We recently headed up a small group from Hemel Hempstead Community Church that flew to the town of Znojmo in the Czech Republic.
Our mission was to assist and support a local church with their annual summer English Camp.
Now, although the camp was hosted by a church, we had been asked to refrain from sharing Jesus openly – after all, those attending were paying to improve their English and not for a week of evangelism from a group of eager-believers!
This was hard for the team. We all struggled at some point (gladly, all at different times) because none of us were really passionate about teaching English – what we really wanted to do was share our Father-God’s love.
A central part of our daily discipline was to meet as a team and quietly listen for God’s heart concerning us as individuals, a team, and those attending the school. It was during one of these times that I wrote this in my journal:
“I saw a master craftsman at work. He was intensely – lovingly focussed upon his work. He was deliberate and slow – taking extreme care to perfect his work. I sensed that this was God at work – perfecting his love in us… I also sensed that God is desiring quality. It’s about the quality of his love in us but it is also about the quality of the love we share.
He wants us to love deliberately – taking extreme care and not to hurry. We are being made into master-craftsmen. Craftsmen of his love at work within us and the perfect expression of that love.”
Corinthians 13:13 says, ‘… Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly…’
So that’s what we tried to do every day – teach English diligently and love extravagantly, honing our master-craftsman skills.
As the week went on the change in the atmosphere around the school was staggering and God’s presence was tangible. As we spoke tears would begin to flow amongst the students – they didn’t know what was happening, but they were feeling the presence of their Father-God as he moved around the group with his perfect love.
And the students began to change – there was a freedom for heart-connection and we saw defensive walls begin to crumble as love (God) did his work.
It all sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But God is love and in His presence hearts are changed. Sometimes words can just get in the way – especially when we don’t even share a common spoken language. I guess, love is the one truly common international language.
Recently a quotation from Danny Silk was posted on my Facebook wall, it says:
“Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment and replaces it with freedom and safety.”
This was so true in our experience. A we loved in seemingly small and often imperceptible ways a culture of love was established in which those present started to feel safe, valued and free.
Come the end of school we were able to openly pray and bless each student and one chose to become a follower of Jesus right then!
Following the camp a mother called the organiser to ask, ‘what happened to my daughter, she has returned changed?… she says that she knows that Jesus loves her!’
And on the following Sunday three students visited the church for the very first time to learn more about this wonderful God that loves us all so lavishly.
“… you can release the most potent power known in the cosmos”
It doesn’t matter who you are or what abilities and talents you may, or may not, have – you can release the most potent power known in the cosmos today – yes, you can do it, by simply loving the one in front of you wherever you are!
We recommend that you read 1 Corinthians 13 in as many bible translations that you can find (www.biblegateway.com is a good resource) and then meditate with God on the definitions of love that you find. Together, with your heavenly father, explore answers to this question:
How can I apply that love in my life today… and every day?