A New Year, a new thankful you

Sarah White

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

How are you feeling right now? Are you tired after the New Year’s celebrations? Stuffed happily full of festive treats? Expectant for the year ahead? Or perhaps disappointed that you haven’t had the magical ‘zing’ you crave at the start of a New Year?

I’m feeling all of the above. It’s quite conflicting!

On the way to work this morning, radio stations asked what our New Year’s resolutions were. They even wondered if anyone had already broken theirs! It can start to feel like the renewal of the New Year is short-term; perhaps a momentary, fleeting notion that fades throughout January and February.

At the end of the year, many people took to social media to reflect, post statuses about the year gone and share what they’re looking forward to in 2018. Some were grateful, some were expectant and others revealed that they’d really struggled in 2017.

Whether you’re going through a storm or are in a peaceful place, it’s important to reflect, be honest and thank God. In Colossians 3, we read about how we are to ‘‘do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” This verse has been a fresh reminder and has helped me put the New Year into perspective. Everything I do (in word or action) should be done in thankfulness to Jesus. For he allows all things to work together for my good (Romans 8:28).

Reflection shouldn’t just be over the New Year period. It should be part of our routine. So, reflect. Remember. Recognise Christ in your life. Present your requests to God by prayer and petition (Philippians 4:6). Be thankful and make it daily. Not just a status on New Year’s Eve.

I’m going to choose be more thankful this year. A New Year and a new, thankful me.

 


Here are some resolution ideas for the year ahead. How will you choose to enrich your 2018?

  1. Read Scripture daily (give it a specific time in your routine).
  2. Create a blog for your reflections and to encourage others.
  3. Speak to your church leader about volunteer opportunities.
  4. Make a reading list for the year and stick to it. If you want to go deeper into understanding Scripture, why don’t you add our suggestions to your list?
  5. Keep a thankfulness diary. Take five minutes to note down answered prayers and moments you were thankful for during the day.

 

Sarah White is Marketing Assistant at Moorlands College.

Winter Variety 2017

Our Christchurch campus-based students recently took to the stage and treated us to singing, dancing, amusing music videos and the ultimate third-year performance at our end of term Winter Variety show.

Additionally, our humorous Christchurch academic staff team created this comedic video which was a great surprise to our students…

Student article: Moorlands College Israel Tour 2017

Above: Moorlands College students on the Israel Tour 2017 (Chris Humphries, pictured on the left.)


Have you ever wanted to visit Israel? A benefit of being a Moorlands College undergraduate student is the opportunity to visit Israel with lecturer Dr Chris Sinkinson. Chris Humphries (pictured) recently graduated from our BA in Applied Theology and is now studying on our MA in Applied Theology course. He shares his experiences of the tour in this latest blog post, focusing on the sights and how he sees them in light of scripture.

Postcards From The Promised Land by Christopher Humphries

A ten-day trip (to anywhere) is highly unlikely to permit a person to return home with a complete picture of where they have just been. But even ten days is enough to learn a great deal; for at least some preconceptions (and even prejudices) about a place to be dispelled; and despite its relentlessly frenetic itinerary, our visit to Israel this summer turned out to be such a time as that.

Above: Panorama of Jerusalem


On paper, it promised to be little more than a staccato series of diverse samples: bite-sized appetisers each calling for a fuller serving at a later date. Each day was to be filled with up to five different destinations: too many to do justice to any of them, surely! And yet (perhaps because of there having been so much preparation before the trip) these marked the beginning of something more far-reaching and profound. What follows is a part of that new understanding: a handful of reflective “literary snapshots” or, as I have called them, “Postcards from the Promised Land”.

