At the end of April, 13 ID students spent a week in Malaga with the RM missional community who are based out there. Sarah Morton tells us how she came back once again reminded that we have a God who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.
Each year we organise a mission trip for the ID students to visit a pioneering situation within Relational Mission, with three aims:
To expose the IDers to something of the reality of church planting in other cultures
To encourage the church plants
To evangelise, and to get the IDers excited about evangelism in their everyday life
Here are my thoughts on how we did on each of those…
1) To expose the IDers to something of the reality of church planting in other cultures
I’m not sure how many people believed us when we’d say we’re going to Malaga on a mission trip and staying in a ridiculously grand villa with a swimming pool!
For many of us, it was the first time we had ever been to Spain. We were obviously exposed to the challenges of the language barrier pretty quickly, but as the week went on we also learnt more about the Catholicism that is so entrenched in the culture there. It was a learning experience for us to see a culture that is very religious yet predominantly nominal.
It was really eye-opening to spend the week with the team in their very early days in Malaga, as Beth, one of our IDers describes:
“What struck me most was how they were doing church, no formal meetings in the way we’d expect, no service times, just doing life together, being accountable to each other and then boldly telling people about Jesus. That is what we see in the Bible and it challenged me about how I was thinking of the church, and how I didn't view sharing the gospel as an urgent thing to do.”
2) To encourage the church plants
We absolutely loved being with the Lazenbys and Reays who are out there long term. It was a privilege to get to know some of our wider family, and I believe the connection and encouragement will go far beyond just the week that we had there. We will continue to carry them in prayer and experiencing a place for yourself is really the best way to catch something of the Father’s heart for it.
At the end of the week, Martin said they were challenged and encouraged in evangelism by watching those of us with little/no Spanish still being proactive in sharing the Gospel.
3) To do mission, and to stir the IDers about evangelism in their everyday lives
David Bareham joined us for most of the week and we spent a few hours each day in the shisha lounge of the villa receiving training on evangelism and discipleship. It was great to be equipped and then put it into practice straight away! We had really fruitful times of evangelism with people receiving prayer and engaging with the Gospel. Please be praying that the guys out there will see those individuals choose to follow Jesus and join them as they follow up.
A highlight was our last night. We had spent a lot of the week preparing for the “English Chat Cafe” that we were putting on. We’d made a quiz, baked cakes, prepared conversation starters… and handed out a lot of flyers! There was a good amount of interest, but over an hour into the advertised time, no-one had shown up! Some of us were feeling a bit disheartened and tired, others had been out along the seafront sharing the Gospel and inviting people in. Despite the mixed feelings, we decided that everyone would go out in twos and threes instead. And we had some more great conversations! As Nade, another IDer describes,
“Although we didn't see salvation come to anyone, we all came back rejoicing and excited! Why?! Because God meets with us when we take steps of obedience! Blindly throwing seeds into the fields and not knowing which ones will produce a harvest and which won't, but trusting that God is the one who brings the harvest, not us! All we have to do is keep stepping out in faith and obedience and throw out seeds into the fields! I learnt how much God honours our acts of obedience - ‘If you love me, you will obey my commandments’ (John 14v15) - as Mike Pilavachi says, God's love language is obedience!
Since the mission trip, I have been a lot bolder in sharing the gospel on the streets or even when I am out and about doing food shopping, and all glory to God, I have witnessed a lady give her life to Christ after doing the three circles Gospel presentation with her! I am still in shock from this and keep thinking to myself ‘she said yesss!!??’ The mission trip has definitely changed me!”
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Want to be part of this kind of gospel adventure for yourself? Why not consider doing the ID year in 2019/20? Click this link to see which churches are hosting this year and how you could bless them while learning and growing in God.