I look now beyond the empty cross
You told us
You told us the day would come
But it was hard to believe
I still remember You telling us
That You were going to Your Father’s house
To prepare us rooms
I still remember. It was just the other day.
We were so confused,
I still remember your happy and satisfied face saying,
“You believe at last!” (John 16)
But then you said we’d be scattered
And would leave You alone
And then the garden came
And You said your soul was overwhelmed with sorrow
But still we couldn’t stay awake
Oh, I miss You, my friend!
How I miss You!
It was hard to see you depart
But now I finally realise,
As You said,
“We are in You, and You are in us.”
We loved You, because You loved us
See, I remember
I still remember
by Andréia Teixeira
We recently wrote a post for our partner, Soul Action's blog.. you can read it HERE
In Genesis 1.26 we read that the Lord created man in His image and likeness. And 1 John 4.16 says that God is love. So like God, we have love in our essence. Love is part of who we are. That’s why we always need relationships – friends, parents, family, etc. Relationships are the means through which we can express love, give and receive it. Unfortunately the world nowadays has been selling a wrong and distorted idea about what love really is. According to the world, love is that thing that makes you feel good by the end of the day, that causes you to feel the butterflies in your stomach or that makes you daydream. It is true that these symptoms can describe a romantic love in its initial stage. But real love goes way beyond this. It actually requires more of you than you thought.
1 Corinthians 13.4-7 talks about the qualities of love. If God created us in His image and He is love, He created us to be able to be all that as well. And that is awesome! We were created to have all those qualities coming naturally to us. But a long time ago sin came in and messed the whole thing up. And that’s why it doesn’t always come naturally; on the contrary, being patient with your siblings for example might require a lot of effort sometimes, doesn’t it? Well, God was well aware of that, and that’s why Jesus came and left the Holy Spirit with us so that through His strength we can be exactly how we were meant to be, just like Jesus, just like love Himself.
So it doesn’t come from just ourselves or our positive thinking or willpower. The strength to Live in Love like the Bible says comes from the Lord. And 1 John 4.16-17 also says that, “whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.”
Finally 1 John 3.1 says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” that’s our identity. We are dearly loved children of God, who were created by Him in His image, bearing His essence of love in us, and therefore living in love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
By Andreia :)
There are lots of eloquent arguments both in support of and in opposition to short term missions. This blog post is not going to discuss the research, opinions or theology of all that. Suffice it to say, we (at Just Go!) believe that if done thoughtfully and carefully, the impact of a cross cultural outreach can reach far beyond a few rosy memories, some pictures with 'poor' kids and a few thoughts on changing how we spend our money or time. I mean, if you want, give me a couple of hours another time and I'll rattle off the how and why of an effective trip and a whole bunch of reasons why I give my own time, money and effort to taking young people on such outreaches....
What I will say, is that BY FAR, most of my reasons have a name. A good number of my reasons are the individuals themselves who have joined a team, and who I have served and been privileged to journey with in this country and beyond. So here's one good reason for you, his name is Alex. He was 'one of the youth' and now he's 'one of the family'... He's written a few words about his experiences last summer...
RETURNING TO ‘NORMAL LIFE’ AFTER JUST GO!
I arrived home after Just Go! about 4 months ago. Since then I’ve been on a family holiday, fallen back into routine at my home church and gone back to 6th form to do my A2s. The difficulty I faced before all that was working out how to do all that stuff after everything I’d experienced over the previous 2 weeks. How could I go back to normal life when I’d been trying my best to forget normal life while training and while on mission. The reality is, Just Go! changed me (...well, God changed me through my experience on Just Go!) and I didn’t know how to return, as my new self, to routines my old self had mastered before leaving for Holmsted Manor.
Looking back, I made a much bigger deal of it than it needed to be, because I realised that there is a simple solution! But I’ll reveal that later… I need to keep you reading somehow. Let me first tell you about my experience on Just Go! The two weeks I was away from home were possible the most fun, most God centred, funniest and most challenging weeks of my life. During those two weeks I got to know my team far better than any group of people should know each other after only having met a few days previously. The nature of being in a team like that (particularly in a team that spent so long with nothing to do in confined spaces… #MobileTeam) was that we talked… and talked… and talked and talked. Some of us more than others (yes I’m talking about you Kerry). But that meant that we were very honest and very real with each other - something that was a pleasure to be a part of. It also resulted in some rather funny instances: [Picture of Toga Drew inserted here] …I don’t think you need any context so I’m just gonna leave that hanging.
