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What can happen when we intentionally go on mission with our youth? Emily shares her Mission Trip Diary from our Summer Moveolution UK.

This summer we had a fantastic time in God’s presence, engaging with youth across our Moveolution England and Moveolution Scotland mission sites. Teams of American and British youth and their youth leaders came to Larbert, Stirlingshire and Witney, Oxfordshire on mission to relationally share Jesus with other young people.

Emily shares her mission diary with us to tell us all that happened in Witney. If you are interested in our Overseas or UK based mission trips, you can find out more here or you can get in touch! You can see what the young people in Scotland got up to by watching this video which one of the mission team made.

Saturday

The US team arrived safely in the early hours of the morning. In the afternoon, the UK team joined the team, in Witney, and got settled down. After many icebreakers and name games (we have a big team!), the group slowed things down as we moved on to quiet time.

Esme led the team by helping us all feel on the same page and gave us tools on how to read and apply the Bible to our lives. Some of the team have never had this chance before, and so it’s great to begin a habit to take back home after this week. We saw God move when we read Mark 4. We were encouraged to be like a lamp on a stand, and how this light attracts others around us, for example loving the young people we meet in the week.

Ben (Youth Leader) taught us a way of initiating conversations with teenagers, called the ABC’s. This will be a way that the team can grow in building relationships, and loving each-other well. The team shared life and laughter over a delicious meal, shortly followed by a British Culture quiz, and talk on youth culture in the community.

We ended the evening with worship and prayer. The team came back to the idea that we are here for God, and are expectant from Him to move in and through us, as we are a light for Him. The word expectant perhaps is a theme for this week. Expectant for God’s joy to overflow, expectant to hear God in quiet time, and through each other. Expecting to be challenged, and see God move!

Sunday

After a refreshing sleep, and filling breakfast, the Moveolution team headed to the local church (Cogges) for their morning service. The rain held back, meaning the team had a picnic in the park, and free time to build relationships!

One highlight was a spontaneous team lesson on how to waltz. Sometimes these things can never be planned! During quiet time, we looked at Acts 8, and how incredible things can happen when we are obedient to Gods voice, and take that step of faith- like Philip. This was encouraging to hear for the team, as we are preparing for mission time in the afternoons.

We all got to know the town centre, with a competitive photo scavenger hunt. This included having to get a photo with someone with a moustache, as a team we nailed it!

Each of us made a shield with pictures and words to describe our Family, faith, fun and future. Another helpful tool to deeper conversations within the group. I believe the whole Moveolution team would agree that the evening game time was a definite highlight of the day.

We saw God move in the way we worked well in 4 different teams, each bringing unique personality and levels of competitiveness to the group! It’s amazing to see a team, collectively growing in friendship and support within 24 hours! This is what we expected, and here God has so beautifully shown up. We celebrate that.

One team member said;

“ I have enjoyed the challenge to be prepared to do anything. Even waltzing around with a group of people I’d just met!”

God showed up today in friendship, obedience, and vulnerability. This is only the beginning of a fantastic week ahead.

Monday

A glorious Monday, with sunshine and blue skies, and answer to prayer! We kicked off the day with quiet time discussion, on Mark 4. Jesus met with unexpected people, in unexpected places. He connected through the current society and culture of that day.

Therefore, we asked ourselves; “how can we be getting alongside young people, and connect with them in a similar way?” To do this, Carina taught us ways to help friends take the next step towards God. We then got to practice this in ministry time. Identifying where teenagers were at, and getting alongside them.

There were 3 sites, and each fed back positive experiences of games, snacks, and meaningful conversations. It was encouraging to hear that the teenagers were looking forward to seeing the team back in the next few days here.

The team found unexpected joy in moments where they were previously afraid but using the tools they’d learned, they were able to build the relationship and show the incredible love of our Father.

