Project Summary

GoingBoldly.mov (33.5MB) - Thanks to Amanda Colegrove for compiling and producing this video!

Project

Location: Manchester, England
Date: 19-29 July 2002
Organization: Kalamazoo Valley Family Church
Mission: World Harvest Bible Church, Matthew Beemer

Team

Size:
13 people

Team Leaders:
Kurt Brandt

Composition:
7 people from Kalamazoo Valley Family Church, Portage, MI
4 people from (Grand Rapids church), Grand Rapids, MI
1 person from Houston, TX
1 person from local ministry

Purpose: Going Boldly

Going Boldly

Going Boldly


The purpose of this trip is to:

  1. Serve this ministry and its people by one to one witnessing, servant evangelism, sports evangelism, and drama.
  2. Cultivate a heart for missions and missionaries. This is a missions trip not a holiday and each participant should be mentally and spiritually prepared to be stretched including team leaders.

(From the Manchester 2002 Missions Trip Manual, Matthew Beemer, WHBC)

Purpose: The Why:

The Purpose of our trip is to bring the Gospel to the unsaved people in Manchester, England, and to encourate and support the efforts of World Harvest Bible Church.

Mission: The How:

Our team will accomplish our purpose by:

  • Preparing with Purpose, through prayer and practice
  • Sharing with Boldness, through drama and on-on-one evangelism
  • Caring with Passion, through Christ-like love and encouragement

(From the Manchester 2002 Missions Trip Manual, KVFC)

The purpose of this trip was street evangelism in inner-city Manchester, and witnessing and serving during the Commonwealth Games taking place in Manchester from July 25 to August August 4. Street evangelism would take several forms, from performing dramas and musical choreography in order to draw crowds and then dispersing in the gathered crowds for one-on-one witnessing and evangelism, to passing out tracts amongst the athletes and spectators during Commonwealth Games events, to engaging forgotten and neglected youth through hackey sack and other sport, to engaging the alternative-lifestyle crowd in Manchester's well-known Canal Street district. Outreach also included passing out leaflets and information regarding a preschool being started by WHBC that fall, and going door to door to invite people to attend a mid-week service held at the Rhodes Anglican parish and led by the team.

Itinerary

Thu 18 July: Travel - Kalamazoo, MI, to Frankfurt, Germany
Fri 19July: Travel - Frankfurt, Germany, to Manchester, England. Settle in to flat; welcome dinner.
Sat 20 July: Training - cultural training, rehearse dramas and choreographies with full team.
Sun 21 July: Church service at WHBC, fellowship lunch. Distributed preschool info leaflets around Salford
Mon 22 July: Tourist Day: Lakes District - Lake Windermere/Ambleside
Tue 23 July: Street Ministry - Manchester City Centre
Wed 24 July: Street Ministry - Manchester City Centre; Free afternoon - shopping, Queen's processional
Thu 25 July: Street Ministry - Commonwealth Games canteen/ministry - Stadium
Fri 26 July: Street Ministry - Saint Ann's Square, Canal Street (Red Light District)
Sat 27 July: Street Ministry - Saint Ann's Square, Canal Street
Sun 28 July: Church service at WHBC, Street Ministry - Commonwealth Games (Lowry Center, Manchester Stadium)
Mon 29 July: Street Ministry
Tue 30 Jul: Travel - Manchester to London, England; London, England to Chicago, IL
Wed 31 Jul: Travel - Chicago, IL, to Kalamazoo, MI

Travel Delays, Part One

As the WHBC Manchester 2002 Missions Trip Manual pointed out, the key words to any missions project are Love, Faith, Prayer, and Flexibility. The latter principle demonstrated itself immediately, as upon the KVFC group's arrival at the Kalamazoo Airport, we were informed that our flight to Chicago O'Hare had been delayed by an hour. This delay was not initially a concern, as the group had a three-hour layover scheduled in Chicago. However, this one-hour delay turned into a flight cancellation, and our flight to Chicago turned into a van ride. Due to construction and rush-hour traffic, the group missed the connecting flight from Chicago to Munich, Germany, and were transferred to a later flight to Frankfurt, Germany, and from there, directly to Manchester. The group arrived in Manchester about a half-day behind schedule, but no worse for the wear.

Expected flight itinerary:

Depart Kalamazoo: 1:55 PM (ET)
Arrive Chicago O'Hare: 1:45 PM (CT)

Depart Chicago O'Hare 4:30 PM (CT)
Arrive Munich, Germany 8:20 AM (local)

Depart Munich, Germany 9:10 AM (local)
Arrive Manchester, England 10:20 AM (local)

Actual flight itinerary:

Depart Kalamazoo: 2:30 PM (ET), via van
Arrive Chicago O'Hare: 4:30 PM (CT)

Depart Chicago O'Hare: 9:50 PM (CT)
Arrive Frankfurt, Germany: 1:30 PM (local)

Depart Frankfurt, Germany: 3:30 PM (local)
Arrive Manchester, England 4:30 PM (local)

Orientation, Joining Forces, and Preparation

The team stayed in a three-storey flat in Salford, a suburb of Manchester where WHBC is located. Living conditions were quite good - luxurious, in fact, in comparision with conditions in other mission fields. The team were well-provided with food in the kitchen, and all had beds to sleep in. The only thing approaching a hardship was the necessity of sharing a single toilet (Brittish term for "bathroom") amongst thirteen people - a particular hardship for the three men sharing that one toilet with ten women!

