LONDON 2016--Alan's wrap up....
So, London. Wow, talk about blindly hitting the bulls eye! I had just been on a mission trip to Guatemala a few weeks before my London trip, seeking an education in evangelism but finding my compassion as a result. I really had no idea what God was going to do through me in the UK. I was expecting and prepared to lead worship but my thought was that God would probably have a lot more for me to do in London. I was right.
I got to stay in West London. I had to do most of my travelling within London on my own via the bus, which I loved. My first official London mission trip experience was Youth club on Friday night, which is for high school kids. This was put on by the IPC’s World Harvest Mission (now called Serge) and is run by the church in Heston (New Life Masih Ghar). I learned a lot from the Serge people about just loving the people, the families, in Southall.
On Sunday, I met up with Oong Lee and Natalie Hughes at New City Church (NCC) in Shepherd’s Bush and prepared for our first worship service together later that evening. I immediately clicked with Oong and Natalie. They are amazing people, doing great work (humbly) and running a dynamic church that reaches out to the community directly and often. New City Church in Shepherd’s Bush is a small church but it is very pleasant – alive - and diverse in it’s congregation. I fit in there and enjoyed being in my home-church-away-from-home-church. I got to help lead worship at NCC on both Sundays I was in London. I came away inspired to expand my repetiore to include worship tunes from other cultures. Something that had never dawned on me before.
During the week I basically followed the Serge weekly plan. I got to attend a Serge meeting Monday morning, then participate in the book table that they set up on the high street in Southall. This is an amazing experience because many in Southall are immigrants to some degree and are pretty open about discussing their faith. I actually gained more confidence to share my faith on that Monday.
Tuesday was Kid’s club in the afternoon again at Masih Ghar and then Taco Tuesday dinner with the Cundalls. I love the Cundalls and I see exactly why God has them in a place like Southall. They are excellent yet humble and very kind. I came away from my time with them inspired spiritually, emotionally and musically. Wednesday morning Brent and I went to a prayer meeting with the Serge leadership. This one guy, Bob, has a dog that he brings with him everywhere, even prayer meetings, so I was loving that. The Cundalls have their dog in the UK with them, too, so I didn’t have to endure the typical dog withdrawal on this trip. After the morning prayer meeting Brent took me to Abbey Road which was just unbelievable. It was thrilling to be there! Unfortunately, George Martin had passed away the night before, so it was a sad day but not a tragic one, if that makes sense. Anyway, it was a ‘heavy’ day to be there and Brent is THE perfect guy to go to something like that with. At the end of the week there was Youth Club again and then another awesome Sunday at New City Church.
I’m feeling very strongly led to make my next step in my musical mission journey another trip to London. This time, if nothing else, with a culturally broader worship song repetiore. I’ve been praying about that and it feels right to explore a little more. That’s basically it. There’s a ton of musical work to do in London and I’m happy to help in the effort. I’m finding my voice. Gratefully,_A