Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Art is a Universal Language

Sweden was the first place where we were faced with a language barrier. The first few days were frustrating for the team as we had to rely on a handful of translators to help us communicate. As an artist, I knew I (Krista) had to get creative.  God spoke to me. Simply, yet powerfully. Draw a picture. Everyone in the world understands a picture. Art is a common language no matter where you are from. I took that message and ran with it.

Four points

While visiting a church near London (United Kingdom), I had met a man with four pins on his hat. These four pins included:
  1. a heart = God loves us
  2. an "X" = We all have sinned
  3. a cross = Jesus died for us
  4. a question mark "?" = Do you want a relationship with God?

( Entered information in journal as the man explained each symbol to me. )

Remembering this short, yet powerful message, I asked a translator to teach me these four phrases in Swedish. Although I would not be able to have a full conversation or answer all their questions, I could at least be able to tell the most important story in the world. Then I drew these four symbols boldly on my arm like a tattoo, in the hope that people would notice and initiate a conversation with.

When I shared this idea with the team, Carrie, Anna and Sara also drew the symbols on their arms. On a bus ride, Quentin asked loudly, "Krista, what is that on your arm?" I began to explain in English, he asked if I could say it in Swedish. This caught the attention (and amusement) of the other passengers as they listened to my poor Swedish, and many listened carefully to work out what I was trying to say! We started using that little role-play in many other places and opportunities.


Flowing with God's joy

As Ramadan ended on our last Friday night in Sweden, we decided to organize a Pancake Night at the town square. Free pancakes, coffee, tea and live music would be a great way to gather a crowd. Usually, Anna and I are the designated face painters in community outreach events, but as the Pancake Night was from 9pm to midnight, I had to find another way to initiate conversation.
Finding a few pieces of paper, a marker and two highlighters in my backpack, I began drawing the scene around me. The team was glowing with the joy of God, and it was like we were in a bubble of peace, safety and happiness. My first picture was of Sara serving the best pancakes I have ever eaten, while Du was playing guitar... everything was perfect. I used the highlighters to express the joy and Holy Spirit flowing out of them. As I continued to draw, onlookers asked why I was outlining the figures with glowing light. I told them it was the love and happiness we had from Jesus. When people asked if they could buy the pictures, I told them they could have the pictures for free, if only they listened to a short story.  I drew the "Four Points" symbols next to my signature on each picture. As Carrie started sharing the Four Points story, crowds of Muslims started gathering around.

( \First street sketch- Sara and Du. )

Great expectations

Carrie did a great job of being bold and sharing the word, and using her genuine and friendly spirit as a living example of Christ. Each team member played a major role in speaking to people and serving the community that night. We will take our new knowledge and use it at our next stop. God's work is always greater than our expectations. We won't let anything slow us down! God always has an answer, and he has everything under control!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Gud älskar oss

Here we are in good ole Sweden, it's a beautiful country that is in need
of Jesus. As you walk down the streets you can feel the emptiness of the
country. We are working with two churches here that have taken us in and
loved us. Some of the ministries we have been involved in is: kids and
youth clubs, a book table and any other church ministries.

Our first night in Sweden we had to travel twenty minutes or so to a
meeting a town over. Along the way we hit some road blocks. It was
raining, we got lost, the map was difficult to read, then our group got
separated. We had one map-so the group without a map was lost. The
adventure of Jaco, Anna, Krista an Sara starts here. We didn't know where
we were going but we decided that we would try to find the church. Since
we were lost we thought 'why not prayer walk' so off we went on our
prayer walk. While we were praying we saw this girl and asked her for
directions. She started talking with us and told us her name, lets call
her Judy. She is Swedish but has Kurdish background, seventeen and a
Muslim. As we were chatting with her we found out that she attended
church sometimes. Her mom has two bibles and that she is very friendly
and open to the gospel. Sara then asked her if she needed prayer for
anything and to our amazement she said 'YES.' She told us to prayer for
her family who was going through a very difficult time. When we finished
she told us that her heart felt flooded. We encouraged her to read the
book of Luke and pray to Jesus. We felt that even though we got lost and
our friends were worried about us, that the Lord sent us there to meet
her ' Divine Appointment'.
Yesterday was the kids club! We were all so excited to go to the park and
share with the children the Gospel. We did some face painting, games and
had a pretty cool clown to attract the kids. When it was time to start
the programme we only had about six kids. We didn't know what to expect
but we were like "Okay, Lord, please bring more children." We don't
mind sharing the gospel with six kids but we want more to hear about You.
Then to our amazement the parents started joining us with their kids. All
 these women are from Iran, Somali, Russia, India, Kurds and all of them
are muslims, or have some type of muslim background. In total we must
have had about thirty moms and kids together. They stayed for the whole
program and they told us that they enjoyed everything! We thank God so
much for bringing and keeping them through the whole show, that they got
the opportunity to hear he gospel and that afterwards they were asking
questions. We know that the seed that was planted in them and that God
will continue to water that seed!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Moving On and Praising God

