Saturday, November 21, 2015

Youth Outreach Concert

The big November event is officially finished! Tonight was the big night. The youth concert with LZ7 and Govna B. Two Christian artists whose music border lines as secular. The goal of this is to attract listeners from all backgrounds and have the music play on secular stations so that they can experience positive, Christian music without having it be all churchy worship like.

All week, we have been working along side LZ7 going into local schools. Here they put on assemblies and announced the free gig we put on tonight. Each school had a personality of its own. It was so much fun going between Christian, secular, private, public, all girls, and co ed schools. We saw such a mix in faiths and personalities, but one thing every school had in common was LOVING LZ7. By the end of each assembly all the students were bouncing and singing and booking their free tickets for the Saturday night concert. One school even started mosh pitting in the middle of the crowd! Just crazy!

The concert sold out of online tickets a few hours before the show started. This was super exciting as well as scary. We didn't want huge crowds of kids being turned away at the door and causing trouble outside. But this wasn't an issue at all, as we had about 2/3 of the booked tickets show up. So everyone was able to get in, and the room was still very full.

Everything ran so well! We had a few local pastors and youth leaders volunteering, as well as church members from the group of churches who organized this event together. Everything was organized and ready to go. There were no injuries, no accidents, no big dramas. Just a lot of fun! And most importantly, when the leader of LZ7, Lindz, talked about Christianity, and then gave the opportunity to become a Christian TONS OF HANDS WENT UP! It was amazing! Dozens of kids! Afterwards, they took those kids to the next room to talk with them more and give them some resources to get connected. The room was packed! Here is a photo I snapped quickly while Lindz was talking with them.

Overall it was such a great night and so worth the months of planning it took! We are hoping and praying that those who heard the gospel tonight will go home changed, and will seek out a youth group to get connected into. We also gave out fliers for our youth club, as well as a follow up event in December. Please be praying for these kids! 

Here is a photo of the interns, Lisette (my line manager at Jubilee who headed up this event), and two of the members of LZ7. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Zoobilee Holiday Club

Holiday club! It is half term this week, which means kids don't have school because it the middle of their term. Usually during half term we don't do our toddler groups or youth clubs, so that the children's workers and youth leaders get a break too. But not this half term. This week we are running a three day holiday club. It is along the same lines of VBS. We spend all of Tuesday decorating our church with zoo-themed creations. It was a day of painting, gluing, and sticking to the extreme. I am most proud of my giraffe creation, Geremy. I worked with another volunteer for 80% of the day on this guy. We used a child sized table, a microphone stand extended as far as it would go, tons of cardboard, tons of paper, and even more duct tape and paint.

After about 8 hours of decorating and planning, we were ready to go! The next morning we had about 15 children show up. We have done everything from puppet shows to story times, songs to games, and even live animals. The kids have been loving it so much! Today was day two, and we had about 20 children show up. Most of these kids don't have church backgrounds, and know about this event through toddler groups or people in their schools who have invited them. For parents, we have a Zoo Cafe. This is a place for them to stay and hang out as long as they want while their kids enjoy the holiday club. We offer them free teas and coffees, and of course cake. Because every good English event must have cake. I have eaten more cake this year than every other year of my life combined! (Not that I am complaining!) The church leader and other church members have been joining parents in the Zoo Cafe and trying to talk with them and make it a friendly and inviting place.

Tomorrow is going to be our last day, and we will end it with some form of a baking activity with the kids. I have really enjoyed it! It will be sad for it to be over, but as long as Geremy stays up for a while longer I will be okay...

With Halloween next week, I have been surprised by England once again. It is a whole new culture shock when it comes to holidays in this country. The churches in England very strongly oppose Halloween. This is so different than the way I have grown up. Halloween has always been one of my favorites because you get to dress up really silly and eat candy. So this will be my first ever Halloween that I will not be celebrating. I have no costume and no plans. Most churches don't do anything, but there are a few in my area that I do some work with that do "light parties". This is supposed to be the opposite, Christianfied version of Halloween. One is having a glow party, and another is doing a superhero party... I understand their reasoning for not celebrating but it is very different than what I am used to. Don't even get me started on the lack of Thanksgiving here. That will be something I will have to face next month...

