September 6th, 2012
Dear friends and family,
First of all, I want to thank you for the support all of you gave me this summer. I cannot express my gratitude enough. It’s hard to believe how God used each and every one of you to change my life, my team’s lives, and the lives of those we ministered to this summer. Isn’t He incredible?
I’ve been putting off writing this letter for a week now. In the back of my mind I kept thinking how I need to get it written and sent off. But I’m still trying to process it all. Where do I start? What do I tell? What did I learn? What did God teach me? The problem is that He taught me a lot. And probably taking more time to process the summer won’t help. So I’ll jump right in and see what comes out.
Expectations have the ability to mold any situation they encounter. And that can be a good thing, or not. I went into this summer with expectations—-personal ones, ones I placed on God, and ones I placed on the rest of my team. Training camp helped to break down some of those expectations and I thought I was doing well. That was, until we did our first day of ministry in London.
I started out with the thought that ministry would be no big deal. Talking with random people who watched our performances? Yeah, that’d be easy. I could do it. Years of public speaking and interviews had prepared me… Or had they? I could barely even bring myself to talk to somebody who had watched our performance the first time we performed in London.
I wondered what was wrong with me. Others were doing it, why couldn’t I? Isn’t this what I signed up to do? What was wrong with me? Well maybe next time… But it happened again, frustration with myself growing each time we performed. God, why can’t I do this? And it suddenly dawned on me what my problem was. I thought I could do it myself—-that I didn’t need any help—-and when those expectations failed me time and time again, I finally realized that it’s not about me going out and evangelizing. It’s about God working through me so that when I do go out and share His message, it’s Him talking and working through me.
We stayed in Slovenia that night and I decided that I would let God work through me that evening, whether I was terrified or not. The campground we stayed at was having a talent show that night and we were going to perform. After it was all over we hung around, dancing with some of the local kids and sharing our Faith with those who had watched our performance. It started to go dark, and I noticed two girls sitting to the side and listening to an iPod. I couldn’t let this go, so I prayed real quick and headed over. We started talking about the performances and I started to share Jesus Christ with them. Would you pray for Isa and Anna, two girls from Holland who had no idea who Jesus was and what would happen to them after they died? Two girls I got to share my personal testimony with and then chill out and talk about our favorite bands? Two girls who heard about a personal relationship with God for the first time in their lives?
After that night in Slovenia, I had several good conversations with people after our performances. No, God had great conversations with people and He just decided to use me. How humbling is that?! It still blows my mind.
One of my favorite conversations, though, happened in Pula, Croatia with a shop-girl. There were already street performers in the square we were going to perform in, so we decided to team up with each other and go out and do surveys. Surveys basically ask questions about religion and things like that, giving us an opening to share our Faith and go through the Connecting with God tract that we used to explain why we need Jesus, why He died for us, and how you can accept Him as your Savior.
The two others in my group decided that Gideon would initiate the conversation and ask the person if he or she wanted to take this survey, and then I would go through the survey and hopefully get a chance to go through the Connecting with God. So off we went, looking for people to talk to. After multiple rejections, Gideon finally asked one young woman standing in front of her shop if she would like to take the survey and she agreed to. So I stepped up, said a quick prayer, and jumped in. After going through the survey, she still wanted to hear more so I started into the Connecting with God. And the entire time, she’s stopping me to help a customer and then coming straight back to me to hear more. When we finally got to the suggested prayer to invite Jesus into your life, I asked her to take the booklet and read it herself and then tell me what she thought of it. So she took it, went into the shop, and read it. While she was doing so, I stopped a couple others on my team to ask them to pray for the girl while they were walking by. The girl came back and thought that it was very interesting and that it was kind of a big deal. When she was talking to me, her boss came back, and you could see her shut down. I hid my disappointment and gave her the booklet, encouraging her to take the time to really consider it.
An hour later, all of us gathered back together and one of the girls I had asked to pray ran up to me. Apparently on their way back they had passed the shop and the girl was sitting outside, reading the booklet and not paying any attention to anyone else. I practically screamed. And I continue to pray for the shop-girl in Pula, Croatia, who took the time to take a survey that may very well change her life. And I pray that it does. Would you pray with me?
I have so many stories to tell of how God used my entire team, of things He taught me, and what happened in my life during this summer. But unfortunately, that would take several days and probably several pots of coffee to keep me from going insane. It still amazes me to remember how the Lord used all of us in Europe. I remember my first walk in London, thinking how empty and hopeless people’s faces were. I remember when I figured out that evangelizing doesn’t come in a set form and that you can really use anything to witness to people about Jesus. Just letting Christ shine through you can make people stop and notice. For example, at several of the campgrounds we stayed in, we had people coming up to us saying that they were a little freaked out when a busload of 41 American teenagers got off and started setting up tents, but within an hour or two they realized we were somehow different. We were organized and respectful. We cared about each other. We cared about them. We cared about people. You see, evangelism isn’t a mission trip or a week of leading VBS. Evangelism and ministry is a lifestyle that needs to be lived out every day. I went into the summer wanting to learn the formula for witnessing and I learned that many times the biggest impact we can have for Christ is to live out our Faith every day.
When I look back over the summer, I remember all the amazing things I got to do. Belgium waffles in Belgium! Brats in Germany, swimming in a lake in Austria, swimming and boating in the Adriatic Sea, visiting several Coliseums, visiting Juliet’s House, hiking in the Alps, walking under the Eiffel Tower and by the Louvre Museum, seeing inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, crossing the English Channel on a ferry and taking pictures with the White Cliffs of Dover in the background, seeing Big Ben, Abbey Road, 221B Baker Street, Trafalgar Square, Covent Gardens, going on the London Eye, and visiting the 2012 Olympics and watching the Women’s Triathlon and Marathon. And that’s only touching the surface. But when I look back, I know that those things won’t ever change me the way I thought they would. Only God can change me, and He did.
Flying home, my calling was even clearer. I cannot sit around and let others do my work. No matter what people may say, I have an obligation to the Lord to continue making ministry my lifestyle. This summer has blessed, stretched, and grown me in so many ways and I want to thank you for joining with the Lord and making this happen. I know in our economy it is hard to make ends meet, and you all blessed me so much that I am still speechless. Without you, this summer would not have happened. And without your support from home, I don’t think I could have made it through the summer. So thank you. Thank you for your prayer support. Thank you for your financial support. Thank you for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself this summer. Thank you for all those birthday letters! They made my week. And thank you for believing that God would use this summer to change my life. And in case you were wondering, He has.
Again, thank you so much. Words don’t even do justice to how much I appreciate all of you, dear friends.
Thanks again and may the Lord continue to bless each and every one of you. Remember, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus our Lord; ourselves, your servants, for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
Lot’s of Christ’s Love. xoxo ~KILLEEN BRONWYN, Philippians 1:6