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The Most Encouraging Thing

The Lord is truly marvellous. I’m in a transatlantic WhatsApp group with seven other young saints and we fellowship about various other things. Our age ranges from 16 to 24 and, despite the physical distance, we have really enjoyed being built up via a WhatsApp.

When we started the group, some of us expressed a strong desire to migrate to various places in Europe. This summer, three of us have done so. Two are in Switzerland and one is in Germany. It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight but we kept that burden over the the many months and years. Now, we get to take the burden forward to the next stage.

Three of us have migrated to Central Europe after many months of prayer.

Three of us have migrated to Central Europe after many months of prayer.

I truly believe that it is a great time for young saints to migrate. I know the hurdles these two other saints went through to get here. I know some of their sacrifices yet they had the vision of the Lord’s Move in Europe and they did not let go. This is such an encouragement to me and you can encourage them by following their progress on their blogs: Snapchats Not Oil Paintings (don’t judge the name) and Somewhere in Germany.

So often, the smallest things encourage the saints. I say this because in three weeks time we will have the International Conference in Switzerland. I am so encouraged by saints who have told me that they are coming. In Europe, where the churches are small, having saints visit is one of the best ways to recharge our spiritual batteries.

Six months after entering the recovery, I went on my first blending trip and it was to California. Even though there are many churches there, and most are very large, I was struck by how my presence encouraged them. Here I was, a newbie who lived thousands of miles away and they were so excited to see me. Now imagine how the saints here feel when they get visitors.

Blending is something we can all do and it can really encourage the saints in a small locality.

Blending is something we can all do and it can really encourage the saints in a small locality.

Blending is so important, especially for the smaller churches. In Switzerland we have two churches; the church in Lausanne-Bussigny and the church in Bern. We have saints in other cities, such as Geneva and Zurich, but no lamp stand yet. When saints come to blend it refreshes us because it reminds us that we are in the one universal body. It reminds us that there are saints in other countries who love us and are praying for us. This is why I am so grateful for those who have signed up for the conference and bought their plane tickets.

Sometimes, when you are in a big church, it can be difficult to appreciate the huge effect blending can have. Migration is great, if you can do it, but blending is vital and something we all can do. Taking a weekend to visit a small church and encourage the saints there can really aid the Lord’s work in that locality. Those saints, and their new ones, will be so cherished. I look forward to this cherishing on September 20 and 21st.

Much grace,
David-Anthony

Pursuing, Fighting and Enjoying in a Normal Way

I want to begin by thanking all the saints for their kind words and prayers concerning my previous post and my migration. It really encouraged me and I am very grateful.

Saint Sulpice

Being a normal Christian is crucial when fighting on the front lines.

Today, I had my first table meeting as a member of the Church in Lausanne. It wasn’t a particularly memorable experience, in the sense that I’ll be able to recall it many years later, instead it was just normal. I really appreciate the aspect of being normal.

Like many, I grew up with the concept of experiencing tremendous highs and lows. In Britain, in particular, it’s an even more difficult thing due to the Americanisation of our media. American English is very dramatic, and I mean no disrespect with that statement. Things cannot be “good”, they must be “awesome”. Meanwhile in British English, and most other forms of English, calling something “good” is high praise. So, you’re growing up with your cartoons being “amazing” and “awesome”, while in class your teachers are writing, “well done” or “very good” on your homework. It can be quite bizarre.

Back to my original point. Being a normal Christian is such a crucial aspect. I didn’t feel the need to announce my arrival in a grand speech instead, when there was an opening, I stood up and shared my enjoyment from the morning revival. There was no need for drama or attention. The saints listened, enjoyed and encouraged me. It was as if I’d been there for years. That was the best welcome I could have asked for.

This is how I’d sum up migrating to Switzerland and settling in. There has been no drama, no grandiose welcome, just normality. When I arrived, the saints greeted me with the words, “Welcome home.” I was home. Home is normal. There was no need for theatrics. I’ve already begun partaking in the normal church life. There’s no time to do a welcome tour, I just have to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. The Lord and, by extension, me; would have it no other way.

For anyone considering migrating to Europe, I think being normal is an absolute must. I didn’t always appreciate it but now I know how fortunate I am to be here on the front lines, waging war against the devil for the souls of my fellow Europeans. Without normality, it is very difficult to do. There are no superstar warriors, and there aren’t any reservists waiting to take over from tired saints. We eat and drink the Lord and He gives us all that we need for the coming day. We’re all in it together, fighting 24/7 and it is so enjoyable.

