Being stuck at home has made me a little travel crazy. I thought I’d share some stories from my time on outreach in Wales a couple of years ago. I cannot remember the order of the days, so if you were there, forgive my mixups.
If you want to read my previous post about Firestarters to learn more about this incredible youth ministry, you can do so here.
My brother and I run up the escalator. We had just flown in from Canada the day before. Thankfully, we’re both young and dumb enough to travel straight to another country afterward eighteen hours of flights.
I trip on the escalator. The person in front of me gasps. My knee is bleeding but I’m tired and it’s hilarious and everything is fine.
After a seven-hour train journey, we arrive at the church, greeted by friends who arrived the day before. Our incredible host church has prepared food and it is wonderful.
Every day, we begin with worship. It is so powerful to gather with sixty other teenagers and lift Abba high. After worship comes teaching. Some share testimony’s of God’s healing in their life. Others bring us outreach ideas and ways to focus on glorifying God instead of fearing what people think.
Together, we pray that God will guide us to find specific people during outreach, asking him for “clues” on who to talk to.
And then we go on outreach in the Welsh streets, a team of Scottish and Welsh teens with little experience and a lot of passion. Over a few days of outreach, some beautiful things happen.
Our matching t-shirts draw attention from a man standing on the side of the road. A group of the lads go over to talk to him, and they share Jesus with him. He breaks down in tears, sharing with the team leader how he had been suicidal that day and how this was a breakthrough that he needed. The team prayed with him, and the holy spirit came. He walked away changed.
A leader and I go up to a teen walking past, asking if we can ask him about God. He is happy to chat with us, and we ask what he believes in. While my leader is sharing Jesus with him, I sense God whispering “He has shoulder pain, and I am going to show him that I care about him.” When I get the chance, I ask if shoulder pain is an issue for him. He looks startled for a moment, asks how I know that, and confirms that he does. I get to share with him how God cares so deeply for him, that he told me to pray for his shoulder pain. And so we pray that he would be healed. And then we ask if he would like to accept Jesus. And he says yes.
We go and worship and dance on a mountain one day. We look over the valleys of Wales and declare God’s favour over them. And together we stand with our Welsh brothers and sisters and pray for revival in their nation.
There is sacredness in the community of youth. In the laughter over inconsequential things, in walking to the pool to shower, in madly tidying the church on the final day. The candy wrappers on the floor speak for themselves.
But there is also sacredness in the vulnerability of worshipping together. So many voices focused on worshipping God shifts the atmosphere.
The van ride home takes around ten hours. There has been a horrific car accident on the road ahead of us. We pray for the people involved to be safe.
And we arrive home in the dark, in the silence, and fall into bed and sleep.
It is done.