Poem : ‘At Heathrow Arrivals’

The missionary boot-camp that is the DTS is now starting here in Harpenden. (Which — as mentioned previously — myself and Taryn are helping to staff.) Over the last few days all the trainees have been arriving. I thought you might perhaps enjoy a poetic snapshot in free verse of my little role in the process:

Standing at Heathrow arrivals
still somewhat sleepy from the six o’clock start,
big yellow ‘YOUTH WITH A MISSION’ sign in hand,
you wait for someone who though yet unmet
may soon be closer than a brother.
You squint at the tags on travelers’ trolleys
searching for some sign that the flight has arrived.

The flight is delayed–
you strike up conversation
with someone adjacent also awaiting
some particular individual
among the incoming crowds of ‘Arrivals’.
No weather in sight so we struggle initially,
until the arrival
of the question,

At that precise moment
your awaited YOUTH appears,
the conversation is abruptly concluded,
the mystery of YWAM’s nature remains–
but today’s MISSION is accomplished.

Meet her and greet her
by name, but forget
to tell her your own,
and help with her luggage.
Offer her coffee,
& introduce her
to “Kyle, who’s also with

Guide her towards the Heathrow Express.
As you walk,
try to talk–
ask about the journey
from whatever far-flung country
she has just left
to come and seek God
in a modest English village.

How was the flight?
—the inflight entertainment,
the airline cuisine,
the view from your window,
the small-talk with the passenger next to you.

Cut the small-talk and ask
about the journey of faith,
of discovering the goodness
of God & the majesty
of Jesus & the power
of the Holy Spirit.

Get lost in the details of the divine design
that has been working itself out in your lives
and find that the Heathrow Express
has misplaced itself.

“No, we’re not lost.”

Retrace steps,
& finally find the Heathrow Express.
Five minutes to Terminal 3,
where the van is waiting
with enough space to squeeze in
two bags and a teenager.

Smile and wave–
big yellow ‘YOUTH WITH A MISSION’ sign in hand—
& catch the Heathrow Express
back to Terminal 5
ready for the next arrival.



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