Companions

Pursuing, fighting and enjoying with two of my companions.

This afternoon, we had some fellowship among us students and young adults and I realised something remarkable. Usually when talking about migration, we look to those who have graduated from the training or adults but what about young people? When I was looking at the saints I was with, I saw experienced spiritual warriors who were young, vital and absolute for the Lord. They can fight for the next 50 years. In two weeks, we have a young teenage brother from Texas moving to Zürich. What a joy this is to the saints. Another young, vital able-bodied warrior to join us as we pursue, fight and enjoy together. Yes, there are many practical obstacles but who cares? I’m living in Switzerland and I don’t even have an apartment yet!

Maybe you can tell, but I have never been so invigorated in my life. Moving from the UK to mainland Europe has really stoked the fire within me. I have no option but to turn to the Lord. I’ve smashed into so many brick walls in my efforts to find an apartment, but I turn to the Lord and I am able to pursue with the saints. And we do this so normally. In the UK, it was easy to become complacent and so the Lord wasn’t always the first person I would turn to. But here, I don’t have the luxury of turning to my parents. I must turn to the Lord. And if I turn to the saints, they’ll just turn me to the Lord. If you have such a deep longing to seek the Lord, there’s no better place to be but on the front lines.

I’m not naive, there will be times when I feel exhausted and dead. But I know that in those times, the Lord will be even more sweet. So, I encourage those with a burden for Europe to start praying. Send me a message and we’ll start praying. We’re not asking for hundreds of saints, but even one more person migrating would make a world of difference.

I’ll end by sharing this. One of my companions here in Lausanne revealed to me that this past year he prayed specifically for the Lord to cause two saints to migrate to Switzerland. Well the Lord was faithful and by the end of the summer, there will be three. Much grace to you all and please pray for us as we pursue, fight and enjoy in a normal way!

My Life-Changing Decision

I dislike giving big announcements about my life. Hearing big announcements from others, like LeBron going back to the Cavs, can be a very enjoyable experience. But, personally, I’m not a huge fan of placing myself under the spotlight, although with how fast the church life rumour mill works I’m not sure how realistic an expectation that is. The honest reason is that I get stage fright when talking about myself in front of a lot of people, and I quickly get bored if I have to keep answering the same questions. For me, whenever I thought of migration, the scenario I always preferred was to simply slip out of the country and wait for people to slowly catch on that I’d moved elsewhere. But, I knew I’d offend pretty much everyone with that approach and end up in the spotlight anyway so, grudgingly, I abandoned that. So, I’ve chosen the ‘write-a-blog’ approach. A brother likened this approach to breaking up with someone via text, that made me laugh. The video training hasn’t given me an opportunity to make a proper announcement in front of everyone at a meeting, and even if I had that opportunity, I probably wouldn’t have taken it. I guess I’m psyching myself up for my marriage announcement (that is a joke, do not read anything into it!)

View of Lac Leman from Ouchy. Evian, France is across the lake on the left.

View of Lac Leman from Ouchy. Evian, France is across the lake on the left.

As you may have figured out by now, at the grand old age of 24 and two months, I’m migrating. I’ve actually spent the past couple of weeks trying to write this post. Trying to accurately and succinctly the whole experience into words has been much harder than I thought. Because, you see, this is something I’ve been open to but accidentally stumbled upon. By accident, I mean I wasn’t expecting it but of course it was all part of the Lord’s plan.

I didn’t wake up one morning and have a eureka experience, but it did feel like a veil-being-removed experience. One day, I just decided to search for jobs in Switzerland, as I mentioned I’d been open to migration for a while. For various reasons, I knew I wouldn’t be in London for long. After almost two decades living in this monster of a city, I was ready to try something else. Almost immediately, I saw something which caught my eye and I just had the inner peace to apply, so I did. A few hours later, I received an email inviting me to a Skype interview. Everything seemed to proceed at a measured pace after that. I felt really good about this job and I knew, deep down, that I’d get it but it was still a huge relief when it was officially confirmed. It was even better, when they agreed to allow me to start in August, so that I could still attend the Poland Conference.

