So it has been a while. I enjoy blogging a lot but a lot of the time I have to want to write about something important that would take an interest, but in the last 4 months the start of my mission has been hard. For those of you who know me, my can-do attitude and positive mindset has been telling the rest of me that 'Sure, its easy to start/take on a new ministry, learn a new language, settle into a new country AND plan a wedding will be EASY. I can do that, I can do anything.'
Well I was wrong, it is not easy. There has been no time to settle, when my schedule was full from the start, Wedding planning with your wife-to-be is a challenge when you have a difference in organisation styles, not to mention a difference in style and culture. Swedish is probably the most difficult of the european languages to learn (not that I've tried many, but its definitely harder than French or Spanish). I'm just glad we aren't planning this wedding in Swedish. Then 'Ja, älskling!' (Yes, darling) would be my only response.
So after a good start with learning Swedish on the government funded course I have delayed my classes to concentrate more on the young people, and plan our wedding. I have learnt a lot about prioritising the right things in life, and that Annie who will be my wife in 28 days time is a high priority and making this day the best day is important for our marriage and our calling in God's kingdom. This was a hard decision as me learning Swedish i important for me to understand Annie's culture, and a huge part of being a missionary. The highest priority though must be God, and doing His will. There is a constant pressure in life between pleasing people and pleasing God. And I want to be pleasing God in all that I do.
Equal to that is the job that God has sent me here to do. I love the youth group, and the youth are brilliant, and I need to be spiritually and physically fit to lead them. At the moment we have been going through a series I have adapted from my time at St B's called the 'Soundtrack to Life', using music videos and current media to access life issues we all go through and look at what the Bible says about them. Last week I used Ed Sheeran's 'Lego House' to talk about Jesus as our rock, and that God has the power to rebuild us into what we were meant to be. This is the lego house I built for it...
This is my masterpiece. As you can see the bottom is not very well made, which made my point in the teaching. Maybe I'll share that with you someday.
The biggest thing I have learnt about being on long-term mission is to not jump in too fast to what you are doing. Take time to see what culture you are moving into, and don't feel the pressure to do more than you have to. I have seen burnout before, and I am no use to anyone in that state. But more than that, just being here, I know God is using me to do his work, even in the small.
I also want to that the people who are supporting me, God is providing for me very well here. I am starting to make new friends, however much I am missing friends and family in the UK. I will be sending out a newsletter very soon. If you haven't received my october newsletter yet, then please let me know and I can send you a link.
Anyway, some of the feedback I got from my blogging is that they are too long, so hopefully I will be writing shorter blogs and more often.
Thanks for reading,