Kairos Director reﬂects on Kairos Summer Missions 2015 –
The Kingdom of God is built on the backs of men and women of sacrifice.
Typically around 100 students and staff are involved in Kairos programmes, conferences and mission trips for the region every summer. This year was no different. Several times in the Gospel we hear the call to lose our lives, to give our lives, to deny ourselves. And as you look at the history of God’s people you can see that the Kingdom of God is indeed built on the backs of men and women of sacrifice. It’s my prayer and hope that Kairos can contribute to raising up men and women who are ready to embrace sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel.
If that’s spending your earnings to go to India to serve in the slums, or if it’s giving your vacation time to build up the Christian networks of Northern Ireland, or if it’s simply saying yes to take up responsibility when you’d rather not – all are ways in which we can give of ourselves to bless others and to build the Kingdom. And what we tend to notice is that we become better servants of Christ as a result. It’s inspiring to walk alongside the 100 every year. (See this summer’s events, below.)
Paul Jordan, director for Kairos – Europe and the Middle East
Seeing with the Eyes of God: Getting out of our comfort zones in Mumbai, India
Fiona Lee, London, England
I remember being both anxious and excited as to what the Lord had in store when I was told that I was going to India. It was such a huge blessing to be able to spend two weeks building relationships with a local youth programme, Gensys, that Kairos is connected to. We ran a retreat centred around the theme of Christian relationships. During the retreat, we were able to see God at work as people strengthened their relationships with each other in Christ. It was especially beautiful to see the Gensys women grow in their love and support for one another.
Though the retreat was only a weekend long, the lesson God had for me about relationships in Christ didn’t seem to just stop there. Throughout the trip, the Lord was really opening my own eyes to see the deep value in having brothers and sisters around to spur one another on. This new level of appreciation is something that I have brought home with me.
We also spent some time playing with children from the slums and a special needs school. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces as we played with them, I saw that it is a gift to be able to serve and love others. By sharing the Lord’s love, the joy that we brought to others became our own joy.
There were moments where I was pushed out of my comfort zone – though these moments were not my favourite at the time, they were the moments where my faith and trust in God grew. Looking back, these were actually opportunities to experience God’s grace, and I was able to experience the verse, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9). For me personally, this mission trip has re-emphasised the gracious and loving nature of our God. It was such an honour to be able to serve on this trip!
In the run up to the Derry-Londonderry mission trip I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than assuming it would be challenging to talk about our faith in a city that has a similar religious and political divide as Belfast.
During the week I had the joy of being a leader with the Search Youth Group, otherwise known as Mól an Oige – Irish for ‘Praise the Youth’.
During our time there, three other team members and I worked with 4-11-year-olds partaking in a range of different activities such as sports and arts, all which had a Christ-based message. It was incredibly fulfilling to see the children not only taking part and engaging, but being enthused and inspired by the Christian message. When speaking with our own peers about our Christian student outreach environments and community life, we were always met with real interest and openness to what it all meant.
“There is a real opennessfor God and for God’s work in the city of Derry.” Paul Fletcher
The trip overall was a success – we built good relationships, worked well in our outreaches and experienced the Lord’s love in an amazing way! I realised that doing mission work in your home country is so powerful: being able to witness to your own neighbours and having the benefit of watching that seed of faith grow is so rewarding!
Knowing God Is Like Swimming in a Lake: Discipleship and training at Summer Academy
Stephen Bick, London, England
It had been three years since I last went to Kairos Summer Academy (KSA) but I was still surprised to find, when I arrived at our location outside Brussels, that I had somehow become one of the older people there. My email inbox told the same story: I could no longer be the kind of spiritual tourist I had been at 18, merely attending such events and seeing my friends from other European communities. Now I had jobs to do. That said, it was good to be back. I study in a university which has no Kairos outreach and I had just returned from a month of recording and touring with my college choir, in which I am one of the few Christians. I love being in choir and being a Christian there, but it was enormously refreshing for me to be back in a Kairos environment, among other students with the same worldview and Christian mission.
