A week or so ago, I was thinking that holding First Steps on the Saturday at the end of half term had been a daft idea! However promotion on social media went out there and, more significantly, prayer was answered: 14 people registered online and more turned up on the day. My pessimism was well and truly squashed.
And after all, it turned out that Saturday 21 February was International Mother Language Day!
In the end 15 participants arrived promptly at Windsor Baptist Church to spend the day at First Steps exploring the impact of Bible translation in God’s mission… and for most, it was a chance to explore how they might become involved at home or overseas.
Having started by by praising God in the Logoti language of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we explored Jesus’ compassion for people in Matthew 9, before Joanna, who had just spent three days on work experience with us, shared her (rather encouragingly positive!) impressions.
Up to lunchtime, we had sessions on dictionary making in DRC accompanied by the presenter’s baby girl crying for her mother’s attention; literacy in Côte d’Ivoire; translation, personnel member care, and communications in E Africa, plus a plug for Two Week Stint by a teacher who had been there last summer.
After lunch, we were off to a market with buyers and sellers who had very different cultural rules about buying and selling and general interaction with other people. Despite the chaos, the sellers made lucrative profits on their toilet rolls, oranges and second hand trainers!
Who were they, these 15 people?
Two primary teachers, both with past short term mission experience overseas.
One minister invited along by his son who was exploring his options…
Four sixth formers, two of whom have been with us on work experience in the Belfast office.
Two students from Queen’s University Belfast.
A journalist, a law lecturer, a multi-media developer – and a couple of boyfriends brought along by their girl friends.
Not to mention Lindsay, the coordinator of MAP – Mission Agencies Partnership!
God brought them along. Jesus calls us to come with him in his mission to his world wherever we happen to be.
We’re now praying that God will continue to speak to each one; that they will be encouraged that they are where God wants them to be; or that God will prompt them to be where he wants them to be in the months and years ahead. Please pray with us for wisdom as we follow up and walk alongside them.