Within The Walls: Along The Bustling Via Dolorosa

Above: The Kidron Valley

Above: The Mount of Olives


We were walking a route that Jesus walked: out of Jerusalem and over to Gethsemane across the Kidron Valley. Then, sitting peacefully on the Mount of Olives, gazing across to Jerusalem’s eastern wall, we heard the call go out for Friday prayers, jarring us out of our first century reverie. Thus drawn back to present realities, we walked back into the old city, its streets beginning to stir once more with life after their Friday rest. Burning bright sunlight gave way to shady cool; but the busy, narrow streets, flowing with people going this way and that, shops and shoppers strung out along them; the bright colours of the market stalls, the flashes of sunlight reaching down, the stalls arrayed along the way – the sights, the sounds, the smells – all so distracting and devoid of peace! How could the faithful ever enjoy a “spiritual” moment with all this around them?

Above: Streets waking up on a Friday evening


The answer, for me, as it turned out, depended not so much on requiring a particular kind of “spiritual moment” (as if there were only the “tranquil” one), but more on the emergence of profound moments when least expected. Although I loved walking through those characterful medieval streets in Old Jerusalem, I could not have felt much less conventionally “spiritual” (although I must add that I felt in no way separated from God – indeed, I was aware of an underlying joy being present throughout the entire visit). But a peaceful, meditative feeling? A so-called “mountain-top-experience”? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I later discovered something extraordinary, for consider: I was walking through streets in a city where Jesus walked, in a culture not so far removed from the one he knew, and as I did so, I began to realise that my experiences were like those of his. The noise and bustle, which so precluded tranquillity, instead provided something equally precious in their own way: authenticity. This was, for me, a step closer to the world in which he lived; something that brought alive anew his life, his works, and his teaching.

The Western Wall: Through Jerusalem by Night

Above: The Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque


My first visit to the Western Wall came as part of a largely unplanned walk out into the old city. It was at the end of only our first day, and we had been out exploring throughout all its sunlit hours – so wisdom counselled rest for the evening. But, excitement and curiosity said otherwise. A small group of us had already discussed the idea of going out, and that small group only grew as the moment of departure approached – so much so that we were, in the end, quite a crowd, breaking forth from the safety of the hotel. Across the road we went, through one of the ancient doorways in the medieval walls, and on into the mysteries of night-time Jerusalem. The night was seething with summer warmth, the streets thronging and vibrant. There were celebrations, music; a light-show on a synagogue, and so many people.

Above: The Western Wall Plaza


The Western Wall Plaza was therefore a fascinating contrast to all this merriment. Floodlit throughout, its night-time cradle was reached only through a metal-detector barrier. Overlooked by mosque and wall, it contained an air of threatening enchantment, though its expanse still bubbled with life. Donning a skull-cap (kindly donated), I walked across the plaza to stand before the wall. Resting my hand very gently against that ancient stone, I spoke to the same God as those around me, grateful for the freedom to pray a mere stone’s throw from where Yahweh once spoke to Abraham. An unplanned walk, an unanticipated stop, an unexpected blessing.

Walled Off Where Walls Began To Fall: Bethlehem

Above: The land around Bethlehem


Bethlehem! Birthplace of the Messiah – the Christ: the one who would deliver the Lord’s people from oppression and inaugurate a new age: the Kingdom of God.

Bethlehem! Where walls divide people from people: a place where (seemingly) the Lord’s people oppress by means indistinguishable from their ancient foes. How can this be? Why is it so? What went wrong (and how to put it right)?

By the time we had reached the place where Jesus had entered the world, even the handful of days in Jerusalem had been enough for me to realise that, no matter what I may encounter in Bethlehem, there was no easy solution. A continuous blending of observation with conversation had impressed upon me that the problem was complex. But one thing I knew: regardless of what I saw (whether walls and guard towers daubed with graffiti, or a severed town cut off from its land), the origin of that problem lay elsewhere, and any lasting solution would require that problem to be solved first, before real change could be effected. In the meantime, I also knew that no individual need accept what may be wrong, nor need they forget what once took place here. Rather, the fact of Jesus’ birth could scarcely be more vivid for the visitor to Bethlehem; and the need for the one who can reconcile God with humanity scarcely more evident.

