As told by Lane Phillips of Team Scott: Today was a huge milestone for me personally. This morning we did street evangelism, knocking on people’s doors, and not only did I knock (a huge accomplishment for me), I actually talked to them. I am normally very, very socially awkward, and yesterday when we went to do something similar I had a panic attack. But today, Jesus cast out my fear with His perfect love and I spoke. To real live actual people. We met a really interesting woman named Susan who really seemed lonely and in need of companionship. We had almost skipped her door, but we knocked, and I’m so glad we did. Susan was in desperate need of someone to show we care, and I really hope God will use the work of our hands for His glory. We prayed for her right then and there, because she’s having a breast exam on Friday and they think she might have an abscess. She lives alone and I really hope Jesus sends her the help she needs. We’ve had a few really weird, scary, and hectic experiences today, but I rejoice in the hope that through all of it, God has still worked through us today.
As told by Jessica Roppolo of Team Armacost: I’ll be 100% honest. I was very spooked to be put on the “hardcore” evangelism team. Today, I was so very happy to be hand-picked for Team Armacost. This morning, we talked about changing your name, and how God changes you or your occupation because He changed you in a spiritual way. It was his way of saying, “You’re mine now. Leave your broken past behind, and come join Me.” It’s one of those ‘drop everything and come let’s go’ kind of relationships. Mr. and Mrs. Armacost are missionaries in West Norwood and they actually gave up everything to follow Christ. These relationships are very hard and my team has been constantly talking about them and if we’re really up for leaving everything behind and following Jesus.
After we had our little small group with some people (who we would later be doing street evangelism with), we then had our evangelism meeting where we went through the process of going out and planting seeds in people, growing the seeds, and then harvesting the seeds. We had a very interesting conversation about skipping steps in this cycle, and how is can cause your spirit to wither and die, so we have to make sure we always move constant in the cycle.
After lunch, we spent the whole afternoon throughout town evangelizing the community. The first hour, Kat talked to people of two different faiths. They were Muslim and Jehovah’s Witness, who both listened to Kat and then shared about their faith. Burke met a young man who (if he had one million pounds) would buy a house for him and his mom to live by the country side. This man also wanted prayers so he could practice sobriety. He then talked to a young mom named Diane that had two kids. She would like us to pray for health for her children, because they both have a disease. Elise and I were together and we talked to a wonderful women who works at the local library. She loves her community and working in it. We also talked to a security guard at Sainsbury’s who was strong in his faith and shared it with us. The second hour involves us changing up our groups, so I was with Kat, and Elise and Burke were together. Kat and I talked to a mother named Rose who wants us to pray for her children that they are doing things for themselves and not to please others and safe travels as she goes to Spain in the next couple of weeks. Burke and Elise met people who used to have faith and someone who thought the whole world was his. Literally. The entire world was his if he says so (he also thought if you think ‘hey that dirty shirt is clean’ it will be clean). The third hour, Elise and Sherri (a local who goes to church at St. Luke’s) prayed over a homeless man and encouraged a believer. Kat, who was with Reverend Donald, the Reverend at St. Luke’s, talked to a homeless woman, a Brazilian man, and talked to someone that was exactly like Burke when he was role playing an atheist earlier that day for training. I got to be with a man named David, who handed out “a million pounds” and got to have a few conversations with believers and non-believers. We also talked to another man and introduced him to the Gospel. Burke and a lady named Gemma, were a group together. They actually got to lead someone to Christ tonight. She was a mother who prayed, with Burke and Gemma cheering her on, and accepted Christ into her heart tonight. Everyone out of all the groups was truly moved when Gemma and Burke came back after we were done evangelizing and told the group what amazing thing happened tonight. Everyone was truly moved and grateful that we could experience God moving like that. I’ll be honest again, I really did not think that that would happen tonight. Or any time on this trip. God put this in experience in our lives to show other people, and ourselves, that He is in power, that He is great, and He is good.
As told by Grace Newman and Emma Hellmann of Team Mark: We started off with worship in the common room. Then we divided up jobs and split into a couple different teams of cleaning, window washing, vegetable bed building, and mulch moving (which we have done 18 tons of this week). After working a few hours on that, we finally sat down to eat lunch. Then we cleaned the grill, moved more mulch, and had craft club with the elderly residents. After everything wrapped up, we ordered pizza and then ate it in the bus on our way to “Wicked.” It was a really nice play and we enjoyed the quality time with the team. I am so thankful for all that has happened and it is crazy to see how God has worked through our team to make a huge difference at Gurnell Grove.
