Archives For Mission

The highlight of each season of our Greenhouse Gap Year is seeing the journeys each of our students embark on. What stories have our Gap Year students got to share with you this year?

Are you interested in coming on our Greenhouse Gap Year? Or do you know a college-leaver in your youth group who is thinking of embarking on a gap year journey?

Find out more information here, or you can get in touch if you would like to speak to us. We love hearing your story! Funding options are available for our 2019-2020 intake.

Ever wondered what life is like on the Degree programme. How are Jon and Ellie being equipped on The Degree to change the trend of Youth Ministry?

If you are interested in The Degree programme and want to learn more, follow the link or check out when our next Open Day is. We would love to hear your story!

“This is the closest description of what we’ve seen the team develop in. It’s drawing upon the strengths and talents God has given each of us – and using that in a team for His Glory. To make Him famous!”

Emily Spicer, Moveolution Europe Team, Moldova 2019

It has been one week since our Moveolution Europe team landed back in the UK from their 10-day mission trip in Moldova. How did God stir up faith in the community and our team?

From Moldovan-style horse and carriage commutes to sharing the love of God with over 65 children, our team were taken on a whirlwind of a journey with God this February.

We partner with OM Moldova, a mission organisation who started sharing the love of God in Moldova by smuggling Bibles into the country during the Soviet reign, to reach children and families in Palanca.

“Having the pastor share his vision on the first night then enabled our team to know how to partner, get on board and be one cohesive team working together. “

Emily, in our team, helped keep us updated while in Palanca, Moldova. You can read her awesome diary updates for further reading, but here are some of our highlights from this years mission trip.

“We thank God because it has been the most incredible experience, living in the wonderful village of Palanca.”

Moveolution Europe Team, Moldova 2019

Time with God

The team started each day in quiet time with God, centred around a morning talk with one of our partners. This quiet time was an incredible way to focus on how God was speaking to the team and the Moldovan people and to put Him at the centre of our lives.

“At first it may have seemed a lot, but has been a divine treasure for truth and talking point amongst the team,” Emily shared. “It starts the day with God first and our priority, which is a model for life back home.”

The team felt encouraged to praise God and give thanks in all circumstances for what He has already done and promised – before the situation! The team’s trust in God grew and each step unfolded with God’s provision.

Time with God helped the team grow spiritually and ignited communications with God. Reflecting on God moving in the situations and praising Him for how he was working in Palanca brought a model for back home!

Family Visits

Visiting families in their homes was an amazing way to share the love God has for the people in Moldova.

Each house was different, however the team all agreed that the Moldovan people are all extremely hospitable. The team were deeply touched by their need and love for God!

Visiting the families was an incredible opportunity to share our story, pray for their individual needs and listen to the circumstances of the families.

“When visiting people in houses it was challenging to be in small groups – but it meant we were encouraged to speak up and share our story”.

Moved by the powerful stories of the families, our team were so encouraged to share the stories of how God had moved in their lives. Many families faced difficult circumstances, who needed the hope of Jesus.

“A lot of houses we went to wanted us to pray for health because the access to healthcare isn’t great,” shared Ali. “A lot of Moldovan’s struggle to make it to 60,70 years of age; they work hard young and get worn down.”

The team gave food parcels to the families to help nourish their bodies and told stories of hope to bring the love of God in those situations.

“Refreshing and real, the experience of house visits has been a mixture of challenge and inspiration”

In the home of one of the families the team visited, a mother with a four-month-old baby felt God in a personal way. Through the love she had for her son, she was able to understand how God unconditionally loved her and died for her. She “would die for him”, her son, just as Jesus died for her. God showed up.

Another family felt particularly touched by one of the team sharing how God had shaped them. They became more interested in how the Bible was relevant in their lives today. They began to understand how God could speak into their needs and circumstances through the bible.

Children’s and Youth Programmes

During the mission trip, our team ran and hosted children’s programmes at one of the local churches in Palanca.

Venturing out into the village, our team also went into the community to invite youth to an evening service which they also hosted.

Eager and excited, the team welcomed over 40 children on the first day and over 65 children the other days to watch plays of bible stories, do arts, crafts and games, as well as pray for the children.

The children became more open and eager to participate over the course of the programme whether it was through listening or playing games.

Things got serious during the making of paper aeroplanes and they enjoyed playing with them afterward. The games brought them such joy!

At the end of the programme the team prayed individually with each child who attended the programme, bringing an opportunity to speak God into their lives and fill their hearts with the deep love of Jesus.

The team felt grateful then to have specific time with the youth. There is something special about “Teenagers reaching Teenagers!”.

So many of the teenagers in Palanca came to the programme and engaged with what the team shared. The evening was extremely powerful.

