From Suffering to Glory

Hello friends and family!

The past two weeks in London have been absolutely amazing. We have continued to meet new people and we have had some really great conversations with them. I have enjoyed getting to know the people we’ve met here. I think it all comes with one of the main things that have been emphasized while here: start where people are. To see where people are at we must first get to know them.  If you can see where people are at then you can see where the gospel intersects with their life and  connect there. We have been able to have genuine conversations with people that we can actually call our FRIENDS. Before coming I don’t think I believed I would be able to leave here with actual friends, but once again God proves me wrong.

This past week we took a brief trip to the English countryside, specifically the Cotswold area. We stayed in this small town of about 3,000 called Moreton-in-Marsh. We romped through meadows on a 5.5 mile walk through fields and cow pastures and just enjoyed being in God’s beautiful creation and around one another. We went to Borton-on-the-Water another day, which was probably one of the cutest little towns that I’ve ever been in. It rained a bit, as typical for England, but we didn’t let that get us down. It was a great time to rest and be rejuvenated before returning to the busy city to finish our last two weeks.

These past two weeks we have emphasized two things in our daily Bible study: suffering and false glory (aka, idols). In keeping with our theme verse, all suffering ultimately leads to the glory of God. We intensely studied John 11, which is about Jesus raising Lazarus, one of his good friends and the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. When Jesus hears that his good friend is ill, he says, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Jesus stays with Mary and Martha for 2 days, and then leaves again… with his sick friend STILL sick! At this point I’m sure Mary and Martha (as well as anyone who reads this), is like “what up, Jesus?! Why’d you leave? You could’ve saved him RIGHT THERE, just like you’ve saved others from their diseases!” Anyways, he leaves and heads to Judea with his disciples. A few days later, Jesus tells the disciples that Lazarus has died and they’re going back to be with Mary and Martha. When Jesus got Lazarus’ tomb he knows that Lazarus is already dead. Martha runs to Jesus and is like, “Jesus! Why didn’t you do anything?! If you were here Lazarus wouldn’t have died!” She is obviously hurting and her heart cries out to him. Jesus replies with theology, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11: 25-26). Jesus now calls Mary, who has been sitting inside by herself weeping. Mary runs out and falls at Jesus’ feet, proclaiming that if Jesus had been here then Lazarus wouldn’t have died. Jesus knew what Mary needed at that time, and it wasn’t theology like he gave Martha. Jesus weeps with her and asks to be taken to Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus commands the stone to be rolled away from the tomb, but Martha protests. She knows that bodies that have been dead for 4 days stink! But Jesus reminds her of what he said before, that if you believe you will see God’s glory. Jesus calls Lazarus out of the tomb… and out he comes.

Jesus knew that he would raise Lazarus from the dead when he left for Judea. He was so incredibly intentional in doing that. He took something that would be good (healing Lazarus) and made it into something great (raising Lazarus from the dead). I’m sure I would’ve been confused at first by what Jesus said when Lazarus was sick, that this illness does not lead to death and that God will be glorified through it. How confusing that must’ve been for the disciples and all around?! Jesus knew at that point that he would raise Lazarus. Furthermore, for the ones who have surrendered to Jesus we now have eternal life in heaven through his death (John 5:24, 1 John 5:11). No struggles on this earth will ultimately lead to death because we have eternal life. I would love to be able to say through all my struggles “this (insert struggle here) does not lead to death, but it is for the glory of God.” That brings so much peace! God uses our suffering to bring us closer to Him and to see him glorified in our own lives. This doesn’t mean that in our sufferings we cannot be sorrowful, for Jesus himself wept with Mary when Lazarus was dead. However, through our suffering we are not without hope. Romans 5:3-5 illustrates this perfectly, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” SufferingàEnduranceàCharacteràHOPE.

Wow, how amazing is God? How amazing is Jesus? I can’t even go a day while being here without just standing in awe of his goodness and greatness.

Please email me any prayer requests that you have so that I can be praying for you. I would really appreciate that. My email is bawilkes@live.unc.edu

There are some things that we would love for you to be praying for us.