As told by Kylee Downs of Team Jon: Today started very early, especially after a late night last night. We all had to be at the church at 8 am to start our day. From the church we walked to the school we would be working at for the day. The grades in England our different from ours back in the US. So their Year 5 would be our 4th grade. Ray Lodge Primary School consisted of Nursery (our pre-k) all the way to Year 6.
I was picked to give a Bible lesson and teach the moral of the story. This was a little difficult for me because I had never fully come up with my own plan before. This was also very nerve racking because public speaking is not my most favorite thing to do. This morning when we met with Jon, the pastor of Woodford Evangelical Church, he read a passage in the Bible about how we should be confident in what we do because it’s all for God. This really helped me calm my nerves and realize God is in control and I have nothing to worry about.
At 9am, we began the first assembly of the day. It was Years 2-6 and had about 350 kids. I led the Bible story and then Jamie and I led the Macarena. This was kind of a fail because of the big group of kids and because we didn’t have a loud speaker. But it was still fun to see the front row of kids with the smiles on their faces.
The next group was Recreation (Kindergarten) and Year 1. This group was a lot smaller. Probably around 250. I did the same lesson that I had done before. Then Jamie and I led the Chicken Dance and the Macarena. This time it was a lot better with more room and it was played over the speaker system. I was really happy with how my lesson had turned out since I had so many fears going up to it.
After the assemblies, we split up into groups of two (Kathleen and I; Raegan and Jamie; and Josh and Jared.) The girls went into classrooms and gave slideshows about Texas culture and life as a teenager in Texas. It was so fun to exchange different things we do and learning things like how they pronounce stuff differently than we do. For example, crisps here are chips in America. That’s just one of the many words that are different with the same meeting. While we did the lessons, the boys taught the children how to play American football. From what I heard it was a great success!! Before lunch we had a tour around the school. I was amazed at the things they offered and how much they valued the students. They made sure to do their best of meeting all of their needs. It was really cool to see.
I went into the school without knowing what it would be like. I left really pleased!! The school was very polite and so kind to let us come in and talk about our life in Texas. My favorite thing from this was when little girls would come up and give me a hug or give me a high five because I gave the story at the assembly. Later on in the night, at Texas Night, two little girls came up and said that they saw me. It made me feel like all the nerves I had leading up to it were worth it to get to share something that’s so important to me, to young children that will hopefully make them want to know more.
After we left the school around 3pm, we went to James and Angela’s to get supplies for our Texas night. Then we headed over to The Ray Lodge Estates. It was a bit of a bummer because for the first 30 minutes no one showed up. But then a girl who was 14 years old came in with her 2 sisters and their neighbors, which were 3 little boys. The manager of the building and her son soon came after that. We all went outside and the boys threw the football while the girls played with the babies. This was about all the people that came so it definitely was not what we were expecting. Our plans quickly changed. But I didn’t mind because it was fun getting to know some of the girls that were there.
We cleaned up quickly so we would have time to catch a train into the city to eat dinner. I really
enjoyed this time we all had together since a lot of the trip has been busy and most times having to be split up. It was nice to get a few hours just to hangout, laugh, and not have to rush our time spent together. At the beginning of the week I was pretty sad that I wasn’t with some of my close friends and was a little nervous that it would be odd all of us together, since I had really only known Jared before the trip. But I’m SO glad I was put in this group. I’ve gotten to know Josh and Raegan pretty well and we have all four really worked well together.
It’s crazy that the trip is coming to an end. I’m thankful for this trip since it has taught me stuff about myself I wouldn’t have known before. I’ve overcome some fears as I have done door-to-door evangelism and have talked in a large group of people. These are really big steps for me and I’m so excited to see how God is going to use me further on in my life with things I have learned on this trip.
Please pray for us tomorrow as we go door-to-door again. Last time we did this, it was a little upsetting seeing just a small glimpse of how many people don’t believe in God. But tomorrow is a new day and I’m excited to see how He will use me during this time to connect people with Him. Later in the day tomorrow, Kathleen, Jared, and I will be going into another school to have deeper conversations with a few kids about their faith. Pray that we can be open and honest even when it’s difficult for us to.