“Quick” London update…
Sunday at Speakers Corner, we spoke to a lot of people. That’s why we were there. Apparently, every Sunday in Hyde Park, people gather there to talk abut politics, faith, and many other topics. Some people stood on ladders or step stools, others just stood in small groups to discuss. Some yelled, belittled, insulted, and interrupted. Others passed out information on their beliefs or wore signs.
Most of the faith talk was Christian vs. Muslim and much of that was heated. Before Women’s Development, I ran from conflict. I hid from it. I avoided it at all costs. But now I know the difference between conflict and direct communication and also see the value in pushing through some conflicts. Even so, I still did not expect to engage with anyone at Speakers Corner. God had other plans.
I spoke to an atheist man who insisted that faith was nothing and logic was everything. He was tall and well dressed, and spat bits of chip in my face as he spoke. Though he dismissed me as a silly girl, I was able to share several truths with him: God created me, He did so to glorify himself, I exist to glorify God, and God has revealed this and other truths to me through his Word. Sharing these things with such an ardent atheist was a huge victory for me, as I rarely declare the Gospel to anyone but believers because of fear. My team members also had conversations about their faith, mostly dispelling falsehoods or misconceptions about Christianity.
Monday was a training day. We had two long sessions in evangelism and two long sessions about Islam. My hand ached at the end of the day from all of the note-taking I did. Great teaching. For lunch, we all wanted to get some fresh air, so we walked down the street for fish and chips. It was incredible! SO much better than what we get at home! And I also discovered a new love… ginger beer! This non-alcoholic beverage is refreshing and has a bite. I’m a fan.
Tuesday morning included some practical training for the day ahead, and then we drove to a nearby neighborhood. We set up a book table with several Bibles and Christian books. Most were in English, but we also had books in Farsi, Arabic, and Somalian. In the US, I’d walk right by something like this, but here, people just walk up and start talking to you about the books. We also passed out Christian tracts– another thing that I’d walk right by in the US. I never take something someone tries to hand me in the street. I go around them or hold my hand up in a stopping motion and walk faster. Thus, I was extremely hesitant to pass out tracts. But I was wrong again– people not only take them, they stop and talk to you about them.
I was paired with Tiffany for these activities. We had a blast and met some really sweet people. Tiffany did have one encounter where a woman was quite angry, but she handled it with kindness and grace. What I loved about working with Tiffany was seeing how she will talk to anyone and has no fear about bringing up her faith and asking someone else about theirs. Her fearlessness was a blessing, and definitely helped me to do these activities that seem strange to me.
One girl in my group was able to sit with a woman and share the entire Gospel with her. Most of us could see conversation happening and we’re able to pray for them as it was taking place. One major focus this year was to be able to declare the Gospel, and we celebrated this beautiful victory together!
Today, we once again began with training– our final Islam session. Then, we set out to meet people– what an assignment! Amanda, Jami, and I went to the mall. There, we met two women who we talked to for over an hour. I don’t talk to strangers at home unless they’re in customer service, usually assuming that people don’t want to be disturbed. But the ladies we sat down next to at the coffee shop and began to speak with enjoyed talking to us as much as we enjoyed them. We’re hoping they will join us on Friday in the park– please pray that they join us!
Tomorrow is our day off. Having already been to London, I have no need to see everything. I think I’m just tagging along with friends, more eager to spend some sweet time with them than anything else. These ladies and I have shared life for the past year. It’s been a tough and beautiful journey, and they have blessed me beyond measure.
Please pray for our safety and fellowship tomorrow. Pray for our park ministry on Friday– that we would be bold in conversation and that the kids who come would have a great time. Pray for safe travels as we return on Saturday. Thank you for partnering with me in prayer :)