The coastline is never ending and the roads wind for hours. The trip to Forster is a blur. It seems like every mission is the same – no matter how prepared we are, we never feel prepared enough. No matter how planned the week is, the plans will change. This is a new church experience for a lot of us. We’re headed to Coast Evangelical Church, a church plant based in a local school, in a town most known for holidays.
As we arrived, we had some time to kill and so we bought fish and chips and sat by the water for an hour. We joked that we should cancel mission and holiday instead, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. The water was begging to be swum in and a nap in the sun was more appealing than anything else.
Our first task was to set church up. One of the realities of church planting in schools is that you bump in and bump out each week, and the space is never truly your own. The time and care taken with this task showed something of this church. There’s no way church would be set up without the people who arrived long before the service to shuffle around and move chairs, and set music up, and make sure everything worked. It’s not a glamorous job, and people do it faithfully each week. That’s God’s people serving the saints, and it’s beautiful.
Four o’clock is the first church service of the day, and many of us find ourselves in kid’s church. It’s strange to be thrown into a ministry that for so many is familiar but it feels a little like you’re learning all over again. Different children, different place, and in the midst of the fumbling, you see what God is already doing in these kids. There’s sometimes the idea that mission teams swoop into a church like superheroes, but more time is spent learning than time spent teaching – and kid’s church is a time when God teaches you through His little people. Connor, a quiet kid with a constant smile, said with utter confidence, “God would do anything for us, because he loves us!”
And Connor summed up exactly what mission’s about. It’s about God, who did the unthinkable for us, because He loves us.
Six o’clock is another church service and we get to sing together, the whole team and the church, in a unity that can only be found through God’s goodness. Our voices blend together in harmony and it feels like you’re at home among God’s people, because you are at home with God’s people. No matter where we are, home can be found. Even when you’re in a town that feels like nothing but holidays should happen. We were reminded through the Word and Jimmy’s preaching that we need to tell people about Jesus, that we can have utter confidence in Christ because of who He is.
And today, we’re remembering the need. Paradise is seen at the waterfront but real life happens just below the surface. There is suffering and there is need and there are people who need Jesus more than anything else and there are people who love Jesus more than anyone else.
This week we’re not on holidays. We’re on mission.
Would you pray for us? Would you pray that our hearts would be changed as we see what God can do through His people? Would you pray that the hearts of many will be changed by what He does through His people and His Spirit, too?