The first few days in Manchester involved combining the group from KVFC, the group from Grand Rapids, and the rest of the team. The combined team spent this time at WHBC uniting in spirit, and practicing dramas and choreography together. The team practiced such dramas as "The Sargeant", "Impressing God", "Living Water", and "The Heart", along with choreographies to the Audio Adrenaline songs "Mighty Good Leader" and "It Is Well With My Soul". Additionally, the team participated in the Sunday service at WHBC.

Street Evangelism

Most of the street evangelism centered around the Manchester City Centre . After facing some resistance from the local police in our attempts to set up our sound system to perform dramas and musical choreographies, we were blessed to have the verger of the St. Ann's Church allow us the use of the church's property as our "home base" for our efforts. What a blessing indeed this turn of events proved to be, as the 18th-centurySt. Ann's Church anchors St. Ann's Square, which literally teemed with people the entire time we were there. The team would begin with a choreography, using the music to draw the attention of the crowd, and the performance to hold their curiosity. Once the performance ended, the team would either disperse into the crowd to hand out tracts or engage in conversation, or transition into a drama and then disperse into the crowd.

The team spent time in other areas of the City Centre as well. In Exchange Square, the team handed out tracts, or used "surveys" to open up conversations about spirituality, morality, and life after death. In general, while quite hesitant to have others' views forced upon them, those the team encountered were quite open to conversations regarding beliefs about these issues - much more so than the average person on the street of an American city. This openness and willingness to discuss beliefs on a "philosophical" level providied many opportunities for the work of the Spirit in planting seeds of truth in a non-confrontational manner. The team also spent two evenings in the Canal Street district, Manchester's well-known gay village.

Other areas of evangelism included an inner-city market, a local mall, an inner-city skate park run as a Christian outreach ministry, various Commonwealth Games locations - outside the Manchester Sttadium during opening ceremonies, at the start/finish line of a bike race, and along the route of a race-walking event.

Originally, the team was scheduled to work canteens for the Commonwealth Games, as part of the More Than Gold ministry, but this endeavor didn't pan out. (WHY?)

One Church, One Body

The team were blessed to have several local church members volunteer time and effort to participate in the team's work. Mustafa, an Iranian immigrant and former Muslim who converted to Christianity, spent nearly the entire time with the team. His efforts were invaluable, and he added much-needed light-heartedness, perspective, and wisdom, from which everyone benefitted. Mustafa also blessed the team by cooking an authentic Iranian meal one evening. Other members of WHBC and the local church body blessed the team as well. The evening of our arrival, Andy Pell, vicar of All Saints Anglican Parish, and his wife Linda welcomed the team to Manchester with an American-style barbeque. WHBC members Bernard and Lorrainne, immigrants from South Africa, prepared a chili dinner for the team one evening. Jeff and Beth Cason, the local ministers overseeing the team, treated the team to dinner at an Indian restaurant one evening. Other WHBC members joined us various days as we worked in the city. We also joined forces one afternoon in St. Ann's Square with a youth group from Liverpool who were also in Manchester to minister during the Commonwealth Games.

Other Highlights

The team spent one rest day in the middle of the trip in the Lake Country (FIND LINK), visiting the towns of Windermere and Ambleside, and touring Lake Windermere. The team had planned to do some hill climbing in the area, but inclement weather made such a venture unsafe. On an interesting, related note, before leaving for England, the team prayed that God would provide good weather during all the times the team would be witnessing and evangelizing. The only day the team experienced rain during the trip was this day spent in leisure activity. What an amazing witness to God's desire to answer the prayers of His saints, and a reminder that truly God is a God of details.

Another highlight was Queen Elizabeth II's presence in Manchester, both for the opening ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games and also as part of the celebration of the Queen's 50-year Jubilee. On the afternoon of the opening ceremonies for the games, the Queen walked in procession through Exchange Square on her way to the Manchester Cathedral. A parade atmosphere developed as Her Majesty's procession made its way along the Exchange Square route. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, when the Queen, moving from one side of the barricaded street to the other, greeting spectators along the way, came directly toward two team members - me and James - and stopped to talk with us ( primarily James) briefly!

Travel Delays, Part Two

The team prepared to return home from London Heathrow by way of ground transportation from Manchester. However, upon boarding the plane from London to Chicago O'Hare, the team experienced yet more travel delays. Not unexpectedly, the departure from Heathrow was delayed due to incliment weather. After sitting in the plane, on the tarmac for about an hour and a half, the flight finally departed. With just enough time scheduled in the original flight itinerary to clear customs on the ground in Chicago before boarding a connecting flight to Kalamazoo, the team were once again faced with the likelihood of missing a flight. Indeed, arriving home that night was not to be; the connecting flight was the last one to Kalamazoo that night. The team had no other option than to wait until morning to catch the first flight out, so back to the terminal they went, to spend the night sleeping on the floor. The team finally returned to Kalamazoo the next morning, after a thankfully uneventful flight.

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