It was important to get a taste of American culture; Joy cooked sloppy Joe’s, and what a meal that was! From having separate conversations with the team, I’ve seen how everyone has been surprised by their own ability and confidence within themselves.

The unexpected boldness to take that step, say hi to that person, to pray for that teenager. It’s more than taking a step, it’s radiating the image of God within us, and using the unique gifts of boldness He offers us daily. As a team, we are looking ahead to life back home.

To be able to use this boldness to help our friends take the next step, and expect the unexpected. One member said;

“ I saw God move in the conversations that I had in moments where I felt my most weak. God provides you and me, exactly what we need. Always”

Thankyou God!

Tuesday

We faced two challenges this morning. Adapting to 96% chance of downpour and thunder, and sharing our story. In other words, we needed God to move physically and spiritually. As a team, we prayed altogether for God’s will to be done, whether that’s rain or sunshine. More importantly, we’d given it to God, and left the result up to Him.

There is something so powerful about coming together as a community, to our Father who wants to pour out His goodness on us. God showed up in boldness. Within our ministry time, we got to connect with teenagers, and put God in the spotlight of our story. This was a challenge, but in the stepping out, the team felt brave and confident in this. One team member said;

“There’s no way that this confidence has been by chance. I know that God is real, He has moved in me, and I won’t be the same again”.

We saw how by just trusting in God’s Holy Spirit, we can impact teenagers with our testimony. On reflection, Moveolution Witney were blown away by the receptiveness of the young people to our testimonies. One highlight was some of the team being able to pray for God to meet with teenagers whilst they were with them.

Not having outdoor activities ,opened a door for deeper conversation, and that’s where God showed up. The two challenges became opportunities to make God more famous. We knew He was in control, despite the weather, and trusted Him to meet us through our stories. This is something we can all take back home.

When facing challenging situations, we can choose to ask God to move, and leave the result up to Him. Our team have been overflowing with joy about building relationships with teenagers, hearing from God in quiet time, and sharing the stories God written on their hearts. Because the biggest platform we have is the very life we live.

Wednesday

Today God showed up in new ways. Most of the team felt at times challenged with tiredness, and less excited being together. It’s mid-week, and that’s absolutely okay. This showed us the importance of rest.

The mission team were given reflection questions to remind ourselves what God’s been teaching us this week, and our personal goals. It’s okay to stop, and remember we are human beings, not doings. We were also given a chance to have ‘introvert time’. This was 40 minutes of just being whether that was playing football, journaling, reading, or walking. One team member said;

“Having introvert time was so good for me. I can see how it helps me with processing thoughts, and recharging.”

We saw God move in how we rest, and this is so key for life back home, when we need to draw close to God at times like this. This linked to Psalm 17 which we read in quiet time. Hiding in the shadow of His wings, and being okay with rest. At the same time, David thanks God for what he will do, and has already done.

We saw God move in how we can also thank God for the past few days of Moveolution! The team saw God move, once again in the afternoon ministry time. The teenagers really connected with the team, and helped them ask good questions about God. Overall it was successful, and each member of the team worked so well together, to bring God all the glory. So we thanks God for the rest we had today.

Thursday

Today the team was open, genuine, and obedient. Being open in the simple gospel message. We learnt a tool called ‘The Bridge’, which explains the gospel message through an illustration. For some, this really clicked; they were able to teach it to the teenagers that were open to hearing how Jesus’ death on the cross, impacts their lives today.

God showed up in many open conversations with teenagers, some sharing testimony, some sharing the gospel message; ultimately giving God all the glory in ways he’s shaped us. At various points in the day, I looked around and saw a team that was genuine. In listening well to each other at meals, to encouraging and caring when we’ve been brave. Being genuine is in the small moments, choosing to check in with someone, and doing small things with great love.

