In the summer of 2023 my church, Catalyst Vineyard, went on a two-and-a-half-week mission trip to Sri Lanka. Eight of us decided to step into that adventure which turned out to be a really formative time as we trusted God and saw how he’s been moving across the other side of the world.
My name is Naomi and I’m currently a student in my last year of University in Aberdeen. I’ve interacted with mission my whole life as I was brought up abroad by my missionary parents and later went on a Christian gap year where I spent 6 months in India. And I can’t get enough of mission! There is something incredibly powerful about seeing how God speaks to people in deeply personal and vivid ways in all corners of the earth.
Whilst we were in Sri Lanka, we got the opportunity to help out in a school, praying for the local community, being part of a leadership camp and assisting in a graduation and worship night. We then travelled north to run a Holy Spirit conference with the Vineyard Churches there. Lastly, we continued further north to couple with some local churches, hearing their stories, preaching and be part of a youth camp. Safe to say we were kept busy, but we weren’t the only ones! God has been busy moving in the Sri Lankan churches and pouring out His Spirit.
Mission has been really encouraging for me in two ways.
The first way was seeing how God can use me in powerful ways for the kingdom. There were countless times where we had to completely trust God and listen to the Spirit to see what he had in store for us to do. One of those times was one Sunday morning when one of our team heard a word from God about someone having negative words spoken over them. A girl responded to that word and our team member got to walk her through a powerful moment of inner healing by inviting Jesus in that place. As the Spirit fell on her she intimately met with God and was released from those words which had been spoken over her as well as being released into a calling of ministry.
The second way in which mission is incredibly encouraging was in having the opportunity to see God moving and to learn from church families in different contexts to ours. It was such a blessing to get to see baptisms happening in one of the churches we attended. The baptism pool was outside the church, visible to passers-by in the heart of a Hindu community. For me, it really put being counter-cultural into perspective and the bravery of those who were getting baptised was infectious. Getting to hear the countless stories of God’s goodness and blessing was an incredible boost to me. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the God we serve here in the UK is the same God that churches are serving world-over, and throughout history, and mission helps remind us of that. It is such an effective way of filling us up spiritually and encouraging us to step into the work God has prepared for us to do for His kingdom.