“God wants more from us. He is calling us to go into a deeper relationship with him, to give him more of our time to serve him, to learn more and stand firm in his truth… This week definitely gave us tools and motivation to keep going, to stand firm, and to keep living a radical life for God.” Paula Arce
All of the teaching was excellent, but especially Dr. Dan Keating’s talks on Christ’s redeeming work. I was already familiar with some of the ideas presented, but the talks were excellent at tying these ideas together into a coherent whole. One of my jobs at KSA was to present short sketches before each talk, which was great fun and also let me get more familiar with the material. In one of his talks, Dan compared knowing God to swimming in a lake: we can swim down all we want, but we’re not going to be able to reach the bottom. It was good to go in a bit deeper, and it was also good to remember that I’m swimming alongside my brothers and sisters. That’s an encouraging image for me, one that I will treasure during the next year.
Seeds and Legacies: Men’s Summer Household, Munich, Germany
Pete Coyle, Glasgow, Scotland
In Scripture, the Lord often brings about great change with very small human resources. This was a truth that became more and more relevant to me during our summer household in Munich. Although we were only four men and were only there for a week, it was clear to me that the Lord was working consistently and powerfully through us. Even in the small things during our household, the Lord was apparent. Our discussions over our daily study of the book of Daniel were particularly striking in the depth of insight we were able to gain from them. This provided a thematic backdrop to being radical disciples in hostile environments.
In spite of many challenges, the programme ran very well. We were able to connect well with the local community – Brot des Lebens – and other Christian groups on several occasions. Highlights from the week included a session for the local youth group ‘Living Stones’, helping uproot a tree in a family’s garden, participating in the local YMCA night, and helping with the practicalities of the Brot des Lebens evangelistic prayer meeting. It was important to leave behind a legacy. One word from the Lord during the programme was from Philemon 1:7 – ‘I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.’ Brot des Lebens, Living Stones, the YMCA and the young men we connected to were all built up in faith and love and refreshed through our programme.
Local Update: IGNITE – New growth and new challenges for student outreach in Dublin
Luke Dick, Dublin, Ireland
In Ireland, like in much of the Western world, our culture is continually shifting and moulding itself into an identity at odds with what Christianity offers and teaches. That is why IGNITE exists as a Christian student outreach in Dublin. Ignite seeks to offer an alternative, a hope, and a light in society. Here in IGNITE, we want to awaken students to a relationship with a true life in God, and to the joy that this relationship can bring!
This year, we changed our approach to our meetings and how they were led. We had nights for fun and social things, other nights for worship, and others for teaching. We also decided to have the teachings given by the people who came to IGNITE themselves. We tried to tackle current social topics, which stirred good debate and really helped us get down to why we believe what we believe. We also joined up with University Christian Outreach in Belfast for a Fan-Into-Flame weekend, an opportunity to introduce our friends to a fuller relationship with God through his Holy Spirit. We witnessed the Spirit moving in people’s lives and talked about how the Spirit is a helper in our day-to-day living. Some students received the baptism of the Holy Spirit for the first time, and many others were blessed with revelations and insights into their faith.
It excites me to see the faith that is still very much alive. However, this year has also served as a reminder of the battle that is very clearly present in this day and age. Prayers would be appreciated for IGNITE this year that we would find new student leaders and that IGNITE would continue to produce much fruit. I look forward to seeing Ignite grow next year as others take the reins of leadership!
Meet the Gappers for 2015-16
The international motto of the Kairos GAP year is, ‘a year set apart for a life set apart’. As last year’s six Gappers go on to prove true the latter part of that phrase, this year we welcome another six.
Gappers spend their time volunteering with projects that are building Christian community in Glasgow. Every Gapper does some work with the poor and marginalised, some with children and teenagers, and some with university students. To support them as they do this, they receive training in character, mission and Scripture. Gappers also have the opportunity to live in ‘households’, small communities of young people who pray together, live together and do mission work.
PM Graham is the GAP director for Kairos-Europe and the Middle East. Learn more about the Kairos GAP Programme on our website, www.kairos-eme.org.
Kairos Europe and the Middle East September 2015 Newsletter, Used with Permission.