Wednesday, October 10, 2007

you're really selling yourself

Today I taught my first English class. I had three Polish ladies, two Bangladeshi ladies, and one lady from Chili. An interesting mix. I have to say that I was a bit anxious when I first got started, but really ended up enjoying the experience a lot. I felt a lot like Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam.

It’s funny what you end up doing in life. When I finally went forward and admitted that God had called me into fulltime ministry, I can remember making an unspoken and unofficial yet very serious pact with God. All I asked, really, was not to move out of the States. I was very serious about this. In fact, I once broke up with a girl based souly on the fact that I thought she’d been called into missions and I was not interested. But here I am, living in London, working in a neighbourhood where there are over 350 languages spoken, and teaching English classes.

The irony doesn’t stop with my move to London, however. I took both French and Spanish in school and really didn’t learn a word of it. Furthermore, I was a terrible student passing only because I went to a Christian school where they gave serious extra credit for memorizing Bible verses. Yet again, I’m now teaching people English. I guess that I should probably also throw in the irony of an American teaching English classes in Great Britain. The Brits don’t consider my form of English actual English, after all.

With no training in church planting whatsoever, and nobody around us who’s ever done it, the question in our minds is always how to connect the dots between our community service and our faith. Don’t get me wrong, for me, my community service is a big part of my faith. But how do you get those involved in your community services to start asking the questions. People around us, especially those with the money, are getting a little antsy. They want results. And results for them are souls saved or, at the very least, attending a Bible study. It’s funny, I’ve never felt more proud of a situation that I was involved in, yet also never felt so much like I was walking on shaky ground. I’ve never felt more authentic as a Christian and never felt more like what I was doing really mattered, yet every day there’s the knowledge that it could all end tomorrow if our funding runs out. In fact, we have a meeting next week with the people who make those decisions. How do you make one Bible study with ten people in it sound bigger? I don’t know.

For those of you with SA ties, this weekend is our Youth Councils and, for the first time in our project’s history, we will be taking young people from our own community. It’s a huge step and an exciting new chapter in our project’s history.

I’ve never been good at selling myself or anything that I was involved in. I tried selling shoes but I was terrible at it. Same thing with menswear. And trying to sell my ministry to those with the money just makes me feel dirty. Next week I have to do just that. If you’re the praying kind, please remember us as we try to lay aside those feelings and convince people that what we’re trying to do is worth it.

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