Thursday 19 November 2015

Tools for evangelism

In my job I get to meet some wonderful people, doing amazing things. Many of the people I meet are unsung heroes, working behind the scenes to fulfil a calling God placed on their hearts and lives. Sometimes I meet whole organisations that don't shout about what they're doing, just quietly get on with it. Once such organisation is Christian Vision. Known as CV, this group, founded in the UK, has the task of helping us share the gospel using media and communications (hoorah!). They have developed many tools that use social media and the web to help churches and individual Christians in their journey to fulfilling the Great Commission. One of their latest projects is which is a databank of videos sharing how people have been touched by the love of Jesus. It's a tool for Christians who are serious about evangelism to use. Rather than just sharing it 'on their facebook wall' as is the most common way of using social media, users are encouraged to share the video directly with friends and contacts.

Part of the process is that the person receiving the video will not only see the video, but they will get a chance to respond/react to the video and 'do' something about it in their own lives. This tool enables people to hear the gospel directly. It's such a wonderful and powerful tool that I wholly endorse and think that there should be more initiatives like this! May God guide and bless those that work for CV and help many come to faith through these wonderful resources.

Monday 16 November 2015

Spinning for Freedom!

This weekend saw us 'spinning for freedom' at a local mall here in Cape Town. The event, which has become an annual tradition of S-Cape (the safe house for girls rescued from human trafficking), is an 8-hour spinathon.

Laid out in the middle of the shopping mall were 20 exercise bikes with a spinning instructor up front, egging on the participants. Every hour the teams change over so that throughout the day there is a constant buzz of the wheels.

The safe house which is run by S-Cape cannot publicize its location, for security reasons. Therefore to help raise funds and awareness of the work of the home, activities like the spinathon are held. Passers by could see videos, hear stories of the girls and and engage with the fight against modern-day slavery.

Whilst Becky wasn't spinning she was out there engaging with the shoppers and encouraging them to donate.

Although exhausting for the participants, many of whom are not avid gym members(!), it was worthwhile to be out there, shedding light on this dark problem. I'm proud to say that my team, Team Pete, completed the task and raised our ZAR 1500 contribution towards this worthy cause. Now I'm back at work on Monday and feeling delicate as my legs ache from the intense workout!

Even Joshua, who couldn't reach the seat, had a go at spinning, giving it a good 10-minutes with his boundless energy!

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Working with integrity

Reading Steve Moody's blog* today made me think of what it is to serve in missions. As iron sharpens iron, we are meant to be willing to challenge one another and break down the barriers that cause us to pretend "all is Ok". Steve referred to it as wearing make up which covers the blemishes but never actually heals or changes anything underneath. It's been like that since the fall: we have to somehow cover ourselves out of shame.

Right now, I am taking a greater role in mentoring staff at the Youth With A Mission campus here in South Africa. At the same time, I'm also being mentored by one of our elders. Verbally processing our disappointments, fears, shame and other areas of darkness in our lives with trusted believers gives us the ability to break it down and recognise that we cannot do this without Christ who strengthens us. It pushes us to lay everything down at the Cross and submit to Him. The longer I'm in missions, the more I realise that it's not about me, but about He who sent me, trained me, equipped me, and went before me. But as I shared with my mentee, things can get messy and difficult when we ask each other the difficult questions. It is a risk - a potential damaging of reputation and friendship. Yet a vital step in order to be more like Him.

Therefore, we've got to remember that the first and foremost person to be honest with is Jesus who is the author and perfecter of our faith. Steve sums it up nicely even he concludes with the difference between preserving reputation (=worldly) and preserving integrity (=godly). He also quotes Psalm 139:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

As Steve says: It assumes an attitude that does not work to preserve reputation but to preserve integrity.  It assumes that we will make mistakes, that we will go astray.  Such an attitude is the basis upon which forgiveness operates and the foundation of our reconciliation with God.

*Steve is the pastor of the wonderful Stopsley Baptist Church in Luton. He is often thought-provoking in his sermons. He is partly the reason why I am serving in missions today!

Thursday 5 November 2015

What's behind the lens

When it comes to presenting a story, we can easily be influenced by the story teller. Sometimes that's easy to spot other times it can be a while lot more subtle. An experiment was carried out recently to explore the way in which photographers take portraits.

Once they get to know the story behind the person, it heavily influences how they take the photographs, giving them a great deal of power on how they present that person to the audience.

This shows us the great power that the media has on our opinions and our paradigms. This is especially true for famous people whom we have never met but invariably have an opinion about, usually based on what we've been told, or in many cases shown through edited videos and images.

It challenged me about the photographs and videos I select to present to others our work and the great power reach of us hold in this realm know of mass communication.