Above: The separation barrier at Bethlehem


The Church of the Nativity lies clothed in swaddling-scaffold, courtesy of the United Nations and countless years of campaigning. The eyes of the world are drawn by Banksy’s brilliant art to the plight of the beleaguered Palestinians, while faithful Palestinian Christians in their dwindling numbers find their own cause missed by all (or so it seems). It is a place where despair finds easy expression, for in some ways it typifies the rift in society; the gulf between peoples whose faith forbids the sharing of God’s earth one with the other. Can both be right? (Surely not!) Would that meeker souls would one day prevail and receive the true peace-maker! On that day, true peace would come to that little town of Bethlehem.

By the middle of the next morning, we were gone; but Bethlehem was not gone from our hearts. Its essential work done, we took with us a memory, and a stronger resolve to see the hearts of people changed and lives made better. I pray that carried away in every pilgrim’s heart will be a longing to see that dream become reality.

Above: Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee


The City on a Hill

It had been an almost indescribably busy day. That morning we had left Bethlehem, skirting the separation wall as we went; making our way east across to Jericho. And there, down on the plains of the Jordan Valley, we strode out towards Tell es-Sultan while temperatures soared to forty-six degrees Celsius – marvelling at ten-thousand-year-old towers in ancient Jericho. We had swum in hot springs at Sakhne, deliciously and ironically refreshing in contrast to the searing air. And then we were straight back in the ancient world, climbing the tell at Beit She’an. Drenched in heat, we gazed out over the earthquake-torn vista of Roman Scythopolis below, remembering that, a millennium before the Romans, it was there on these walls that the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung by the Philistines. But, no sooner had we begun to drink it all in than we were off on the coach again, transported from that ancient layer-cake to a contemporary Jewish supermarket where, suddenly, we were playing guessing-games with Hebrew labels in our attempts to buy food for the following days of exploration.

You can probably imagine how we felt as our coach drew up to our hotel that evening – our third in three nights. But tiredness vanished as we saw, by the light of a glowing sunset, the beautiful rooms that were to be our home by the Sea of Galilee. After a shower and dinner, even though night had fallen, a few of us went off exploring, so eager were we to see the sea where Jesus lived. Off into the seething semi-lit darkness we walked, down to the beach and out along a stone pier, to a place where we could begin to take in our sublime surroundings. The temperature was hovering around thirty-degrees. Lights twinkled mysteriously out across the water on the Golan Heights. To our right, beyond a rocky silhouette, perched high on a hill, was the breath-taking spectacle of Tiberias: pre-eminent town of Galilee in both first and twenty first centuries, a fairy-light tablecloth splayed out over the promontory whose sparkling reflections in the lake below were enchanting in the moonlight. Our hotel was at Nof Ginosar, not a name that meant anything to me, but recognition became easier when “Ginosar” became “Gennesaret”, and “Gennesaret”, “Kinnereth.” In Kinnereth one finds oneself back with Moses and Joshua; while at Gennesaret one is right there in Galilee with Jesus. What a place to stay!

Above: Mount Hermon


Fresh Hope from God: Revelation in a Psalm

One Sunday morning, not long after our return, I was sitting in church, and the sermon that morning was inspired by Psalm 42. The Bible reading was, appropriately, the words of the Psalm: familiar words which, to me, though still meaningful, had somehow lost their impact because of that very familiarity. So perhaps it was that expectation of the familiar that made me almost jump when the reader reached the sixth and seventh verses:

6My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.
7Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

Above: Tel Dan Banias Suspended Trail


As soon as I heard the words: the mention of Hermon, the roar of the waterfalls – I found myself transported immediately back to Tel Dan, seeing in my mind that same waterfall, remembering the sight of wave-upon-wave; and feeling the longing in the psalmist’s heart for the land of promise. It may sound trite, inconsequential – a resonance beyond need of reference; but for me it was not. I revisited the Psalm with renewed interest, and found that the phrase “deep calls to deep” (something I had always found perplexing) conveyed, in poetic Hebrew, the sense of waves being so close together they could call out to each other: a relentless succession of onslaughts threatening to overwhelm the poor psalmist. And yet that same symbol of torment was drawn from a precious memory of the land the Lord himself had given them, tangible evidence of his faithfulness. It was a means of reminding Israel of his power, of his willingness to forgive, and, ultimately, of his desire to deliver them from disaster.