So why Switzerland? Well I was just answering the Lord’s call. I knew that I wanted to migrate to where there was a need. I wanted to function in a smaller local church and just give myself totally to being useful there. There are around 100 saints in Switzerland, which has a population of about 8 million. The saints there have been praying for a while for saints to migrate there. I didn’t know that at the time when I applied for the job but now that I do know, I’m even more excited. Even though I’m walking into a situation with a lot of unknown variables, I’m excited because I see something of the Lord. I see the need, I’m touched by it and I’m ready to respond to it.

View of Lac Leman from Montreaux

View of Lac Leman from Montreaux

I’ll be working in Lausanne right next to the campuses of two of Switzerland’s top universities. The saints have been burdened to set up Christian clubs but it’s difficult because there is already an established nationwide Christian club. Switzerland is a very organised and orderly country. While forward-thinking and innovative, when it comes to people’s personal lives, it’s really difficult to change the established way of doing things. It’s been said to me many times that the Swiss are very private and independent people. However, if you’re able to break through and gain their trust, they will be the most loyal and dearest friends you’ll ever have. I see this in the saints; they are definitely some of the most exercised and loving saints I’ve met. Now, I’m just burdened for the Lord to gain even more. This is what I’m attracted to; the Lord working in this incredible country.

This is not just about Switzerland though. There are needs everywhere; Germany needs saints, Belgium needs saints, Sweden needs saints, and Portugal needs saints too. For the past couple of years, the UK has been blessed with steady stream of saints migrating from Boston and this has been great. But, already, some of them are married. Then they’ll be settled and maybe even have kids. Just through these situations, and no fault of their own, international migration becomes less attractive. I’ve found it difficult enough to deal with the practical implications of moving countries, I can imagine how difficult it would be with kids. It would be great if there were more saints open to migrate directly to mainland Europe, but that’s just me musing outloud. It won’t be easy. In Switzerland the easiest route for non-Europeans is probably through attending university. Through a bachelors, or post-graduate you’ll be able to be on the campuses and, afterward, it’ll be easier to get a job in Switzerland since you’ll have some knowledge of the language. Switzerland has four national languages: Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh. In many of the major cities, such as Zurich (German), Berne (German), Geneva (French) and Lausanne (French), English is widely spoken and is often people’s second language. I’ve been informed, although I can’t verify, that in Geneva it is possible to live comfortably for many years without needing to learn French. So if learning a new language is a problem, then one could always head there.

Blending with the bros at château de Gruyeres.

Blending with the bros at château de Gruyeres.

Recently, I was asked if I would miss London. I was quick to give an unequivocal no but now, I’m a little more measured. I will definitely miss the saints, after all many of them shepherded me in different ways when I came into the church life, but beyond that I doubt I’ll miss much. London will probably always be home, but it’s time to move on. The more you’re attached to a place, the harder it is for the Lord to use you in other places. I’m sure I’ll see many of you at various conferences and blendings and if you’d like to visit, I’m only a £50 one way plane ticket away. I’ll try to update my blog regularly because Switzerland is a very beautiful, fascinating and, sometimes, extremely frustrating country. I’ll definitely be writing something about how to get through the many forms you have to fill in to get a social security number, open a bank account and yes, even buy a prepaid sim card (they require ID before they’ll sell you one). In the meantime I hope to see some of you in Poland.

Au revoir et beaucoup de grâce

A Hard Reset

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Last night, the most remarkable thing happened. I was rendered temporarily blind for about four hours and I’m pretty sure they will be the most important and rewarding four hours of my life.

I was walking home from the store around 10:30pm when I saw a bunch of police cars parked but with their lights flashing. There must have been 12-15 of them blocking the road but what concerned me where their lights. I suffer from migraines and at night, flashing lights are not my friend. As I got closer, I started seeing bright spots in my eyes but there wasn’t much I could do. The only way home was to walk past those flashing lights. I put my hand over my eyes and stumbled past as best as I could but it was too late, the migraine was coming.

Somehow I got home but my eyesight was worsening. I had lost vision in my right eye and my left eye was struggling to cope. In my room, I turned off all the lights and lay on my bed in the foetal position while my blood pounded the right side of my head.

This sounds awful, and yes I hated it, but what followed was pretty wonderful. That partial blindness left me with no option but to talk to the Lord. I was unable to sleep, because of the pain, I couldn’t read, because I couldn’t see and my eyes were sensitive to any form of light, and I couldn’t listen to music. All I could do was talk to the Lord.

