Tuesday, March 12, 2013

System Overload

A Note of Explanation: Despite the rather ominous title, this is quite the positive post. However, I tend to imagine my brain as capable to handle only a certain amount of crazy busy before it starts dreaming of electric sheep. Thus, I also imagine it giving me status reports in a polite, electronic voice - "all systems go," " system overload," "low fuel," "system failure," etc.

Well, this week is pretty much jam-packed with craziness. In addition to all my funds being due in two days' time, I have a group research project to work on (read: start) and a militant atheist to follow up with, not to mention the fact that I won't be speaking until Saturday except for evangelism and keeping up with supporters from home.

But I do need to tell you the cool things God has been doing around here. We'll go chronologically.

Week 8 was all about evangelism, and is my favorite week so far. The speaker somehow managed to combine all my passions and experiences in speech and debate in his teaching of how to share the Gospel. I'm telling you, it's majorly exciting to realize that your background in analyzing strangers to persuade them to your side can actually be used for good! And yes, I know I was told that inside the league at almost every opportunity. Some people are just slow learners.

For application that week, we did street preaching. All American prejudices against showing my hand aside, it was an incredible time. We were in Northbridge on Thursday night as usual, and just had a whole lot of personal testimonies and presentation of the good news. That night, two people prayed to repair their relationships with God! That was a first for our team!

The next day, Ian resurfaced. Remember the false prophet I mentioned a while ago? Yeah. So one of the girls in my school, Nicole, is from Germany. She was sitting in the city centre, reading a book, when she happened to over hear the conversation of two women near her. It dealt with one of the women's children, and Nicole felt she was supposed to talk to them about Jesus. This was not on any base evangelism day, just on her own.

Anyway, as soon as she decided to talk with them, Ian walked up to her and started staring at her intensely. Nicole tried to ignore him, but the second time she made eye contact, he started speaking about how she and her country had killed so many people, and how she had to come Australia to kill more. Nicole told him that Satan had told him that, at which point Ian walked away.

Nicole was then able to share with the women, who asked her for prayer into the situation.

On a side note, I really like the philosophy of evangelism here in YWAM. It can essentially be summed up as "effective evangelism ends up bringing the subject closer to Jesus than when the conversation started." It definitely takes the pressure off, as I am no longer expected to hit people over the head with a pre-canned "turn or burn" speech, and can instead focus on actually getting to know and care for that person.

On the same note, I still suck at starting conversations with complete strangers.

That weekend, I started emailing with a young man I had encountered on outreach with the drug kids of Perth. This particular gent was not part of the gang, but because he was on break from working in the mines and his best friend ran with that group, he was out with them too. Bonus points for run on sentences, OK?

When I first met him, we spent a while arguing about the Bible and the difference between absolute Biblical truth (do not kill) and cultural Biblical truth (don't wear anklets with bells on them). The weekend after week 8, I discovered a Facebook message from him, wanting to continue the argument in person sometime. Granted, this request was phrased in terms of the "intellectual challenge" I presented, but I figure any opportunity to talk about God while using the skills I learned in debate should be seized upon.

Piled on top of that lot, I became very I'll during week nine. It didn't become apparent until that Wednesday, and I still don't know what it was. It involved a fever, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dizziness, and a hoarse voice. I'm pleased to report that I didn't miss a single class, but don't assume that I was present for them. I sat in the back of the room, alternatively bundled up and not, trying not to fall asleep or fall over while the teacher taught.

I'm very glad that I wasn't incapacitated until Wednesday. Tuesday was my shift for Hands-On Compassion, and it seemed like my team would finally be able to visit the detention centre, which had opened up for the first time for the previous group. It was not to happen.

However, I think God never actually wanted me in the detention centre. I'm almost 100% certain I joined the Priceless group to give me a greater heart for city people. Every week we haven't been allowed in the jail, we've gone to the city instead.

Last Tuesday was pretty incredible. That morning I'd dressed as closely to my Northwest normal as I could, complete with hair, make up, and matching weather. The fact that it was overcast seemed enough to make my day pretty awesome (it is the simple things in life), but when we went into the city, we ran into a group of cybergoths and punks who were just chilling on a corner.

It was my first time having someone try to sell me drugs - pot and speed - and it was really heart-breaking to hear a 17 year old state calmly that drugs are the only reason people like me talk to people like them. It was a great time - I had a conversation about Bach and classical music theory with an older punk man who called himself "Vomit," but the thing I really was impressed by that week was how diverse and wonderful city people are.

I have another update to write, so I'll let this one die now.

Thank you for your prayers!

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