Above: Nimrod Fortress overlooking the Golan Heights


A place worth visiting

Before leaving for Israel, I had decided (gently but firmly) not to have any great expectations. I had heard from other people that visitors to holy sites were often met instead by unholy sights: an unwelcome cacophony of trinket sellers hoping to persuade the pious to make a purchase. But were not busy, bustling market places just as much a part of Jesus’ life as any quiet sanctuary? Did not he also have to seek out quiet places for himself? For such is real life, and it was into this real world that he came. As Christians, we speak often of “The Word made Flesh”, a vivid description of God become fully human: but was that human God not also an inhabitant of the human world? The sun and sand, the lakes and light: would these not be as he had seen and felt them? And the towns and cities: were they not frequently noisy, smelly and overwhelming for him too? For me, this Palestine was therefore a real reflection of what it might have been for him: a destination which was, more than anything else, genuine. The fact that I had also experienced profound moments of surprising peace – at times and places unexpected – was a blessing over and above those already received. I had come to a land I had fallen in love with; an unforgettable place I hope one day to visit again.

Above: And to conclude, a few of those in Chris’ Biblical Backgrounds module


 

Graduate article: Physicist to published theologian

Myles MacBean, a graduate from our Class of 2016, shares his testimony and how God has led him to become a published author. 

Stepping out with God

In the last few months I have often been asked how I got from being a physicist to being a ‘published theologian’, and the honest answer would be that only the Lord really knows!

God certainly gave me a character that meant from an early age I loved the challenge and fulfilment of making things. As a schoolboy, it was making plastic model aircraft. In my twenties as a physicist, it was making microscopic quantum electronic devices. In my thirties, it was creating new-fangled internet services. In my forties, it was engaging the imagination of families around the world as I helped make Disney’s digital entertainment and run Disney’s online business.

God also chose to break into my life in a very personal way in my late teens, to disciple me especially through my local Youth Fellowship and through Scripture Union Scotland, and to continue shaping me through church leadership roles from a relatively young age. And, looking back, I can recognise that God continued to shape traits in me that worked across, and wove together, my professional and spiritual life: a gift for forming, equipping and releasing teams of people to excel; a fascination for the principles of communicating effectively, and a passion for simply making things happen.

But then, in 2012…crisis hit!  Looking back on that time in hindsight, I had not been listening carefully enough to God for a while and it took God putting me through a year of tribulation for me to listen. Overnight, a sweet-tasting and fulfilling career in industry turned to sand in my mouth until – in desperation – I renewed my surrender to God’s will.

Above: Myles’ cohort when studying his MA in Applied Theology with us at Moorlands College.


Quite quickly this led me to Moorlands College, as I gave up business life and made the time for theology studies. Despite my concern that as a scientist and business man I had never written a humanities style academic essay in my life, the Moorlands College approach to the MA in Applied Theology was a perfect match for me. Its modular structure gives the mature believer with academic/professional experience the time to seek future ministry opportunities while also ‘retraining’ in theology; the ‘applied theology’ approach encourages such students to bring all their professional, life and church experience to bare in a very beneficial way; and the focus on ‘practice’ allows us to immediately use what we learn at Moorlands in our ministry as we fit all our years of experience within new theological frameworks.

This academically rigorous, practical theological grounding I received at Moorlands certainly gave my wife and I additional confidence as we stepped out with God anew in 2014 and – in a move that turned out to be a greater surprise to us than our friends and family – end up on the mission field in Malawi with Zambesi Mission. Acting as Church Development Partners, for the last three years we have been able to deploy all our life-skills for the benefit of the church in Malawi while also learning so many things about ourselves, about God and about his world.

