Saturday, March 21, 2020

Missions in Self-Isolation

You may have heard that London is essentially on lock down, and you may be wondering how we are doing missions in self-isolation. Or perhaps you're just wondering how we are!

YWAM London Radiant is doing well at the moment. We don't have the virus, but we are staying inside our houses to avoid infection as the count has sky-rocketed in London in the past two days. But that hasn't stopped us from keeping on! We are carrying on with our internship as usual. We have teachings via a group video call, so everybody still interacts and responds to questions. We also still have ministry times every day, and on top of that, we've been deep cleaning and fixing things in our houses.

I think that it's really amazing to be going through this in a time where we are all still connected to each other, even though we are separated physically. Through social media, I've been able to spend this time talking to friends that I've lost touch with in recent years. We're all stuck at home, so we're actually taking the time to go deeper in relationships that have gotten shoved aside by what is happening in the here-and-now.

But nothing's happening in the here-and-now, so we have the time to actually be here. Now. My housemates and I are working, eating, cleaning, and having fun together. We've planned a disco party for Meli's birthday on Monday, and we're going to dress up and wear make up and barbecue hotdogs. I've started an Instagram photo challenge that allows me to meet people who I wouldn't ordinarily interact with, even on the internet. And we're praying together and diving deeply into God's Word, which was a goal we had as a team this year.

In our retreat in December, we talked about focussing in 2020. We spoke about making our houses ecosystems that sought God together. We talked about what it looks like to form families in our houses across London. And now we are really having time to dive into it. No, we can't go out into the streets right now, but that's okay, because the people aren't in the streets. They're on their phones, or their laptops, just like you probably are if you're reading this. They're alone and scared by the statistics and lack of surety. And we're on our laptops and phones, messaging, creating content that brings hope back into the mix, and shouting loudly about Who our hope is. Because He's right here in the middle of this virus. It hasn't taken Him by surprise. We don't know when we will be able to leave our houses, but until then, we are going to reach out in any way that we can!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

throwing crowns

I thought it might be interesting to write a post from here in the midst of the pandemic of the corona virus, in the mayhem. And that maybe it would bring some hope. I have no idea what will happen in the next month, especially as the peak of the virus isn't meant to hit here until two weeks from now, but here we are.

The UK doesn't have as many sanctions as other nations in Europe, but starting next weekend, gatherings of more than 100 people will be discouraged (if not outright prohibited). We've decided that it would be prudent not to meet as a church or to do most of our church-wide activities throughout next week, so we are definitely giving it everything we've got this weekend, while we still can.

Let me tell you, the atmosphere over London is thick. As missionaries, it is always the crisis that make us think twice. While most people decide escape routes, we ask God for the wisdom in how to bring hope and light into situations. In the summer of the terror attacks, we had plans for if things went wrong, but we also decided not to evacuate London. We chose to stay, even had things escalated, to be where people needed Jesus most.

That leads us to corona virus. How can we be responsible, but not be afraid? Perfect love casts our fear, but God also asks us to be wise. So we scoured Camden for hand sanitiser and made signs to take out with us tonight that asked people if they wanted prayer for anxiety, health, mental health, worries, etc. And the turnout was more than we expected.

Before we even got outside, one of our longtime homeless friends stumbled into our shop, out of her mind with fear. We prayed and spoke with her for two hours as she said goodbye to things that had chained her and re-dedicated herself to Jesus. We even helped her get rid of some of a crystal that she was wearing to ward off evil spirits. Then we headed up to our yellow tent outside of Camden Town Station, where the rest of our Saturday night crew were spread out across the square, praying for people.

People are so open in London right now. Whether they want to lash out in anger or bravely admit their fear, they are open. So many people stopped who would normally have smiled and muttered something about the weather. We prayed, we invited them to church, and sometimes we even gave them a quick squeeze (and then doused ourselves in hand sanitiser). It's odd how people need so much reassurance when fear hangs so thickly in the air. And at the same time, it's a massive privilege to get to be the ones who reassure them. We have a hope (and an anchor...) that we can share with them, and here they are, ready to hear about him. Finally!

So yes, corona virus is a pandemic. It's frightening. But corona translates to crown, and I know exactly where I'm meant to put my crowns - at the feet of Jesus.