Surprisngly, I wasn’t too concerned about getting better. I’ve had enough migraines to know that they’re not going to kill me anytime soon. I just wanted someone to talk to. I don’t remember what we talked about but this morning, I woke up feeling reset, refocused and sure.

This past year has been a very trying year. One bad experience has led me to second guess everything I do. I became so fearful of making wrong choices that I became paralysed. This was especially bad for me because I’m the sort of person who doesn’t need to agonise decisions; I know what do. Some people call it a gut feeling, I just call it the Lord. I have never regretted following that feeling yet, these past few months, I stopped trusting that feeling.

With this reset, I feel renewed and invigorated, albeit while still being unable to walk without my blood pounding the right side of my head. There is no real purpose to this post except to say, losing my sight for four hours is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Now, I need to  get off my laptop since I’m still a little sensitive to light.

Getting The Hang Of This Fellowship Thing

Praying before my baptism. Taken by Jade Pyne.

Praying before my baptism.
Taken by Jade Pyne.

It’s been an interesting few months. I went to Poland, I got baptised and…oh yeah I deferred my admission to grad school. Since then, I’ve had a lot of time to think and pray and begin interesting projects. The hardest thing about free time is that you never get anything done. You get to the end of the week and you realise that that ministry book you wanted to read remains untouched. Then, after reading a page, you take a break and congratulate yourself on actually opening the book. A month later, you still haven’t progressed past that page. Oh Lord Jesus, help me in my reading!

During this post you will see pictures from my baptism. These pictures have nothing to do with the subject matter, I just wanted to share a special event in my life.

The most interesting part of these past few weeks has been the realisation that I am transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Currently, I’m in that phase where I can clearly see both sides of the coin. On the one hand I still experience the same emotions and frustrations of adolescence, yet there is now a maturity and assuredness, which I’m assuming comes from adulthood. This unique view has been very useful when serving with the young people and then fellowshipping with brothers and sisters about the young people. It has also allowed the Lord to deal with certain situations I wasn’t aware that I was going through.

At this point, I had changed my mind about baptism and wanted to get out but couldn't find a quick escape route. Taken by Sarah Fun

At this point, I had changed my mind about baptism and wanted to get out but couldn’t find a quick escape route.
Taken by John Liu.

After deferring grad school for a year, I was naturally a little disappointed. This is something I had really wanted to happen this year and so a little disappointment was expected. What surprised me though was what was beneath the disappointment. I realised that there was a deep resentment towards certain older saints for what I perceived to be a lack of oneness for my future plans.

Without exposing anyone, several older saints remarked, rather forcefully, to me that the Lord’s Move was in Europe and that I was going the wrong way. As someone who, at that point, had barely been in the church life for two years, this was quite a damaging thing to hear. I now understand what they were trying to say but because of the type of person that I am, how they said it and when they said it were both wrong. I don’t get offended easily, but when I really want something I can be both strong-willed and stubborn. When you add this to the fact that I still thought of myself as a newbie and I hated confrontation, it make sense that I dealt with it by cutting myself off from those saints. At that time, I didn’t realise it but if I saw them walking towards me, I would walk in a different direction. I would also do my very best to avoid having any sort of conversation with them but, if they managed to corner me, I would give frustratingly noncommittal answers to their questions. I allowed a misunderstanding to become a divisive issue.

Thankfully, the Lord was fully in control and all that resentment is now gone. Had this situation happened a year ago, I’m very certain I would have left the church life feeling bitter and and angry. Remember, I’m from the Catholic world where if you had a problem with someone you either bad-mouthed them behind their back, or you moved parishes. Trying to figure out and engineer a move abroad was hard enough without people openly opposing you, or so it seemed. Thankfully the Lord had gained me enough for me not to even consider leaving. And in time He revealed to me the role I had played.

Having my sins washed away. Taken by Sarah Fun.

Having my sins washed away.
Taken by John Liu.

My mistake was not fellowshipping with the saints in my locality and home meeting about grad school. I made the decision, announced it and expected their full support. Instead of saying, “Hey saints, I really have this feeling to go and do my Masters in America. Can we pray about it?” It’s almost as if I said, “Hey saints I’m going to America to do my masters. You will pray for me!”

