The first day of The School Of The Circuit Rider has just come to an end, and in all the excitement I have managed to leave my appointed duty of blogging about all of this until the very end of the day. But let’s talk about the excitement—because that is the predominant emotion filling the air of ‘The Factory’.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, ‘The Factory’ is the run-down building that you pass on the driveway to the YWAM Oval. Back in the days when this place was a Methodist orphanage, it housed a printing press, and was intended to give the teenage orphans a vocational skill to take with them when they left. Any printing equipment has long since disappeared, but the idea remains that the place should train the youth of the Oval so that they are equipped to go out into the world. But whereas that used to mean giving them something orphans could use to get themselves a respectable job, now that means training youthful lovers of Jesus to go and fulfil the Great Commission and — let’s all say it again — save the lost, revive the saved, train them all!
Anyway, after spending Friday afternoon setting up two hundred chairs in The Factory (and wiping off the bird droppings that had accumulated on some whilst in storage) it was a joy to see those chairs now (cleaned and) filled with young missionaries from — imagine a room filled with two hundred worshippers and when you ask them where they’re from they respond — England! France! Austria! Belgium! Germany! Spain! Norway! Holland! Columbia! Tahiti! India! Korea! Rwanda! South Africa! Egypt! Australia! America! Canada! Not quite every tribe and tongue (Revelation 7:9) but we’re working on it…
So Amy Sellars started off the morning with some stories of the incredible things that have been happening in the other Circuit Riders Schools – we in Harpenden (‘London’, if you believe the advertising) are the third of five this summer, and the first outside of the USA. In one instance, an afternoon’s evangelism in a shopping mall leading to 40 people giving their lives to Jesus; in another, a woman who turned out to be the madam of a prostitution ring came to faith.
Not wanting to be the one who got left out of the action, when the lunch-break arrived I grabbed the first fiery-eyed evangelist I could find – his name was Larry, he’s here from Pennsylvania – and we headed down to Harpenden High Street, with hearts full of faith for what God would do. We offered to pray for the first lady we saw, and she graciously accepted. I tried to talk to three teenagers as they passed, but at soon as the name of ‘God’ came out of my mouth they hurried away. We prayed to ask God for some direction, and Larry felt God show him a picture of a crown. A lady with such a crown on the crest of her jacket passed by, and Larry offered to pray for her – but no, she was too busy to stop. I then approached another passer-by, explained that I was there because I believed God wanted me to tell him something. He responded with that old chestnut, ‘I’m not religious’. Nevertheless he didn’t refuse my offer to explain in thirty seconds the essence of what Christians believe, and so I had the chance to briefly share the gospel with him.
And then we were heading back up to the Oval for the afternoon session, getting into small groups and repenting of any ways in which unbelief had taken root in our lives–but all in the joyful knowledge that God has already accepted us as we are, and that even our faith is the gift of his glorious grace.