Saturday, October 3, 2015


I am back to my "normal" intern life after the craziness of the summer holidays and a short trip I took to Germany! After a day in Enfield doing our weekly training I stood crowded in the center of an isle on the train home during rush hour. Rush hour takes on a whole different meaning in London. Too many people get crammed together into a train because there are not enough seats or space for everyone to sit. Everyone stays in their own world, not acknowledging anyone around them, sucked into their own virtual lives. This is the perfect place for me to be nosey without others realizing because everyone has to stand in such close proximity to each other. I easily peer over the shoulder of the man sitting below me who is texting a friend, joking about a woman he should date. The man standing next to him goes from reading the political section of the daily newspaper to looking at a crossword puzzle. Behind me is a man reading an article on how to save battery on the new iOS update, beside me is a man peering over the shoulder of someone beyond my view. He is probably doing the same thing I have been - seeing just a tiny portion of someone's day. Seeing who these strangers are on our train ride at the end of the day. Nobody speaks. Nobody goes outside of the comfort of being silent and antisocial. THIS is London. This has become a part of my weekly routine. Every Monday I take this train home and people-watch to my hearts content. I am often torn between feeling like a local, and knowing that I am a foreigner to this fast-paced and crowded city. This has become my home in so many ways. These insignificant train rides don't seem special now -in fact they are often more tedious than anything-  but in a few months when I am back in America and stuck in traffic by myself, this will be something I miss...

I am starting to get to the point where returning home is looming over me. The counting down app on my phone continues to make me more homesick the nearer I come to the comforts of home. This whole year the idea of going home has been in the back of my mind and seemed so far away. But now with only two months to go I am getting more and more excited. I have so many things I am looking forward to and I have already started making plans for my return. I am also becoming aware of everything I will miss about England. Just next month will be a month of lasts: last toddler groups, last youth clubs, last sublime training days, last time seeing people I have spent this year working with...

It is going to be so bittersweet! Although all of this is constantly on my mind, I am still working hard to be present at my placement and for what is happening right now. I have returned to my weekly groups in the church that I help at which has been so great! My placement church also got its new sublime intern last month. She is one of the 6 new German interns at Sublime. It has been a lot of fun getting to know a fresh batch of interns. It is so odd being the one who knows my way around. But their excitement to be here has really encouraged me to appreciate the rest of my internship. I often have to stop and remind myself how awesome God is, and how much He has done to bring me here and how much more He has done throughout the year. It is so difficult not to fall into routine and miss what God is up to. So I am trying to be very intentional with the rest of my time spent serving in London.

Thank you all for your continued prayers! It has really made such an impact. Please be praying for my placement church. In the last few months a few families in our congregation have lost their mothers/grandmothers, including the grandmother of my host family. Please be praying for God to continue moving and doing good in this time of loss for so many.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Summer Holidays

This summer has been a whirlwind! In the months leading up to summer my line manager was nervous I would be bored over the summer. Most of what I do each week with the churches comes to a close for the summer, so I understand why she was worried! But as summer approached, my calendar began to fill up! And I feel like this has been the first mellow week I have had all summer!

In July, Sublime did Walk the Walls! This was a 100 mile prayer walk around the greater London area. It was 6 days of sleeping on church floors, lots of walking, and for me, accompanying our wonderful van driver to pick up food for lunches and coffees (mostly just to take a break from the walking). We stopped at various places along the walk each day to pray for the area, and the issues going on in that place. Each night we stayed at a new church on the way. The churches provided our team of about 15 people with dinner each night, and then we would have a worship prayer event for the community. Each night looked a little different, simply because each church we went to was different. Some had about 20 people attending, others had closer to 40. It was really interesting seeing the different church cultures in such short distance!

