Three OBU students traveled to London this summer on a Global Outreach (GO) Trip to help workers there establish a church plant by building relationships within the community and reaching out to let the surrounding area know about the church.
The team stayed for a month during parts of May and June with a family who was in the beginning stages of the church plant. The students helped workers on the field with establishing a Christian community and connecting local residents with the church. The church hosted outdoor movie nights and began the program “Alpha,” a short video series discussing the basics of Christianity for an audience who has little to no knowledge of Christianity. The team also participated in evangelizing, hosting gatherings, attending worship services, landscaping and painting the building they were using for gatherings.
GO Trips are made possible by the Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach. The GO Center seeks to partner with students, faculty, and staff to engage a diverse world. It also provides support and opportunities for students to reach out to people in Shawnee, Oklahoma City, the United States, and all around the globe. Through global and local outreach, it is the hope of the GO Center that students’ global perspective will be challenged through the integration of faith and education.
For junior cross-cultural ministry major, Sarah L., the location of her first overseas trip proved eye-opening.
“This was my first international trip, and I loved that it was England,” she said. “The level of diversity was something I was not expecting to see going in. Every country in the world is represented by at least one citizen in London. It seemed as though everyone we encountered was from a different country. We were housed in a hostel and were just a short walk away from a bustling area of London. If I had to pick my favorite aspect of the city itself it would be the vast variety of flowers in the small yards or window sills. Looking up from the pathway and seeing blue, red and pink flowers everywhere was just amazing!”
Gabriele B., a sophomore women’s ministry major, found the most challenging part of the trip to be overcoming her own personal insecurities and fears over serving and ministering to the people of London.
“Whether it was insecurities over evangelism, qualifications or just being afraid that we weren’t making a difference, God walked with us through it all and gave us a new-found confidence in His plan for us,” Gabriele said. “I personally came to believe that though I feel unqualified to serve, when God calls me to do so, I need not be afraid because He will equip me for the ministry He has planned for me.”
She also found engaging with the people of London to be the most fulfilling aspect of the experience.
“I think the most rewarding part of the trip was meeting new people, hearing their stories and getting to see God working in their hearts. We saw non-believers express their interest in knowing more about Jesus and believers with a desire to see Jesus in their city. We saw a city broken by terrorism with a church unwavering in their hope that Jesus would heal their city. Seeing them continue to remain faithful in an otherwise hopeless circumstance truly changed my perspective on life and faith.”
For Sarah, the most rewarding part of the trip was overcoming her struggle with public speaking.
“My freshman year of high school, I got a D on a speech because I was too shy to speak more than two sentences in front of seven people. That same year, I had to turn my back to my teacher to read aloud a paper in a one-on-one conference. Before going to England, I was most concerned with my ability to approach a stranger and strike up an intentional conversation. However, before every outing and conversation, I prayed that God would give me a spirit of courage and boldness to empower me to speak to others. Every conversation I had in England felt so natural and warm that there is no doubt God was with me every second. Seeing His faithfulness in my life has been such an encouragement to me since returning home.”
In Sarah’s opinion, GO Trips give participants a new perspective and a dependence on God.
“At school, it is easy to feel like you are in a ‘bubble,’ where your life consists of papers, tests and how many meal swipes you have left. Being in London completely blew my mind and opened my eyes to see how big the world actually is. God teaches you so much when you are living life every day on mission, and not just during international trips. Being in this position with opportunities to look past the fear and step out into faith where God is calling you to be is such a rewarding, fruitful and even difficult season. Nonetheless, it is worth it. He is worth it.”