As a semi-adolescent/semi-adult I can now clearly see how both sides caused damage to one another. My actions, like those of many young people, didn’t take into account the church. All I cared about was my growth, my migration, my future experiences with the Lord. I didn’t once consider how it would impact the church in London and the saints I’ve been blended with. The actions of the older saints, like that of some adults, didn’t take into account my susceptibility to offence. It’s easier for an adult to notice that they’ve damaged a young person because it usually leads to the young person withdrawing from the regular church life. It’s much harder for a young person to realise that they’ve damaged the church. When we make arbitrary decision without fellowship, we takeaway authority from the church and give authority to our flesh.

I understand this now, although it would have been great if those saints had subtly but firmly shepherded me in this area instead. The truth is that most young people don’t have the spiritual maturity to think about anyone but themselves and often a lot of offence can be avoided by realising this. But hallelujah for this experience.

The great thing about deferring my admission is that I am essentially redoing the whole of last year. I now have a whole year to sit down with the saints in London and say, “Saints, I still have this strong feeling to go abroad and study for my masters. Can we pray and fellowship about this so that we can go forward in oneness?” Finally, after almost three years in the church life, I am getting the hang of this fellowship thing.

- thedoublebarrel

Emerging from the waters a new man. Taken by Jade Pyne.

Emerging from the waters a new man.
Taken by Jade Pyne.

Sustaining A Consistent Church Life

"Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us" Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore let us also, having so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, put away every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and run with endurance the race which is set before us”
Hebrews 12:1-2

My biggest frustration is living an inconsistent church life. It drives me absolutely crazy because after a particularly good month of being in spirit and partaking in the richness of the divine flow, I follow it up with a flat month where I’m either on autopilot or just unable to raise my spirits for a significant period of time. The best analogy I can think of is that of a football player (this analogy works for both types of football) who has been given tremendous skill and talent. One game he is on scintillating form; he’s enjoying playing and he is destroying the opposition. Then the next game he is just average. Sure he may score the easy goal or touchdown, if you put it on a plate for him, but he won’t produce that game changing move. Even the basic things he will fail at and this leads to him becoming more and more frustrated.

My inconsistency really bugs me because I find it really hard to snap out of it. Just one day without adequately touching the Lord can lead to a whole week of unredeemed time. I have found that there a few things which lead to this:

Overconfidence after a enjoying the Lord – In warfare, especially when you’re outgunned, best time to strike your enemy is when he has had a few victories. Complacency due to overconfidence is dangerous especially in a young Christian. As we get deeper into Him, we reach new levels of enjoyment and it is so tempting to just drop our defenses, relax and just lie there for a little while. You’ve built up a store of consistent attendance at the meetings, you’ve really gotten into the Morning Revivals and you’ve discovered new truths in the ministry and the Bible. It’s hard not to feel untouchable but we must be wary. From experience, I know that this is the time I should surround myself with the saints even more because I know I’m becoming complacent and I’ll need someone to snap me out of it.

Overloading yourself with work – During my undergrad I created a set of rules to regulate myself. I was not allowed to do any work on weekends or after 8pm. This forced me to do my assignments as soon as I got them and meant that I only did 2 all-nighters during my 4 year degree. When I started working, I adapted this to not working beyond my allotted time (6pm) and ignoring all out of hours work emails until the next working day (we have clients in Asia and America so this was very tough). This isn’t because I wanted to be legalistic over how many hours I was being paid to work. This was because I wanted to be clear about the time allocated to work and the time allocated to the Lord. The Lord can be blent into my work but not the other way around. It was working until this month where, in an effort to make up for the work I’d miss while in Poland, I began to leave work half an hour later. Then I started working at home on Saturdays. Before long I was working until 3am in the morning because it was really humid and I was unable to sleep. This is time I’m taking away from the Lord. On top of that, I’m tiring myself out which means when I wake up, I am less likely to have a rich Morning Revival. In fact what happened was that Morning Revival just became another task on my to do list.

Youth – This is something that we can’t do much about. The younger you are, the less polished and consistent you are. You may be very talented, but chances are, your talent comes in fits and bursts because you don’t know how to use it. The same goes with our Christian lives. Rather than becoming frustrated, like I usually do, we should strive to exercise and hone our spirits to continually seek the Lord. Just like our muscles need to repeat things in order to become consistent, we too need to repeatedly seek the Lord in order to achieve consistency in our pursuit and love of Him.

