Obedience is key for me as a believer.
Obedience took us as a family thousands of miles to Central Asia for many years and obedience kept us at the frontline when we had to return home. Obedience moved us to church leadership and obedience moved us on to where we are now, which is right down the end of the country in Penzance, forming missional communities.
To be honest I had my doubts about coming here, I always found the little streets and cottages quite claustrophobic and I’m a wide open space kind of girl! But I prayed about this too and felt that God was saying “I want you to help make the closed and small into wide open spaces.”
So off we went, packed it all up (again) and came down. Our plan had been to lie low for a while; with a new job (I’m a primary teacher part time) and a child with special needs, my time is pretty packed without adding in ministry stuff. But God had other ideas and through a dream and a God encounter we ended up borrowing a bus from Creation Fest and spending a day in the local secondary school and running a skate comp in the town. It was a blessed day, so many people heard about the life giver, the amazing God man that we follow and so many kids enjoyed the comp, I have lost count of he number of times we have been asked when are we doing another.
The local paper ran a story about us entitled “skating for God” and all was good in the world! So, a couple of months later we decided to borrow the bus again and do a two week stint where we would pray in different towns and reach out to people in different places, for example, giving out chocolate and ‘Sorted’ magazine to Dad’s on Father’s Day and going into school again. The two weeks went well, although in our enthusiasm we had planned a bit too much in and were exhausted, again our days in school were the highlights with so much interest in spiritual things.
Until the last night.
The last evening we were in a local park, we did the same as other nights were we had a question pinned up, that evening was “If you could ask God for one thing what would it be?” And we had games going and were giving out snacks and drinks. All was going well and many people came and chatted about all sorts of stuff. However, the next morning we had a reporter get in touch as apparently we had been on the park in a van blackmailing children with doughnuts! I wrote back to her stating that I didn’t know about any criticism, and also telling her our credentials, all the safeguarding stuff and the truth about what we had been doing for the two weeks. By that evening a badly spelled and hurriedly written article appeared online in the local paper with a photo stolen off a website of my husband driving the bus. It missed out all the important child protection information I had written and was penned in such a way as to inflame. On the Thursday it went to the local paper and the Daily Mail online. It was stressful, it was hurtful. It appears that an unaccompanied child who had been given a doughnut – with no coercion! – had gone home and told his Mum about the “van”. She had written emotionally on a closed Facebook page which had inflamed quickly and it’s here the reporter had seen the comments.
So why do we bother? Why do we spend our time and our money to bless others? Why do I exhaust myself when actually I have enough on my plate without adding in mission? Why do we run the risk of being maligned and shunned?
It’s all about love.
Paul says in 2 Cor 5 “For Christ’s love compels us”. And this is the bottom line. We are called to love. We are called to bring good news. We are called to speak life into lives. If Christ is life in all its fullness for me then how can I truly say I love, and yet withhold that knowledge from others? How can I stay silent and claim to love? Obedience and love go hand in hand, for Christ’s love compels me.