Above: Out in the mission field of Malawi


Here in Malawi, I have been able to further my Moorlands-encouraged passion in preaching and preacher training: carrying out field research for my MA dissertation on how best to create contextual, scalable and sustainable grassroots preacher training in sub-Saharan Africa and then – among other things – developing such a grassroots training program that is now rolling out across Malawi.

And so that is how a physicist gets to being a ‘published theologian’ – by stepping out with God! First I was able to combine a small piece of my Malawi field data with a piece of work I did for an MA assignment on preaching set by Chris Sinkinson and see it published in Evangelical Review of Theology. [1.] Then, encouraged by evaluation feedback from Ian Coffey, I have also recently completed reworking my dissertation into a book due for release by Apostolos Publishing in January 2018 [2.] and is available now for pre-order.

At the end of November 2017, Ruth and I return to the UK at the end of our three-year assignment. Please pray for us as we seek to discern how we should be stepping out with God next.

Above: Myles’ latest book, Preach the Word: Towards effective grassroots preacher training in sub-Saharan Africa, available for pre-order now.


You can find out more about Ruth and Myles’s time in Malawi, and follow them as they continue seeking to step out with God, by visiting their blog at www.steppingoutwithgod.com 

References

[1.] Myles MacBean, “The Homiletic Window: A model for reflective preaching praxis”, Evangelical Review of Theology, 41:3, 2017, 209-221.

[2.] Myles MacBean, Preach the Word: Towards effective grassroots preacher training in sub-Saharan Africa, London: Apostolos Publishing, 2018. (See http://www.apostolos-publishing.com/product/preach-the-word)

A Reformation for today?



On the anniversary marking the beginning of the Reformation, our Director of Postgraduate Studies, Chris Jack, celebrates the magnitude of what Luther set in motion, 500 years ago.

Over the months and decades that followed Luther’s actions in Wittenberg, he and his fellow reformers saw great change sweep through not only the Church, but all of Europe—theologically, politically, socially and culturally.

“Always reforming” was one of the Reformation’s watch words, and Chris wonders what Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the other reformers would think of the Church in our day and age. Was the reformers’ work complete, or would they encourage us to cultivate a new spirit of reformation in the Church today?

Student article: Serving in Croatia

Daniel Brooks, a second-year Moorlands College student, travelled to Croatia this summer to serve, lead and support the spiritual growth of its young people. Daniel shares his summer stories with us, reflecting on his experiences and the various mission opportunities that you too can get involved in.

My Summer in Croatia by Daniel Brooks

When you think of mission, what springs to mind? Is it a tribal un-developed village in Africa, or perhaps rather an urban slum in Guatemala? How about Croatia?

The country of Croatia perhaps isn’t the first place that comes to mind for a deprived area of the world that desperately needs aid. However, whilst it may appear to be on the surface to be doing just fine, it really is in need. The need that I am talking about however is spiritual need. Croatia, like the rest of the world, is desperately longing for something or someone that will fulfil, give hope, offer acceptance and deep unending love. The God of Christianity is the God we serve, and not only does He hand over those things to us through His will, He blesses us with so much more, His son Jesus Christ.

I am excited sitting here writing, as it means I get to share about this summer with all of you (obviously) fascinated readers. It brings me deep pleasure knowing that what happened this summer can be enjoyed and be challenging to more than just me.

It begins…

On 9 June, I embarked on what was to be the most compelling season of my life so far. In Western Croatia, there is a stunning region named Gorski Kotar. It’s a beautiful area of forests, mountains and rivers; at the end of which is the DPB House, which is partnered with Scripture Union and SEND International.  The house is led by an American couple, Steve and Jenny Meeker, who created and now run a program called Leadership Lab International (LLI). The program was created for 18–28 year olds to grow in their leadership skills.

Training

Before the summer camps for the young people began, we went through a process of four weeks of training. We learnt Applied Bible study methods with Michael Brent and went through the book of Romans (our book for all camp Bible studies). It was a real privilege, with the quality of learning being absolutely outstanding. We gained a deeper understanding of Romans and were practically equipped to teach Bible to young people.

