You would think that being in London, it would be no problem to have access to regular Internet, but in a city where nothing is cheap, Wi-Fi, especially free Wi-Fi, is hard to come by. So for each correspondence that I am able to get, I am grateful. But I know that it has been awhile since I’ve been able to update my blog, so hopefully you know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but instead I’ve been faithfully doing what the Lord has called me to do.
We started our first official church activity on Friday morning when we joined a morning prayer time that is held at the pastor’s house. There were only a few members of the church there, but we joined together in prayer and singing praise to God. In addition to the pastor and his wife, there were two other men from the church–a man named Bernie (who in my mind is what I’ve always pictured as the stereotypical Englishman) and Pastor George (a retired pastor from South Africa). It was a restorative time, but I was so tired, I almost fell asleep during prayer! Which hints at how I need to be taking better
care of myself. The beds are comfortable enough, but still it’s a little cold so I wake up sneezing and with a runny nose. After prayer, we stayed at the pastor’s house for our first experience of English fish and chips (which is fried cod and French fries, for
those of you who may not know). For being someone who isn’t crazy about fish in the first place, it was quite good. And also quite filling, but the pastor’s wife brought out slices of key lime pie, and there’s always room for dessert.
Friday night we joined a man from the church (Tahin, originally from Madagascar) to do street witnessing. We took the Tube to Warren Street and Tahin said to just start conversations with people around us. Yeah, let’s just say it didn’t go so well. He tried to tell us just to think of how we make friends, of course, there’s the whole I don’t actually just make friends by randomly going up to strangers and saying (like he told us to), “Hi, I’m Annie, and I’m a Christian.” He wanted us to go into pubs because I guess it’s not as weird to talk to strangers when they are watching football (or as we Americans like to say, soccer) and drinking a beer or two or seven. Right, I know what you’re thinking, Annie, that totally sounds like your scene. And I hear your sarcasm and respond with a resounding, you would be right. I was like, there’s no way. So the girls opted out of the pub and agreed to meet by the Tube Station later. When Tahin and Elliot didn’t come, we went back to the pub. They were in conversation (except read: almost an argument) with a man who grew up Buddhist. Once the conversation ended, I was so glad to be leaving. Needless to say, I ended the night pretty discouraged. I was thinking, Is this how I will be spending my nights? Is this really what I’m expected to be doing? I know God’s in control, but my faith that night was weak.
Within my spirit, I felt great conflict. Is that really an effective way to evangelize? I’m not discounting that it works; I have heard many stories about how it works. I know the Spirit works in situations where I’d never expect. I know God is much greater. I know God moves and works in mighty ways. I just can’t see how to enter into a conversation with a stranger and not appear to be cramming my religion down his or her throat and have that be loving and not judgmental. I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but it’s been a struggle. In later conversations with my teammates and other people from the church, we have discussed how that is a gift some people possess stronger
than others. Also, one could argue that only men should be approaching other men in the pub. The woman to man thing might not be the best.
Saturday, for most of the day, was spent at the church for pastor’s seminar about discernment, entitled “Shepherds, Sheep, and Wolves.” It was an interesting seminar. To be honest, I can see where the pastor’s theology and my own butt heads a little, but I’m here to learn and not to argue. So if that means it spurs me onto doing more of my own studying on the topics (especially when it comes to his sermon series throughout our stay here on Prophesy and the end times), then at least I’ll be learning and sharpening the ability to articulate my own beliefs. Saturday’s seminar as well as both the
church services on Sunday were great times to get to know the people in the church better. Lots of people want to make plans with us and join us in seeing more of central London. (So each time we say “going downtown London,” we are laughed at because it is Central London.)
We joined some people in the church at the pub Saturday night to watch the football game, Denmark played the Netherlands. Denmark won. We ate there and enjoyed the cheaper pub food. Hopefully I don’t need to include that we didn’t drink, but obviously we didn’t drink. I had a Coke. It was fun getting to know the people in the church, and they have a very welcoming group of people in their 20s and 30s. I am looking forward to getting to spend more time with them.
Tonight there is a “school of the Bible” night. Tomorrow night we are in charge of the Bible study. I think it should go well, but we have only really begun organizing it today. Procrastination never pays.
On a side note, I miss American coffee. You know they pretty much only have instant coffee here. It’s not the same. But I do like English tea. Give me some tea with some milk, and I’m happy. But coffee is my lifeline and it’s not the same. I try not to continue the running list of “things I am doing when I get back to the States” going around in my head, but making and drinking American coffee is one of them.
I also miss communication. I miss talking to my mom and my roommate. But God is faithful. So enough about what I miss.
I pray you are doing well.