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A Reflection on the London Trip

Written by Daniel Manila

If you were at Waypoint on June 11th, you'll remember Danny talking about his visit to the city of London, along with myself and five other Waypoint members. I arrived in London a bit later than the rest of the team, and I still remember walking from the metro to the guest house we stayed at. We arrived during half-term, the UK's equivalent of spring break, so as I walked past the city park, I saw hundreds of people talking, eating, and playing on the large lawn of green grass. Over the next week, our team got to walk among and pray for the millions of people in this vibrant city.

After meeting up with the rest of the team, we walked back to the metro station and met up with Ross, who Waypoint has sent out to London to serve the city through marketplace ministry. Over the course of the next couple of days, we met with several different ministry leaders in the city: the pastor of King’s Cross Baptist Church near the center of the city, the founder of a co-working space designed to help bring community to a city suffering from an epidemic of loneliness, a manager at a coffee shop who sought to show Jesus to their staff and customers, among others. In all of these people we saw a desire to do their work “as working for the Lord.” I remember specifically hearing David, who ran the co-working space, describe how he imagined that in a redeemed Earth. Similarly, the coffee shop tried to purchase the best coffee from roasters who treated their employees and their bean suppliers well and used this as a way to bring people into their coffee shop, where they also hosted prayer meetings and discipleship. These leaders' fusion of good work with sharing the gospel, inspired me to pursue God's heart in my work, even as I enter an "ordinary" job here in Durham.

On Sunday after church, we had particularly nice weather (unusual for London) and so we went to Regent's Park, a large and popular city park close to the center of town. Along with another church team from Texas (whom we had "coincidentally" met at church that morning), we spread out and prayed for the area, while intentionally remaining open to talking to people about faith. I went with Garrett, one of the people from Texas, and we saw a group playing Spikeball. With amazing boldness, Garrett asked if we could play a game with them. So we got to play and then talk with three men, while praying for God to work in their lives. We had a long conversation, talking mainly about what's important in life, and what they lived for. None of them were particularly open to the Gospel, but an experience I had feared would be difficult, awkward, or even offensive instead became a friendly and meaningful conversation.

But prayer had a deeper role in our trip beyond that one afternoon. Without a car, we mostly walked between each meeting or event. Often, on the way to the next place we had an opportunity to stop and see London landmarks. And as we walked, we had the opportunity to pray for the city and its people. From an outside perspective, these times looked no different than when I visited other cities. Yet, it felt drastically different to be asking the Lord to come and work in the place as we walked. Likely, I will never see direct results from our prayers, but we believe in a God who works at the request of his children, and so we stepped out in the authority given to us in Jesus. And what struck me most was that none of these opportunities for prayer required an official church visit. My visits to other cities could have included just as much prayer.

One week barely allows you to scratch the surface of a place like London. But our God does not fear our human limitations and works through us despite them. This trip encouraged and challenged us to live and work with our eyes on God, praying for people around us and sharing the Gospel when we can. At the same time, we can use our work to redeem this Earth just a little bit, if only by the grace of God. Thank you so much for praying and supporting us on this trip, and I hope I could encourage you with this post.

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