In my natural man I am a perfectionist and so recurring failures really tick me off but I’m realizing that this is all part of my spiritual immaturity. What is true is that when I do start enjoying the Lord and building up a consistent and healthy habit of spending time with Him, I am able to go even deeper than before. We learn much more from our failures than our successes and so, for me, this is an area where the Lord is perfecting me. I think He will be able to do an even greater work in this area when I move into the brothers house. Full time education is a great time to build up good habits.

Note To A Fellow Graduate…

Graduation

Before I start, I want to thank everyone who read my previous post. The response has prompted me to break my number one writing rule, write as if no one will read it, so thank you for that as well. Now onto the main course…

I have to say that I’m not a fan of top tip articles firstly; because I rarely gain anything from them; secondly, they require little effort to write; and finally, I feel as if I’m the last person qualified to give any sort of advice. Therefore I would appreciate it if you viewed this as a critique of my life in the past year rather than expert tips. So without further ado, here is my note to my fellow graduates:

My fellow graduates,

It seems like years ago since I graduated, mainly because I feel as if I’ve had five years of experience shoved into one year. I should probably find a way to not feel this old but that can wait until another day. Having graduated almost a year ago, I have decided to share some of my experiences in the hope that it may provide some insight into what you’ll be facing. In the interest of keeping this post as short as possible, I’ll just launch right into it.

1. It’s even more important to have companions after you graduate
The initial graduate life is a lonely life, if your aim is to work. A companion, preferably a recent grad, is vital because they will understand what you’re going through. I spent seven months looking for a job and the vast majority of that was spent alone. There were a variety of reasons, number one being that contrary to popular opinion, I’m naturally shy and guarded so I tend to withdraw when things don’t go to plan. However, I also felt that the older saints and students just didn’t get my situation because they hadn’t gone through it, or they’d experienced it too long ago. When I finally found companions who could relate, it was such a relief. When I do this again, after grad school, I’ll exercise to fight my natural inclination to keep my struggles to myself. It’s embarrassing to not get a job and in this economy it’s likely that you’ll struggle. The best way to overcome the anger, frustration and depression is by being with like-minded saints.

2. The world does not owe you anything
This seems like an obvious thing but even for the most logical of us out there, there comes a point when you want to punch a window because you realize that the world won’t play by your rules. Sticking to the plan, that is; going to school and getting good grades, doesn’t equal a job within six months. Even having experience doesn’t necessarily help, especially in Europe, just because everyone’s resume looks pretty much like yours and you have more experienced people willing to take a pay cut in order to feed their families. The sooner you realize that the only person you can trust is the Lord, the easier you’ll find it to cope.

3. The life of a graduate is very uncertain
What I miss most about education is the structure. I knew what the next few years would look like, I knew where I was going and how to reach my goals. Things were defined and, barring a few mishaps, there weren’t any abnormal fluctuations. The graduate life is just a crazy ride. As a Christian, probably more so. I was talking to a brother who graduated last year as well and we both agreed that the graduate life is in itself a form of training. I would even go as far as to say that in these economic conditions, the graduate life is a more intense training than the first year of the FTT. Why? Because you’re out there in the world, you feel alone and you’re without your safety net. You suddenly realize that every decision you make can drastically alter your life. This can lead to you ignoring vital decisions for weeks because the thought of making a mistake paralyzes you with fear. But this is a great time to be gained by the Lord. In my experience, the Lord allowed me to fall down the deepest blackest hole and then yanked me out. Just as I was about to give up, He appeared and glued me together with Himself. I can barely plan for today, let alone next week, but I just appreciate that He is in control!

4. Morning time with the Lord makes a huge difference
I don’t always read the Morning Revival but I try to make some time with the Lord. I either read the Bible or as many pages of a ministry book on the train to work. Those 35 minutes on the dirty London Underground trains seem to go so quickly but they are key to my day. I walk into work with the ministry on my mind, a song in my heart and prayer on my lips. I’m ready for the day and watch out anyone who is in my way. I attribute my success at work to my time with the Lord. Just by praying and taking Him in whenever I can, I have achieved much more than I was meant to at work.

5. Nothing can compare to the church life
When I sit at my desk at work, I wish I were with the saints. This is not rhetoric but the truth. I want to be with all the saints, not just the students that I’m friendly with. The home meeting in Central London is something I try not to miss just because it’s my home and I can be built up with the saints. It’s tough being out there in the world as a young Christian and if we don’t take care of our church life, it’s very easy to be blown away by the world. But making it to at least one home meeting a week allows you to sit, slow down and breathe in God fully. For the next few hours nothing else matters. You can recharge your spiritual batteries for the week and soak in God.