Obedience. Success is being obedient in the small things. It’s doing our part, and leaving the rest to Him. As a team, we were challenged to see prayer as the driving force of ministry time. We read in Matthew 14 that after feeding the 5’000, Jesus immediately goes up a mountain, to pray to his Father. Immediately. Jesus, fully human, and fully God, knew the divine power of relationship. Obedience, is what Jesus so beautifully displayed.

Likewise, in our ministry time, we chose to hold back, spend time with the Father, praying for the ones who were having good conversations in ministry time. How beautiful. Being made for relationship, to solely rely on that to drive openness in the team. What an honour it was to join see where God was moving, and join in.

We got to partner with God, and later celebrate with each other on how God moved today. moments where we, like Peter, responded to Jesus’ calling out the boat, our comfort zone. Some of the team got to pray with a teenager, and some simply radiated Jesus’ love by playing games and speaking life into them. Obedience in praying when no one is watching, and stepping outside our comfort zone.

Moveolution England Team 2019
Moveolution Scotland Team 2019

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.

Carina is in her first year of the degree programme working towards a BA in Theology and Mission. Her placement is split between the GreenHouse Gap Year programme and St. Mary’s Cogges church in Witney. How is God equipping her to have gospel conversations?

“Marie (name changed) and I went to school together in Austria and have been friends for a long time. Marie is a very openminded and curious person and I have intentionally taken opportunities to share my faith with her. A couple of months ago I was reading one of my favourite Christian books, and as I was reading it, I kept thinking about Marie. I felt God nudge me to send her the book. So I did.

“A few weeks later she sent me a message. She had read the book, and it inspired her to pick up her Bible and read it. Her message said: “I have questions. Can we talk about it?”.

“I was really excited but also nervous before our talk. I knew this could be a turning point in Marie’s faith journey. Marie told me that she had started reading the Bible from the beginning and as she made her way through Genesis there was one big thing she did not understand: Why is a loving God judging and punishing people?

“I was so glad she asked, because this question gave me the chance to explain the good news of Jesus to her, how he died on the cross for us to take this punishment for our sin on himself. After my explanation there were a few seconds of silence, then Marie said: “That makes so much sense!”. What an amazing moment!”

“One of the things we help our students in the GreenHouse Gap Year programme with is how to talk about Spiritual things and ultimately, have gospel conversations with our friends. On that same day that I spoke with Marie, I was preparing to teach the students about a resource we call the Pie Shape (no points for creativity, there).

“The Pie Shape is a tool which helps to illustrate what holds people back from deciding that they want to follow Jesus. Basically, there are three areas that might stop people from asking Jesus to be their leader and forgiver: knowledge, will and experience.

“One important question we must ask if we are going to grow in having gospel conversations with our friends is ‘What is holding you back from making a commitment to follow Jesus?’

The Pie-Shape

“If a person feels like they need more experiences with God, you can pray with them for specific things and help them to engage with prayer for themselves. Another good thing to do is to show them how to connect with God in different ways and help them to see how God is actively involved in their lives.

“If they think they need more knowledge ask them what they don’t understand and help them to discover the answers to their questions. You could go through the Stir Pack, an Alpha course with them or start reading the Bible together.

“If they are not making a commitment because it is a question of their will, then you can challenge them why they are sitting on the fence. There also might be some misconception about what it means to be a Christian that you need to correct.

“Back to my conversation with Marie…I asked her what she thinks she needs before she can make a commitment herself, and she said she feels like she needs more knowledge about God.

“Since that conversation, we are now Skyping nearly every week and reading through the Gospel of Luke together. Marie asks very deep questions about what we read and I am really challenged to think about these things and try to answer them as clearly as possible.

“It is exciting to see how God has worked in her life over the last few years and how she is now exploring what faith means for her own life.”

Applications are still open for our Degree and Gap Year Programmes. We would love to hear your story, so get in touch by following the above links.

We also have a new cycle of our volunteer training starting in January 2020. This community of like-minded learners is a place where you can train your volunteer team about discipleship and set a vision for your youth ministry.