After walk the walls (and a few days of recovery) I served at a Holiday club that one of my local churches was putting on in Bromley. This is similar to a Vacation Bible School we would do in the States. I spent two mornings passing out fliers on the high street. Then 3 days serving at the actual event which was manic! It was Minion themed, and there were SO MANY KIDS! To my knowledge, most of the families were not involved with church. We had many craft options for kids to choose between, loud music, a bible story time, and drinks and snacks afterwards. There were many people from the church involved who were engaging with parents throughout the week. My main job was supervising a craft table, and assisting kids who needed help with the difficult tasks of gluing and sticking!

In the beginning of August, my fellow intern and myself were sent into one of the secondary schools in our area. Secondary school is for young people between the ages of 11 and 16. So it is similar to middle school and high school. This was a Church of England school, which means Christian affiliation is okay, but not mandatory. They were running a transition week for the incoming 11 year old students, giving them a chance to get used to the school and to new classmates before school starts in Autumn. We were asked to run morning worship at the beginning of each day for two weeks. So we were given slide shows and themes for each day. We prepared a short talk for each days theme, such as letting things go, being kind, and facing challenges. We subtly related these themes to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. After our talk, we had an art/discussion activity that related to our topic. It was a lot of fun! There was about 100 students in total. It was new for me to lead so many students in that type of context, and I really enjoyed it!

At the end of August was the legendary SOUL SURVIVOR. This is a well known camp out that I have been hearing about since BEFORE I arrived in January! Our youth group joined with another youth group from one of the local churches. All together there was about 30 of us on our campsite, and about 9,000 in total on the camp ground. It was huge! There was a GIANT tent set up that fit over 10,000 people in it, plus a stage. It was incredibly impressive. We were there a total of 6 days. On the first night, three of our youth became Christians for the first time, which was a very exciting way to start out the week! Each day was filled with seminars, worship and prayer sessions, and many events to keep the youth going. I was able to get to know the youth a lot more, and have some really good conversations with them about things they were stressing about, about their faith, and about being a Christian. By the end of the week we were all exhausted, but it was a really great time!

As we returned to Bromley, the last two German interns were flying home. It was very sad saying goodbye! So I am officially the sole intern left. But, Sublime will be receiving six new German interns in the beginning of September, one of which I will be working very closely with. I am officially "the old intern", but it will be nice being able to show the new guys how everything works, and help them get adjusted to England.

A photo of most of our group at Soul Survivor, saying goodbye to Yee-Sol!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Halfway Through

I am now about halfway through my internship. The first half has flown by, and I am sure the second half will be even quicker. It seems like so much has happened since I first arrived in England back in January. I have made countless friends. I have adjusted to a new culture, accent, family, church, food... The list is endless. I have had moments of feeling completely lost, as well as moments feeling completely at home in this foreign land. I have worked on countless projects through the churches and Sublime, some of which I have began to see the outcome of. I have served probably over 1000 cups of coffee and tea, and washed probably over 2000 mugs.

Now that I feel I am fully adjusted, I am determined to make the most of the rest of my internship. The youth at my church are now at a point where they know me, and they actually talk with me. Over the summer months we have a few youth events and camp trips, during which I am going to try to take on a role of trying to encourage them and build them up in their faith. I have also begin to do some personal studies to begin to learn more in depth about the Bible, and different styles of Christianity.

As summer approaches, all the interns I have become close to this year will be going home. As they are preparing to go, I can feel my eagerness for home to grow as well. There is so much I miss from home, and can't wait to return to. With so much happening back home that I am missing, I have moments of homesickness. There are many things I wish I could be home for, such as weddings I am missing, babies being born, and also just the everyday events in people's lives that I have missed. But I know I will be home soon enough, and God has me in England for the next 5 months for a reason. And I am excited to see what He has planned for this time!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


I am on my way back to England after a three day adventure in Ireland with two other (awesome) GEM interns. We decided to use some of our holiday time to travel together, and what better place than right across the way to Ireland!

These are two girls who I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know during our departure training in January. Since then, we have been able to stay connected through Facebook, as well as the GEM intern reunion we had in London in April.

It has amazed all three of us how much has happened in the past 5 months. We have all experienced trials, excitement, and how incredible God is. Even though our placements and our experiences have been different than each other's, we were able to once again connect with each other, and encourage and share with one another while exploring Dublin.

