Annie Naish reports on two successful visits by the Lee Abbey Devon mission teams
What do bird seed, bowling, cake, mime and teddy bears all have in common? Well it might not be obvious, but these have all been essential ingredients of the recent Lee Abbey Mission Teams. As I write we have just returned from a fabulous week with the Chalke Valley Churches, near Salisbury, and a while back we had an amazing time with the parish church of Bartley Green, Birmingham. We have seen incredible blessing and experienced God at work, so let me share some of the highlights.
One purpose of our mission teams is to encourage and support the churches we visit in their on-going witness. In Bartley Green it was wonderful to share our faith in schools, taking lessons and being interviewed by media groups. Both staff and pupils responded positively to our involvement and it was such a privilege to be there, knowing that the local clergy had prepared the ground before us, and we pray will reap the harvest after us, by their faithful presence.
In the Chalke Valley we were a catalyst to draw people together from the 13 churches, and it was a delight to see God enabling a stronger unity to emerge throughout this joint mission week. We travelled 200 miles between villages and held 26 events in 17 different venues; praise God for the local people who organised, cooked, prayed and invited friends.
A regular component of our missions has become the cabaret with dinner followed by an entertaining mix of sketches and music. Church folk are encouraged to invite friends and the evening builds to present the gospel in a creative and engaging way. For the team involved these events are a dangerous adventure, you set off unsure what wild situations you are about to face, but at the end you have conquered fear and come through victorious. I have now been part of seven cabarets and each one has been special and unique. In Chalke Valley people were moved to tears both from laughter, at the beginning, and from the profound message of God’s love, at the end. We continue to pray that the gospel we have proclaimed would flourish and bear fruit.
Seeing the team members themselves step out in faith and take on scary challenges is always one of my highlights. On both missions people were taken out of their comfort zones to try new things such as singing, acting and speaking. At the beginning of the Chalke Valley week when I asked for someone to give a testimony, no one volunteered but by the end of the week when I asked, three of the team were keen to speak. I believe sharing the good news of Jesus Christ allows us to discover more of God’s love and power for ourselves; praise God for the impact these mission trips have had on all of us.
For me maybe the most exciting thing on our missions is knowing that we are sowing small seeds of the kingdom, which have potential for great things. Sometimes we have the privilege of seeing God’s power at work in individuals, and it was wonderful to pray with someone to know Christ a few days ago, but more and more I am learning to trust God for the growth and harvest, as we simply ‘share his saving love’.
Please pray for the work of the Mission Teams, and if you know somewhere where a team could visit, do get in touch with Annie at email@example.com.
Annie Naish Movement Missioner