Stephanie Gillette (2nd row left) and Zac Wyse (back row right) are leading the team in Liverpool. Soon they and several of their team will be out the door helping with projects in other nations. On the 15th, KC (in yellow jacket) will leave for a location in the Middle East. Zac, Steph, and Gen (front right) will leave for St. Petersburg, Russia. In St. Pete, they will be there with a team of students and staff from all over the UK to share the gospel with students on campus as well at a sports camp. From St. Pete, they will go with Russian students to CM 2007.
Zac and Steph recently learned there will not be a STINT team next year due to a lack of laborers. But God is in control! A group of key students will carry on the work coached by UK Agape staff. Also 4 of the 6 on their team will remain in UK. Gen and Seong (back row left) has been offered jobs at their respective churches in Liverpool heading up university student work, KC will be remain in Liverpool too to get her graduate degree in History and Zac will be a student worker for UCCF in Manchester.
I found myself re-reading Isaiah 61 recently. You might recall we looked at this almost 11 months ago at STINT Leaders Trg. It’s sort of the standard passage for me when I think of what we are trusting God to do. Things like where folks from Great Lakes go to Liverpool to launch movements and then go with Liverpoolians to stage their own ‘British invasion’ in St. Pete to launch movements among Russian students who hopefully will one day go to other country and so on. It is where we plant and others will come behind to water (either as a team on the ground or from a distance) but God causes the growth!
As you recall, the context of Isaiah 61 is a message to those held in captivity in Babylon. But we know also it is really more than that because Jesus said His ministry fulfilled this passage. And since we are sent out likewise I believe it should be a model of how we are to do ministry.
The first few verses paint a picture of the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom: the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord anoints the Messiah so that the poor have the Good News preached to them to them, the hearts that are broken are bound, the captives hear of their freedom, the prisoners hear of their release from darkness, and the mournful are comforted. It is the proclamation of year of the Lord’s favor (to those who being saved) and the day of vengeance (to those perishing). The poetic picture of transformation is as one who grieves being crowned with beauty instead of ashes, being anointed with an oil of gladness instead of mourning and being robed with a garment of praise instead of a cloak of despair.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Those who were poor, those who were brokenhearted, those who were held captive and imprisoned, those who mourned and grieve, those who heard this message and were transformed --- they will be these oaks. They will be a planted movement for the display of God’s glory!
They rebuild the ancient ruins of their nation. They restore the places long devastated. They renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. It is these students you have been proclaiming this message too, that you have been helping ground in the transforming message of the Christ and understand the transforming power of His Spirit who will be the ones to carry this same message to transform the UK, Russia, Croatia, East Asia, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Barbados and on and on.
Isaiah writes that "their descendents will be known among the nations and their offspring among all peoples". Can we dream that students from every location where you now serve will one day take this message to other nations? Can we dare to believe that not just Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Kazakhstan Italy, Germany, and on and on will be transformed but that students from all these nations will rise up, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord upon them with passports and bible in hand, and cross borders just as you have done to plant movements where students now reside in darkness and God’s glory is not known?
Whether we have seen plants sprout all over or it seems like this year we have been merely moving dirt around, may the Lord fulfill His Promise everywhere… for the display of His glory!
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.