Our trip was short, but so full! We landed in Ireland on Wednesday afternoon, and the adventures began right away. After getting to the city centre, we stopped for a late lunch at one of the many pubs. Our waiter was hilarious. Due to the fact that we are all on an interns budget, we ordered tap water with our lunch. The waiter (as well as a few people siting near us) gave us a hard time for ordering water (not beer or cider) in Dublin. So my friend made a joke saying if we could have a drink for free, we wouldn't mind it. The next thing we know, our waiter brings each of us a half pint of cider FOR FREE! It was a hilarious way to start off our journey.

The people in Ireland are so friendly. Everywhere we went, we were greeted with smiles and conversations. An Irish lad came and sat with us after his dog ran up to us. And for the next hour we all chatted about Irish culture, why we are in Ireland, and what we are doing in the UK, as well as constant joking around and laughing. During our tour at the Guinness factory, we sat with a German couple also on holiday, and had similar conversation with them for about 30 minutes. Almost everywhere we went, we made friends with the people around us. 

The atmosphere was so different to England. When I walk around in England, people will avoid even making eye contact with others. It was a breath of fresh air for all of us. And it made our three days of holiday an opportunity to represent Christ in a casual way with the people we came across. During each of our conversations, we could tell them how we met through GEM, and about the church and community work we do in England. Even though we may not have been intentionally trying to build up long term friendships or trying to convert people, the three of us prayed that the people we came across saw something in us, that will spark something in them.

Ireland has been my favorite country I have visited yet. The people were great, and we stayed in a home right next to Howth (pronounced Hoet) , a beautiful beach town right outside of Dublin. I really loved it. I feel like Ireland would be such a wonderful place to serve, where you can so quickly connect with the people in friendships.

Now I am on the flight back to England. And I am so ready to be back at my placement after a few weeks of being in a wacky schedule because of events, taking time off to be with my parents, and this trip to Ireland. It will be nice to be back to my normal daily groove at my church and with Sublime.

Please keep me in your prayers, as I have recently acquired information that requires discernment and confidence. I am also trying to know God in a deeper way through biblical truth.

Me in Howth at sunset our first night.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Spring has come to England! I have been enjoying sunshine far more than I thought would be possible in this rainy part of the world! The temperature hasn't passed 70, but I am still so grateful for not having to be in my jacket constantly! Life here is feeling a lot more like normal life than I expected it would. I am kept busy with routine weeks of helping at the churches and Sublime. I have started to miss having friends close by. Plus, I have been craving REAL Mexican food for about 2 months now...

Despite the very mild homesickness, I am still loving my role here in London. I am beginning to realize that what I am doing is actually more significant to those around me than I previously thought. I am caught between the two extremes of trying not to get a big head about what I do, and acknowledging that God has made me to be an important person in His plan. I want to remain humble, but I need to learn that God has created me to be significant, and that He can use ME to make a difference in the people around me. My leaders here have been so encouraging, and they regularly compliment my work and the qualities I possess. Yet, I always feel uncomfortable when they do this, or when anyone does this.

This week I began reading The Supernatural Ways of Royalty, by Kris Vallotton and Bill Johnson. It is on our "homework" list from Sublime. Within the first 30 pages I was on the verge of tears as I read about how feeling insignificant is damaging to the ministry God calls us to do as Christians. I am beginning to see how true this is in my own life, and how I have acted poorly because of it. Not only here in London, but in all parts of my life. I still don't have it all figured out, and I still have another 200 pages to go in this book! But even just realizing that this in an area I need to be working on is really eye opening! Though it is going to be a difficult road, I am excited for this challenge of realizing more of what my identity in Christ is. I want to completely give myself to God for His purpose. And that means dealing with stuff that I otherwise wouldn't acknowledge as a problem!

I have many events coming up with my home church and Sublime! I will hopefully be posting more updates with the specifics of the events as they happen! Please be praying for all the summer events we are in the midst of planning, and for God to continue to strengthen and equip our team!