All of this was especially useful considering the equipping that Moorlands College provided last year. Moorlands College complemented LLI perfectly, and the training received at Moorlands was the best bridge for working effectively at LLI. As a result, LLI has provided an even better bridge into my second year and most certainly for future ministry.

Additionally, lectures on outdoor adventure leadership proved to be vital to our leadership growth. We were given the opportunity to be selected and be trained by experts in either rock climbing, archery (my sport) or canoeing. These sports were then the ones we taught to young people within camps.

Further teaching included leadership training, delving into cross cultural communication, covenant community, team development and more. Finally, a huge feature was our module on spiritual formation, getting to know God through fasting, prayer, worship, relationship and the Bible.

It was not only was it a privilege to serve on this Christ-centred team, but it was also a shock; we came together in such solidarity.

Camps

And so, after our training, the camps began!

I really fell in love with the camps the most. I started meeting with the kids at Missionary Kids Camp 1 (MK Camp)  and I realised how much I enjoy youth work and how huge my passion is to see young people transformed for the Gospel. Through both the two MK camps, International Camp and English Camp, I got to meet a huge number of young people and exceptional leaders. I am still blown away with how I was transformed and how God transformed the young people.

We would usually have devotional time, breakfast, lead a Bible study and our sport, have lunch, lead some form of game, eat dinner, lead worship, share testimonies and then finish with all sorts of activities in the evening. Each day usually started around 6:30am and finished around 11pm. For those of you thinking it could be easy… you’re wrong!

Testimonies

Here are a few stories which were clear highlights of the summer, and blessedly I have been given permission to share them by the individuals involved.

Martin came to our International Camp. His mother told us that Martin never comes out of his room, constantly plays computer games and doesn’t go and see his friends. She said, “We are not Christians but I just wanted Martin to do something this summer, we have never done anything like this.” Now, through the week of sports, Bible study and all the rest, Martin seemed to eagerly listen to what I was teaching through the week. One day after a talk on salvation in the evening, I found Martin outside by the bonfire sitting on a rock praying. My heart leapt when I saw that. When he had finished, I spoke with him and he conveyed how much he connected with the talk. Next morning in the Bible study, I asked him to pray, and he paused for about 10 seconds before finally saying he would do it. The next day, Martin volunteered to pray. Now, remember this is a non-Christian guy who had never been to anything like this. It soon reached the end of the week and his mum came to pick him up. Her face lit up when she saw Martin and I saw an expression of confusion on her face as he came closer. We told her about the week and she was just shocked at how Martin had changed. She then proceeded to say to me something I will never forget: “Croatians mean things when they say them. If you are ever in Croatia again, I want you to come stay with us, have our food and our drink and teach Martin more about God.”

At MK Camp 1 I got the honour and privilege of meeting a guy called Sidney. Through the week of getting to know Sid, we both quickly realised how similar we were and spent time sharing testimony and chatting about life together. It became apparent that mentoring Sid was a real option and so that happened at the end of the week. I soon found out that Sid’s brother, Bradie, was going to be at MK Camp 2. Sid told me a lot about him so I was ready for what made Bradie laugh and what his nicknames were. When he arrived, we instantly connected and it became a hilarious week because of Bradie and his other friends. After both MK Camps had finished, I got the amazing honour of being invited to spend Christmas with Bradie, Sid and their family because of the connection with the two guys.

There was also an amazing guy called Ely who, through one of the other camps, was constantly questioning Christianity. I remember one day he asked me to help him with a serious question he had. We both went over to a table-tennis table and started chatting about God. He described how he desired a deeper relationship with God, and kept asking how he went about doing that. It was absolutely incredible how God was working in that guy’s life.

God used us as leaders so mightily and wonderfully for His purposes even though we are so incapable without Him. Transformation happened in my life which was a blessing enough, and then to be able to witness and partake in transformation of young people’s lives as well, simply put, blew my mind.

