As told by Kylee Downs of Team Jon: This morning started off by Raegan and my host home cooking us breakfast. Queena is a very generous young Chinese woman who has opened her home to us for the week. She is so sweet and funny and I’m so thankful she has let us come stay with her! We soon headed over to church where we had tea and pastries before the service began. Interesting thing we learned: England has a different Mother’s Day than the US does and it happened to be today. So at the service Jared talked about what Mother’s Day means to him and Raegan gave a Mother’s Day quiz (we also found out they’re really into quizzes lol). After that we sang some songs and then I got up and shared my testimony. The preacher, Jon, gave the message. This is my second international trip to go on with the youth and once again it amazes me to see people across the world worshiping Him just like we do. Getting to be apart of that experience is very cool! After church we ate pizza with the youth of the church then spilt into groups to begin our scavenger hunt around London! I was grouped with Megan, an American who is living with the pastor of the church for a semester; Corbin, a 16 year old boy from London; Joel another boy from London; Macie; James and Angela’s youngest girl, and Josh Palmer. We got on the train and began our fun afternoon. We saw Kensington Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Big Ben (which is currently under construction) :), London Bridge and a few other things along the way. This being a scavenger hunt, we were unable to really look at this things so I am hoping to get to do that on our tour day which is Tuesday. We were running low on time which forced us to have to run to the train station about 20 minutes away after walking all afternoon. If you don’t know me…this was a real struggle lol. We arrived back at the church 30 minutes late but we didn’t care because we had won the competition!! Our reward was delicious cookies from a place called Ben’s cookies. We had a light dinner then headed in for the evening service of church. After the service, Raegan and I headed back to our host home where Queena had cooked us dinner. I love being able to go on these trips and experience the different culture people live in. The strangest thing in London so far has been driving. For the most part, we take trains to get us to places. But our Queena, the woman hosting us, has a car and has driven us multiple times to different places. They drive on the opposite side of the rode and the steering wheel is also on the other side. They also have narrow lanes and to me, very complicated traffic signs. It’s really weird but it is also cool to talk about the differences between our country and hers. It was a long and tiring day but I am excited to get to work tomorrow!! Please pray for me and my group as tomorrow we go door-to-door sharing the gospel, then at night sharing His word to young children at a Bible Club.
As told by Amanda Maglich of Team Scott: Today was Day 2 in London, and it was even more amazing than the first. Each moment I’m here, I feel more and more excited and blessed to be here.
Prior to this trip, I was a little nervous as I wasn’t with my normal group of friends that I’m usually with. But as time passes, I feel myself growing closer with the girls in my group, and it’s such an awesome feeling! God knew exactly what he was doing when he placed me in this group.
We started the morning off at the church we’re involved with this week, St. John Wood, and helped put together some bouquets of flowers to pass out to the mothers for Mother’s Day. We got to talking to someone who attends the church, Alexandria, and it was really cool because we talked about her “small” church and our “big” church. Before service started, my team and I stood outside of St. John’s and passed out little pamphlets about the church and who Jesus is.
We went to the first little bit of service and got to worship with them, and then we took the kids upstairs for Sunday School. It was so fun getting to just hang out and laugh with the kids, and talk to them a little bit about the Last Supper.
Once church was over, we had refreshments, followed by lunch. This was probably my favorite part of the day. We just got to sit around and have genuine conversation with the people at the church, and it was so awesome to get to know each other a little more, and talk about our time here in London, and how life is back home. People have been so welcoming, and conversation is never hard to find!
In the afternoon, we attended an Arabic church service. During this service, God was so present to me. He showed me that no matter where we come from or what language we speak, we still worship the SAME God. God is so big, so present, and so awesome all throughout the world. It was so cool to witness how they do their service. One man in the service had just gotten back from a trip to Egypt. He told of a few stories of people he had known there who were fighting for their faith. One man he told us about is currently in prison for following Jesus. When given the option of not following God and being set free, or following him and being imprisoned, he STILL chose to follow God. Every story that he told was so eye opening. We typically aren’t involved in issues like this, and it amazes me how people still stand so strong in their faith, even when the repercussions of their personal decision to walk with the Lord may put them in a situation that isn’t ideal.