But it wasn’t just that. Approaching people on the street and being like “Hey! Do you know Jesus?” (After asking if they spoke english first usually) became normal. Praying for people in the middle of a town square in Serbia, while overwhelming, was not that scary - the opposite in fact, it was loads of fun. Worshipping in public felt completely natural and all of this was the result of what God changed in me through Just Go!
As you might be able to guess, my life before Just Go! did not really involve walking up to year 9s in the corridor and going “Hey! Do you know Jesus?”, because I’d probably be told to *swear word* off. So how, if stuff like that becomes normal do I go back to my normal life where stuff like that isn’t normal? Here’s my answer that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for: my life before Just Go! wasn’t ‘normal’ in God’s terms. During Just Go!? That’s what’s normal. Healing the sick? Normal. Worshipping on the top of ruins? Standard. Leading people to Christ in coffee bars? Totally regular. These things are incredible, and it does them injustice to describe them in such terms, but the fact of the matter is that I want these things to be everyday occurrences in my life. I want these things to be ‘normal’ in my everyday life.
So, it wasn’t a case of going back to my old ‘normal’ life, but a case of catching it up to what I want NORMAL life to be.
That’s not so hard right? Well yes it is. But I’m working on it. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but I don’t want to go back to what I was before Just Go! where praying for people in public was so weird I wouldn’t even consider it. I don’t do everything perfectly (and that’s probably the most certain thing I have said so far) but I have really sought God so I can make small changes to glorify Him and honour the work He did in me during those two weeks - whether it’s just letting a friend know I’m praying for them, or telling a little year 7 that Jesus loves them, or even just being truly honest with some of my close friends, rather than being superficial. It’s simple stuff, and it’s all the result of the life changing, normality altering experience that was Just Go!
Let me leave you with this one piece of advice. When God changes you through life changing experiences like Just Go!, don’t let going back to what was (and is no longer) normal life change you back.
Hey! I'm becca and this summer I was a part of Team Romania.
It's been quite a few months after coming back from Romania, but I still find myself smiling or laughing about the little memories. For example, when we were walking to the church down the road for a meal, sometimes the kids that we were working alongside, would run up to us and hug us and kiss us, and high-five us and they would often sing the songs that earlier on we sang to them.
Or that time when the team prayed with 'Jesus take the wheel' in the background. Or the random conversations we had at meal times. There aren't just funny memories that make me smile, the encouragements that the team gave me still make me smile when I look back on them. Like when everyone went out to Kaufland down the road (an amazing store that sells the best chocolate and ice cream) and I was happy just sat back at the community centre, FaceTiming people back home. I asked someone to get me a Pepsi, and gave them the money. Then, 3 hours later, they all came back, with a Pepsi, a chocolate bar and my money, saying they all chipped in to buy it for me. It wasn't expensive, but it made me smile (actually I cried, but I cry at everything) and still makes me smile today.
So when I'm having a tough day, I can think back to this amazing time and it makes me smile, and suddenly everything is fine again :)
Our friends in Circuit Riders have been reflecting on crucial aspects of being a leader and we think their thoughts are awesome. Check them out HERE
Here's a blog post from one of our 2013 delegates and the little project she and the others have launched since getting back to the UK. Proud to call her one of ours and super excited to see what God is doing in and through her!
In Summer 2013 I was on Team Romania with Just Go. Although we only went for 10 days which doesn’t seem like a very long time, it’s amazing how much those 10 days have changed my life. While we were in Romania we met hundreds of children, all of whom had different stories to tell.
For years I have heard people talk about Compassion, but it wasn’t until I got to know more about Gladys Aylward, Heidi Baker, Catherine Booth and Amy Carmichael that I got a real understanding of what the word is really about. If you haven’t heard about these women, I suggest you go on and read this book Compassion: A Call to Take Action by James W. & Michal Ann Goll It’s simply amazing!
The book talks about how having a deep and intimate relationship with God can totally be translated, in our daily lives, in acts of selfless love and kindness. If we stop to think about it, we don’t really want to live our lives to ourselves – that’s actually boring and unsatisfying. What can really satisfy us is to live for others, for a bigger cause – God, always coming first, and then people. A life lived to love on others, to bless them.
What is Compassion for you? For me, Compassion is expressing God’s love, even in the simplest and smallest way you can think of, through actions that will benefit others. That’s where we see the need for the relationship with God, because He is the source of all things, and will be able to fill us up so we can share it with others.
I know that probably wasn’t enough to “contaminate” you, so please, please, please, give it a try, and I’m sure you will be convinced. And keep in mind that any action is much more worth being executed if it’s done for the welfare of others. This simple fact will bring such a fulfilment to your heart! Do you think I’m crazy? Try it and see for yourself.