Fortunately for me I get to go through the graduate process again, albeit I’ll be a little older and hopefully wiser. While I’m sure my experiences will be different, I’ll make sure to have these five points on my heart so that I don’t go through the same experiences.
– D-A

A Few Realizations

View From Bower House

It’s been a long hiatus. The reason is that despite my many experiences, I couldn’t find something to write about. I’ve always thought that I write better than I talk. The problem with that is that speaking is key for a Christian. My brain works so fast and I am conscious of the fact that I don’t always get my point across and so I will use this post to get my point across better.

As some of you may know, I’m planning on attending grad school in California in a couple of months and I’ve been asked a lot of questions about my motives. This whole experience has made me realize a few things:

1. I don’t have a burden for Europe.

This was a hard thing to admit. Being a European, it’s expected that you would have a burden for your own continent, and maybe that’s true for some people, but unfortunately it isn’t for me right now. There are various reasons for this and it’s probably not helped by the fact that throughout my history degree I was encouraged to be extremely objective and critical of every source I came across. I can understand why saints would be burdened for Europe and at times, I am slightly envious but it was liberating to finally realize that I didn’t need to be burdened for Europe. The Lord has His plan for me and maybe tomorrow I will wake up with a burden for Europe but if not, I can’t try to force myself. As the Body, we all have different functions and if I am called to do the Lord’s work elsewhere, in His eyes it’ll be equal to that of someone doing the Lord’s work in Europe.

2. I don’t have a burden to go the Full-Time Training…right now.

I am not a church kid and so I wasn’t brought up with a view to going to the FTTL or any of the other trainings. I’ve been in the church life for two and half years and in that time I have a gained so much but I know I’m not ready for the training yet. I thought it would be easier for me, because my parents aren’t in the church life, however, I still felt the huge weight of expectation. The saints mean well but I feel as if I spent many months finding tactful ways to say I wasn’t going to FTTL but would consider it in the future. I wasn’t lying. I do want to attend the Full-Time Training but while by the future I meant in the next few years, I knew that they thought the future meant the following term. Going to the Full-Time Training is a privilege and when I go, I know that I will be fully prepared and ready for the perfection that will follow. Until the Lord instills in me that burden, I’ll just keep offering vague responses when asked.

3. I want to serve full-time.

This may seem strange when you consider the two earlier points. Surely if I want to serve full-time, I would want to go to FTT. The best way to explain this is to say that I see serving full-time in my mid-long term future. There are many ways to serve and many areas I could serve in. I’ve always thought that my history degree and journalism background would be useful for the Lord. During my semester abroad in Australia, I got became interested in environmental policy, in particular water policy. This interest, and the knowledge gleaned from my time in Melbourne, has led me towards grad school. I know the Lord can also use this for His move. When you think about it a former journalist who has a Bachelors in history a Masters in Public Policy with a speciality in environmentally policy could come in handy in Europe in the next few years. Then again, speculating on behalf of the Lord is never a good idea.

Coming to these realizations has helped me put things into context. It’s important to have a personal experience of the Lord and mine have led me to these points. I know that there are a few people who would prefer I stayed in London and go to FTTL but I don’t think that’s the path for me right now. Many people don’t know that I didn’t get accepted by any of the universities I wanted to do my undergrad at. I ended up going to the school 10 minutes from my house and only because they were the only ones who wanted me and they made a very good offer. It’s a good school, ranked in the world’s top 150, but it wasn’t where I wanted to go. Now I’m in a position where I’ve been accepted into every graduate program I’ve applied for so far, which comes with its own set of problems. I don’t know what the future holds but as of now I’m pretty confident that the Lord will continue to gain me outside of Europe for the next few years.

- D-A

A Coming of Age

I don’t really have a concrete topic to write about in this post. I’ve had an enjoyable few weeks and to top it off a three brothers from Boston just arrived today to serve full-time. I guess this post was inspired by the fellowship I had with them.

We’re having morning revival on the previous training on Daniel and Zechariah and everyday I’m learning how to become someone that the Lord can fully use. It’s great that it coincides with me starting my first post-graduation job because I have been able to use Daniel’s experiences to help me present myself accordingly.

