Friday, October 10, 2014

the fields of London

My team has been praying for several years about moving to Camden. Camden is actually the first place I stayed in London; when my grandparents brought me to university here over four years ago, we stayed at the Holiday Inn on Camden Lock. It has also been a place of influence - in politics, fashion, music, art, and more - for decades. We have been going to Camden every week for my whole time on the team, because God has told us to invest in Camden. And we believe that the next step is to move to Camden, where we can sow more seeds for Christ and influence the artistic scene (and maybe some other areas, as well. Who are we to limit God?).

Because of all of this, I have been praying that God would open up doors for me in Camden, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I'm pretty comfortable talking to women in the streets and market stalls, having friendly conversations on public transport, and stopping people on the streets. But I'm not as comfortable going into places that I deem "Man World." And there is one guitar shop in Camden that I definitely think is "Man World." It has tiny replicas of famous musicians' guitars in the windows, rock music playing, and lots of grungy looking men jamming in the middle of the shop. Yesterday, for some reason, I stopped to look a little bit more closely. Juliette, who was leading the time of prayer in Camden, told me that I could go in if I wanted. Then one of our students sauntered in, and I knew that I had to follow him. He disappeared into the back of the shop, and left me with the shopkeeper and several of the people who were hanging out and playing guitar. The biggest shock for me was that they actually started talking to me before I could say anything.

In John 4:35-36, it says, "Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together."

When I had been praying for Camden and asking God to open up doors for me there, I had assumed that God would have to push a boulder from in front of the door, and that I'd have to help push. I had prepared myself mentally for a lot of rejection and effort before I even had one conversation. But in the guitar shop, I met people who wanted to talk to me. When they found out that I was a Christian, instead of immediately dismissing me, the way people do in other parts of London, they actually began to ask me more questions. They asked me to come back to the shop later in the day (which I did) to talk to their manager, who was also a Christian. He invited me to his church, and I got to talk to the guys in the shop more about what they do in Camden.

It seems silly to me now that I tried to prepare myself to do God's work without counting on God to step in. It seems silly that I was ready to work for a harvest when the harvest could be ready now. And I am in awe of how God worked, of His answer to my prayers, and of the openness that I found in Camden yesterday.

I am going to continue to ask God to prepare the way for me in Camden, and for wherever else He is leading me in this time, but I am also expectant that He will surprise me and exceed my expectations, which often forget to take into account how awesome my God is. I also invite you guys to pray with me for Camden, for a house that my team can fit into and afford (but, as long as we're asking in faith, that it will also have space for us to do our art and to expand our team), and that God will open the doors in churches, in businesses, and with individuals for us to continue to take Camden for His Kingdom.

 DJ Grandpa, one of the street performers who has popped up by the tube in Camden.

Worship under a bridge in Camden.

 Caroline, from Bath, whom I met in the guitar shop.