Once we finished at the church, my team and I struggled for a little bit to find somewhere to eat that wasn’t closed. We eventually ended up at a diner-like place, where we laughed super hard, had some awesome conversation, and cried over how good the red velvet cake was (oops). It warmed my heart to people to sit there with a small group of people that I wasn’t super close with just 48 hours ago and laugh harder than I’ve laughed in a long time. I am so excited to see what God has in store for us over the next five days.
This trip has already opened my eyes in many ways. Seeing all of the different cultures around London has been incredible, and it continues to amaze me how across numerous cultures and languages, He is still so present. God is so big & so so good!!! Yea London!!!
As told by Connor Lancaster of Team Rigney: Hello readers! It’s Sunday night at 11:12 here in Greenwich and I’ve had an amazing day. We, the guys staying at a church member’s house, started off the morning by picking up the girls from a nearby hotel at about 8:30. From there, we went to the Rigney’s house to have the cereal that we bought the previous night. From there, the Americans got sent to a traditional Anglican Church to gain a little perspective on what the English idea of “church” meant to the locals before we went evangelizing on the streets the next day. The service reminded me strongly of a traditional Catholic service in most every way that we observed from the songs, to the old building, to the way everything was structured out of a pamphlet. From there, we went and grabbed some street food out of a big market that was pointed out to us down an ally, which was good. With some time to kill before the next item on our schedule, we climbed our way up a massive hill to reach a museum placed along the exact line of the prime meridian. From our hilltop vantage point, we had an amazing view of London that beat any other view of the city I’ve seen so far. After this, we met up with the Rigney’s at their church that they had planted a few months before, consisting of about a dozen members, including the five Rigneys. A few of the students, myself on guitar included, had the pleasure of being a part of the praise team today with hosts. What an amazing experience. Even though there were few of us in the room, I have never in my life heard Oceans sang so loudly. “You called me out upon the waters. The great unknown where feet may fail. And there I find you in the mystery, in oceans deep my faith will stand.” What a beautiful image of what we are here to do. Called across the waters to let the word of God be known to the world. I play in the worship band on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday nights nearly every week and today was definitely in the top three most powerful worship services I’ve ever experienced. There’s something raw and personal about having little practice time with a small band and singing with a small group of believers. We stayed and chatted and played games at the church until about 8:30 before heading back to the house. We had a lot of laughs and more than a few wrong turns along the way in the dimly lit streets. After arriving back, one way or another, the four of us in the house ended up on the floor of Rodrigo’s bedroom having spiritual conversations about how and when we were saved and what Christ looked like in our own respective cultures. Rodrigo is originally from Brazil before moving as a missionary to Italy and now living in England. These two hours on the floor may be the highlight of my whole trip. The amount of encouragement just from stories being told back and forth was incredible and it’ll be a point of the trip I hope I never forget. There are many fallacies that short-term mission writers fall into, one of which is saying that “God is the same here as in America. It’s amazing!” which is obviously true, but cliche to say. But who cares about cliches. Our God is the same God in England as in Brazil as in Italy as in America. A God beyond any of our conceptions of what our plans or, bigger than the fears we have of expanding our comfort zones, and farther than the waters that he calls us upon. It’s not even the first time seeing God’s love span borders, but it still amazes me every time. My prayer for tomorrow is that we can evangelize without fear, that we stay safe, and that we have a good time while doing it. God is doing big things in England yesterday, today, and tomorrow and he will be every day after we leave.
As told by Emilie Burnham of Team Mark: We first went to a small cafe down the street from the hostel, where we all ordered various varieties of European pastries and hot drinks. It was an adventure finding the church and navigating the London bus system, but when we finally arrived it was a surprise to hear that it was Mother’s Day here in London. Little kids came up and read short poems about mothers, receiving ‘ooos’ and ‘awwws’ from the audience.
We walked to the Tate’s flat (apartment), which was inside a community of apartment buildings all arranged around a central playground/field. After walking around the estate, we gathered materials to have a cookout for the community. We strung up banners and a lot of decorations…covering the bland walls with rainbows of color. We expected a large number of people to come, but only a few showed up. Even though only a few people showed up, I pray that the few interactions we had were encouraging.
We all felt more at peace about the conditions of the hostel we’re staying at, so we are thankful for that. We’re looking forward to the rest of the week and we pray we keep God at the center of everything we do, even through our struggles.