Community

One of the great parts of living at DPB was the community that was built. For those of you who have experienced good community before (whether in a Christian setting or not, whether at Moorlands College or wherever it might be) you know that it can be a double-edged sword of blessings and pains. I don’t overstate when I say this, but I can recall only a couple of minor disagreements over the whole summer, which sounds impossible, but I am being entirely honest. The community we got to build with each of us students, with staff, mentors, the young people and their parents was pure joy. I really have never experienced anything like it.

Slovenia SEND conference

A very special lady named Sherri, one of our Camp Directors for MK Camp,  approached me one day and asked if I was free between two particular dates in August to help lead youth work at a conference in Slovenia, Lake Bled, for SEND International. In this summer, I had planned one free week to travel in between the end of LLI and the heading onto my final camp at Sirač. Funnily enough, the date she suggested was in that free week!

There was many things that rushed through my mind at that point, and she said to go and pray about it. Eventually I came back to her, and started pointing out I wouldn’t have enough money, I’d be too tired, and questioned how I’d sort lifts to Slovenia and back. She quickly stopped me and solved all those problems in about five minutes and it ended up going ahead!

The conference itself lasted four days. My role was to help a lady called Teena (an absolute legend) with MK care for the week whilst the adults had their conference. Ironically, and hilariously, I knew most of the group from MK camps earlier in the summer so I got to cement those relationships further. It truly was a blessed few days which I was honoured more than I have ever been in my life. I did the clicker for the worship, a small menial task, but got an applause for it from about 100 missionaries at the end of the conference. At the last dinner time asked for the one Englishman (me) in the room to come up and they gave me a gift bag to thank me for serving at the conference. My favourite part was being able to speak to missionaries at breakfast, lunch and dinner and get insight on mission from every angle possible—it was incredible.

Camp Sirač 2017

To finish up the epic summer, it had to end where it all began five years ago for me, in Sirač for my seventh visit. The Baptist Church in the village has been partnered with my home church The Forge for almost 20 years, and have run a kids camp for all that time every year. After arriving back from Slovenia, I came to Sirač and it was safe to say, it was the most successful camp we have had in the last five years at least. We saw as many as 35 kids or more each day for five days of camp which is amazing considering that the camp is run in a fairly small village. God did some very special things, and those who came over were an incredible testimony to the community of who God is.

Future

It’s safe to say that this summer was both everything I expected and also everything I wasn’t expecting! I have described it to most people like it has been three years worth of growth and change compacted into three months. Leadership Lab International, Slovenia SEND Conference and Camp Sirač have been three outstanding opportunities that God was so awesome to offer me this summer. The moments and memories I have I will treasure forever, and will build on. I somehow received multiple offers for different future options in Croatia and elsewhere as a result of LLI. If you would join me in praying for that future wherever that may be, I would be forever indebted to you.

Opportunities for you

Now, it’s great that you managed to make your way through all of these ramblings of mine, but what is the significance of all of this to you? In early February 2018, Steve Meeker, the leader of Leadership Lab International and DPB House, will be coming to England and also visiting Moorlands College for two days. In this time, Steve will be available for any questions on the topic of joining LLI for a season just as I did this summer, or alternatively for a Block Placement in third year. For now, be praying, and considering if you want to seek calling in areas such as mission, leadership, youth work, outdoor ministry or camp ministry overseas.

If you have any queries about anything related to this, please come speak with me or visit the LLI website. Mission Croatia this summer has allowed me to discover my calling and be a part of something far greater than me—the mighty and unbelievable works of God’s hands.

Special Thanks

Thank you to the LLI students: Sung Kyung, Klajvert, Emma, Siret, Rachel, Burdeen and Megan.

A ridiculously large amount of gratitude has to go to the staff and volunteers who made this summer one to always cherish and remember: Marijana, Steve, Jenny, Tamara, Nate, Mia, Jonathan, Alison, Randy, Katie, Ash, Marissa, Uriah, Anja, Mitch, Sherri, Susan, David and more.

MK Campers, International Campers, English Campers, the biggest thanks to you, you know who you are.

Daniel is a second-year Moorlands College campus-based student.