school. It is always a growing experience, meaning both full of joy and full of humbling, to do something for the first time. Please pray for our team as we welcome these young leaders to our family! 

Melo and Andres have also recently returned from their honeymoon, and the three of us have begun work on YWAM London Radiant's first-ever March DTS. Yes, we are running two discipleship training schools this year (more room for humility and discovery with God!), and we need your prayer as well as we work through these next months of preparing for the students that are currently applying. 

And as ever, soon we will need a new house for all of these people. God has laid different areas of London on our hearts, and we need wisdom to know where He is leading us next (and open doors and finances...). We also desperately need a space for all of the schools to meet in. Space is one of our constant challenges in London, as you have probably discovered. I know that there are many of you who pray for us on a daily and weekly basis, so if you could pray for our schools that are coming up and for the space that we need, we trust that we will see the fruits of that!

Finally (finally is probably what you are thinking, as well!), I want to thank all of you that I saw in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. When we all prayed together for Hope and Anchor Community Church, or when you came to tell me that you were praying for and thinking of our team, it encouraged me. We don't take it lightly when you say that you are praying. We know the power of prayer, and it is incredible to see you wield that power. So, from all of us at YWAM London Radiant, thank you for your faithfulness.