“We reflected a generation that was listening to God and that was evident in testimonies.”

“It was great to hear the pastor of the church say he was incredibly grateful for what we did. The impact it had on the children and youth was so great, it filled his heart with joy.”

Life Back Home

Re-familiarising themselves with life back home after being taken out of their comfort zones and into God’s hands, the team are putting what they have learnt into action!

One week since returning, how is God continuing to impact our team?

Physical and Spiritual Thankfulness

Physical

Culture shock sunk in this week, as the team were faced with the luxuries which we take for granted.

During their time in Moldova, the team were faced with seeing a lack of healthcare, sanitation and safe water.

The team have come home truly appreciating and thanking God for those things which some of the world do not have access to, sometimes out of no fault of their own.

Spiritual

During the mission trip, one of our leaders, Tom, guided the team through a quiet time. In this time he highlighted that in order to live like Jesus we must thank God ahead of the situations we face.

“This isn’t just a nice saying,” says Emily. “We saw this embedded into Jesus’ ministry, such as before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-43, Luke 9:16)”

The team are integrating both forms of thankfulness into their personal lives, but also in their youth ministries back home.

In Bicester, the team are putting God first by challenging themselves to praise God before their youth groups or places they serve in. Thanking God ahead of what happens.

Appreciating God’s Provision

Fabian, a member of our team, says he has been changed since the mission trip in Moldova. “I am thankful to God that He will always provide and meet every need we have, both physical and spiritual,” he says – even if this isnt how we always expect.

Facing desperate circumstances, the team sometimes felt helpless. One of the things that the team has appreciated since being home is trusting God to meet these needs and not relying on our personal strength.

The most powerful reaction is prayer and to trust God with providing for us.

Vicky was overwhelmed with the hospitality of the Moldovan people. “I am looking for ways to carry the hospitality of the Moldovan people into my core values in my personal life and in ministry.” Vicky shared.

To learn more about what the team got up to, read our Mission Diary, written by the wonderful Emily on our Gap Year Programme.

Thinking of taking your youth on a mission trip? Click here for our Overseas and UK Mission Trips.

Halloween is a time where we want to fill our local communities with the light of God and splice through the darkness with the truth. Here are some ideas to help the youth feel like they aren’t missing out on the fun, get their friends involved and impact the community at Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

1) Light Festival

“Ending the night with fireworks, the Night of 1100 Lights pours light across the town but we focus on showing the love and splendour of God! We want to show that light really does overcome the darkness!” – Jo, Friend of Reign

Lots of churches are doing light and bright parties but why not make it a bit more hip with the youth? Ask the worship team or some of the musical if they can play some live music. Dress up in light, bright and sparkly costumes.

Maybe set a theme such as sparkles, glow, multi colours or maybe superheroes. You could make cosy winter drinks and set up some interactive stations around the church.

Fancy making a church-wide event? See if there is an outdoor space where the community can come along. Set up some games, music and food then fill the space with all the lights! St. Paul’s Weston hosts an amazing event called “1100 Lights”.

 

Check it out here.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Trick or Treat with a Twist

The church was built to get involved with the community and meet people where they are even if they are in darkness. Why not open the church up to Trick or Treaters, always giving treats of something yummy with words of encouragement attached to it. Fill the front of the church with fairy lights and lanterns.

Parents will probably be thankful for not having to knock on strangers doors and for non-scary costumes. It also will help the community to see youth are actually quite awesome and not as scary as they may think!

 

 

 

 

 

3) Pumpkin Lanterns

Pumpkins are normally scarily decorated but the humble pumpkin is such a yummy seasonal vegetable and makes the most beautiful lanterns when decorated with stars, lots of diamond shapes and crosses. The carvings can glimmer light onto your walls, make pretty outdoor decorations for a nighttime roasted marshmallow fire or show the community the incredible light in Jesus.

Help to reduce waste by mustering up a pumpkin soup with the insides and give it to a charity who help the homeless, or just enjoy it all together. You can make an autumnal evening of it with music, snacks and winter warmers.

 

 

 

 

 

4) Tour of Surprises

Do a daytime event on a weekend or during half term with a tour of surprises. Make a tour of the local community and arrange for the youth to receive a surprise activity, item or clue at each stop. They could also give something at each stop.

Choose 4 or 5 places such as a hospital, charity, pier, park with a pre-organised game, ice skating rink.

 

 

 

 

 

5) Harvest

Harvest is such a magical time in the calendar, with a celebration of our food and giving thanks to others. Make a celebration day or evening with fun events. Ask everyone to bring something for the local FoodBank, you could even ask to help the FoodBank organise their collections. You could do a ready steady cook dinner with teams and find some seasonal fruit, veg and staples to make a yummy dinner and eat all together. You can integrate with some fun autumn games.