My goal for the year is to present Jesus to the people I meet, exactly as He is. Not as a strident task-master, but has a friend who, by His death on the cross, has freed us up to live and to love others.
Michael Frost, whose writing we've been assigned to read over the last few weeks, says that a missionary's job is to live questionable lives, and to alert people to God's reign as the King and Creator of this earth. This excites me.
Like I said in my earlier post, God has allowed me to have passions, and as my Father, He loves that I love these things. For instance, I love CrossFit. I love CrossFit because God created me with a body that functions as it should, a body that is able to run and jump and climb, and enjoy the great outdoors. Therefore, I want to improve my physical condition, so I can better enjoy going outside and throwing a Frisbee with my friends. And if God created me with a body that moves, then I believe He is thrilled when I try to push myself and get the most out of the body He gave me. He loves that I love physical activity. Does the world think of God as the kind of God who loves that we have loves, because even the things we are passionate about – coffee, movies, music, physical activity – scream that there is a Creator, whose creation is good?
This is the God who I have the privilege of serving! He's not boring! 2 Corinthians 5:18 says, "All this is from God, who through Christ, reconciled us to himself, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."
That's why I'm here! Everything is already God's! Everything that makes up a good cup of coffee, well-made movies and the beauty of the world they depict. It's all wonderful and it has been created by God, and I get to help awaken people to this fact. I'm not the only one who loves coffee, I'm not the only one who loves movies, I'm not the only one who loves physical activity. The world is full of people who love these things. However, if people knew God loves these things too, because they scream His glory, would that give them more reason to want to know this God? I think it would.
So in essence, that's what Ryan's and my assignment boils down to, through daily living, alerting the Welsh-speakers in Bangor to God's reign as King and Creator of this earth.
It's neat, because we've pretty much been given the freedom to do this through any areas we want. For instance, Ryan and I met with the director of the Welsh Student Union the other day and talked to him about joining a Welsh Choir. How cool would that be!
He also said the Welsh Student Union puts out a journal and they give international students the opportunity to write a column about their experiences in Wales so far. Another very practical opportunity he gave us was to join them as they take some vans to a random pub in north Wales and just hang out and enjoy each other's company. That happens tomorrow. That's a little intimidating because it will be tons of strangers speaking Welsh. But like I said earlier, if God has called me to an adventurous and risky, but full life, and He is capable of doing more in our lives than we could imagine, then I'm willing to jump headlong into situations like that, knowing that this is God's trip, to do with as He pleases. Ryan and I are bathing Monday night in prayer, praying that out of our field trip, relationships would start to be formed. Same with the Welsh choir, or the column in the Welsh Student Union journal, these are opportunities to meet people and create friendships in which the saving grace of Jesus can be shared.
That's broadly what's going on! Ryan and I started Welsh training last week. The routine has been nice. It's helped me feel more settled in, and to feel more like I belong. That being said, it's incredibly taxing mentally.
Come Friday afternoon, I was completely exhausted (or knackered, as they say in Great Britain). But the Welsh tend to respond well to outsiders who come in and put forth the effort to learn their language, so hopefully we will continue to see doors opened through those efforts. I ask that you would pray for us in regard to the language.
Pray that we would become conversational sooner rather than later, by God's grace.
Pray that the Lord would help us to find Welsh-speakers who would practice with us, and friendships would come from that.
Just generally pray that the Lord would help us to create rich friendships with Welsh-speakers, particularly the unchurched.
Jacob Allen is serving as a Go Now missionary in Wales. To read more, and see some awesome photos, from Allen, visit his blog.