After St Ives we went to OM Lifehope in England, for training. We spent the time at the base doing team building exercises, studied different religions, figured out our personalities and how we work as a team. We also went out into the community and did some ministry, including a book table and handing out tracts. We got the privilege of going to Quinta, England to learn presentation skills, as well as being able to go to WALES!

During our time at the base we got the opportunity to go and visit a church of a couple we met in St Ives. What a wonderful day! Some members of the church made lunch for us and completely spoiled us the whole day. The church welcomed us with open arms and hearts. We talked, sang, and shared with them what God has been during through our team over the last couple of weeks. God blessed us amazingly! After church, we went back to the couples home for dinner. We enjoyed a great game of golf and danced in the kitchen with the ladies. It was an incredible day and we thank God for putting them in our path. We were truly blessed that day!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

more photos from st ives.

just hanging out
getting ready for the kids club
Carrie and Anna telling a story to the kids
Sungkwang singing sons with the children

It's like living in a postcard.

The Harbor


The first night that we met the youth! (and we have LOVED them ever since.)

Quentin telling a bible story to the children.
We had fun visiting and singing at the nursing home.
Krista face painting for kids club at the church!

Our First Grand God Story!

God has been revealing himself in many miraculous ways...
This is Quentin's story:

On our last night in St. Ives, God did some amazing things. Here is just one of them:

On this particular Saturday night, the church we were partnering with was holding a musical production about the life of Simon Peter. Our team was helping out with various things during the night. I was welcoming people at the front door. During the production a man named Bob wandered in, drawn by the music that was floating out on to the street.
He came in, sat down and watched the musical unfold. Most of it was singing, with some acting and reading of the Bible. At some point Bob got up and left, and as he was leaving I was able to talk to him. He began to tell me many different things. He told me about his guilt in life and how he was struggling with many things, but also how he had felt a strange peace as he sat in the church. He told me he had cried while he was watching and something had really touched his heart.
As the conversation unfolded, I realised there was something very wrong with this man. He began to say very aggressive and demonic things. At points he was saying something was inside him making him do evil things. I told him that God could help him and that Jesus Christ had power and authority over satan and demons.  He began mocking me, getting very close to me and acting very aggressively.
I guided Bob a short distance away from the church, and began to pray for him. As I was praying for him, a team member and also a man from the church ‘appeared’. Talking to them later about why they came to that place at that time, the only explanation was that God miraculously directed them.
As the three of us prayed for Bob, God freed him from the evil spirit living in him! It was a very, very intense experience. We could hear the evil spirit, a horrible sound, and Bob was very violent as we held him and prayed in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then there was peace. Bob lay face down on the pavement and all strength left him. We continued to pray and after some time Bob got up, a completely different man. He was hugging and kissing us, in utter amazement at the feeling he was experiencing. He described feeling light and completely free. We spent some more time with him, trying to explain what had happened and the message of the Gospel. I left him with a gospel tract and we got his details from him in order that the church could follow him up.
 Please praise God for his mercy. Please pray that Bob would be protected from the powers of evil and would come to trust in Him who set him free that night, and Him who has set us free from sin, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Monday, 8 August 2011