I am acutely aware these days that I am a representative of Christ and at some point I must starting acting like one, rather than putting it off for a yet to be determined date in the future. Two weekends ago, a brother said something that really touched me. He said that if the Lord came back today, he would be happy because he can honestly say that he’s consecrated the last fours years of his college life to the Lord. While I would be happy if the Lord came back today, I know that I can’t say that. From that day onward, I strived to live the life of a Nazarite, voluntarily consecrating myself everyday and refusing the corrupted foods of this world. It’s not been easy but I never expected it to be.

Day by day I feel myself becoming David-Anthony and not David. This sounds weird, I know, but for most of my life I’ve been just David and that’s been a metaphor for my Christian life. Rather than experiencing the full riches of His glory, I’ve been happy with just part of it. But recently I’ve experienced a change. I now want the full riches and refuse to just settle for a little bit. Everybody at work calls me David-Anthony and why shouldn’t they? It’s my first name. Granted, they pronounce it ‘David-Antony’ but they get points for trying. It may seem silly, or even trivial, to compare what I’m called to my Christian life but I see a symmetry. At some point I have to grow up and stop being little David and become David-Anthony. Likewise, I am now maturing spiritually and seeking Him fully and urgently everyday. I’m no longer a Lord’s Day or meeting saint, I’m becoming an everyday saint. Now let’s see how long it takes to ween everyone off calling me David…

I Have Confidence In Him

On Friday, I woke up and went about my business, like any other day. On my way to the train station, I decided to check my emails and right at the top was an email telling me that I’d been accepted for an internship and would start on Monday. The first thing I did was call on the name of the Lord, then I thanked Him while I tried to call home and tell my parents before my fingers got too cold. the fact that my first instinct was to call on the name of the Lord first shows how far I’ve come in the past few months. So I thought I would write about some of the things I’ve learnt during my unemployment.

The biggest lesson that the last few months have taught me is that the heavens rule. This is such a beautiful thing to see and say. One of the most frustrating thing about being unemployed were the limits it imposed on my church life. I’d never really been in a situation where I had to seriously consider missing a college conference or not going to the student meeting because of money. Previously I’d been in situation where I would say “I’m poor” and really what I meant was that I’d overspent for that month and so had to limit my expenditure. However, I then found myself in a position where I was planning which meetings to skip.

Prayer meetings where the first to go, not that I was a regular at them in the first place. It’s a terrible habit, and one I look forward to overcoming in the next few months, but I find it harder to motivate myself to go to a prayer meeting especially during the cold winter. It’s weird because you’d think that with a tight budget, I would prioritize corporate prayer, and now I think about it, I should have. I missed a few Lord’s table meetings and then eventually switched districts because there was a table meeting much closer to me. Somehow, I managed to attend both the European University Conference and the Winter School of Truth.

As you can see, I was choosing the bigger and ‘more fun’ events over the smaller, serious meetings. I wanted to be with the brothers my age rather than the older saints. Here in London, especially in the small districts, it’s not uncommon for there is often a huge gap between the eldest student and the youngest adult. The thought of being surrounded by adults, no offence, just didn’t appeal to me. Praise the Lord that, despite not having any income, I managed to remain active in the church life.

In this economy and with the world situation as it is, the Lord made it clear to me that He was all I had and would ever need. The world wasn’t my friend, it didn’t owe me anything and would never do anything that was in my best interests. This was an important lesson because I had too much confidence in myself and the world. I assumed that after following the rules and doing well at school, I would be rewarded with a job within 3-4 months of graduating. When it didn’t, I lost confidence and turned fully to the Lord. With Him as my confidence, I am now employed and start on tomorrow.

While listening to the recent Winter Training on Daniel and Zechariah, I really appreciated this speaking from Brother Ron in message 1. He said:

“…this is why we have to see that the heavens rule because we’re always going to be in an environment. And the fact is, my brothers and sisters, this environment can include all manner of painful things, anguish things, frustrating things, baffling things, and you pray and you pray for yourself and those whom you love. And the God who rules is silent, and the God who rules is hiding. And it seems as if He doesn’t care or doesn’t even exist. But it’s just part of His rule over you to develop your faith, to perfect your faith. So as God’s elect we need Christ to be wrought into us as our centrality and universality through our environment.”

I’m just so glad that I can see that the heavens rule. My approach to my job is that I am a temporary custodian of that position until the Lord decides otherwise. In that time I must remain open to Him and fully redeem the time so that He can move through me because these days are evil.