  1. Pray that we wouldn’t give up just because it’s near the end. Relationships can still be made and conversations can still be had. We can’t determine what God does with a seed that’s planted here. A small conversation could move people closer to Christ.
  2. Pray that we do not undervalue these conversations. Pray for the people that we have met. I estimate we have met at least 100 people while here.
  3. Please pray for their hearts, that they would be open to knowing their Creator and they would begin to ask questions about Him.
  4. Pray that we can be bold in our conversations and not be afraid to ask THEM questions about where they are in their faith, if they don’t believe at all or if they are questioning… anything.
  5. Pray that we are not afraid. God has equipped us to do His work here on the earth, and he knows exactly what we need and has given to to us.
  6. Pray that we can sharpen each other. Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Pray that we sharpen each other in our time here.

Thanks, friends. See you in less than two weeks!!

Bethany

The Eagle and Child--the pub in Oxford where CS Lewis frequented.

The Eagle and Child–the pub in Oxford where CS Lewis frequented.

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The Bell Inn--where JRR Tolkien wrote much of The Hobbit. A lot of Bree is similar to Moreton-in-Marsh (where we stayed) and the Prancing Pony is modeled after the Bell.

The Bell Inn–where JRR Tolkien wrote much of The Hobbit. A lot of Bree is similar to Moreton-in-Marsh (where we stayed) and the Prancing Pony is modeled after the Bell.

Team photo in the countryside

Team photo in the countryside

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Today marks three weeks in London, England. I can’t believe how quickly time is flying here; however, at the same time it feels like this place is becoming another home for me. I know where things are, can (occasionally) give directions,  and have felt like I have a sense of place in this bustling city. In only a few days we’ll be half way done… crazy!

Not the weekend that just happened, but the one that happened before that, a past intern (Natalie) took us to South hall, another borough in London that is known for housing a large amount of the Indian population of London.  We went there to we could see other places of worship. Religions have always been something fascinating to me and I enjoy learning about others’ beliefs. The experience ended up being harder than I imagined. The first place we went was a Hindu temple. Upon entering we took off our shoes and proceeded inside to a big, open room full of statues of different Hindu gods. There was a man reciting prayers at one of the gods and people worshiping and praying to the gods on the floor. You could purchase milk and fruit there to make a sacrifice or an offering to the gods if you wished. We were allowed to look around, which ended up being pretty difficult for me. John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” It’s clear—the only way to God is through Jesus. That is something that other religions cannot fulfill. We were encouraged to observe in the temple and then pray, so that’s what I did. After the Hindu temple we went to a Sikh temple. The Sikh people are known for being very peaceful and hospitable, and it showed upon entering. Everyone was so friendly and they offer shelter and food for anyone who comes through their doors at literally any time of day. The day we went to observe worship there was a wedding going on; however, the altar was still at the front. Under the domed building there was a book (their holy book) that was being fanned by a man. People lined the aile up to the book to give offerings to the book and then sat on the appropriate side (men on the right, women on the left). There was a man who walked the book praying all the time, unless the book was in its “asleep” (for lack of a better word) state.

One thing that was interesting to think about while in these places was how others would perceive these places of worship. Our friend Natalie said that every time she has gone in the Hindu temple that we went to, the people have always been eager and excited to tell visitors that it was in an old Baptist church whose congregation had fizzled out. The Sikh temple was located near a church. The Sikh temple always has its doors open and a meal for all who enter, whereas the church has its doors closed. What kind of message does that send to the outside world? For me, it was just a further testament to the spiritual deadness in this place. People don’t know the Truth here. Seeing people worship something that isn’t true, that will do absolutely nothing for them besides get them an eternity of hell, put an urgency in my mind for missions. These people are souls that, if they don’t confess Jesus as Lord, will have an eternity of torture. I really long for these people to know Jesus, and not just for their eternity’s sake, but also because there is so much joy to be had in a relationship with Him. Jesus and the resurrection apply to today just as much as they apply to our eternity. Because of the resurrection we are never alone and we have a God who is in control of absolutely everything, a God who is limitless in power and abilities, we are free from judgment and we have purpose. We are free from sin and death through Christ, now and eternally… what greater gift could we give people than knowledge of a God bigger and greater than anything in this world?

Other than that, this week has been really good. I have definitely been learning that God knows my needs way more than I know mine (which can be hard to keep in mind sometimes). Some days this week have been really hard to want to go out and talk to people, but other times I feel joyful and desire to go talk to others. God has been so persistent in showing me his goodness and his grace throughout this week. When I don’t believe that anything is possible, that conversation isn’t going to happen, He always proves me wrong. He is molding and shaping my heart. He is transforming me “into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

On Friday mornings we have a meeting to dialogue about the verses we have been studying this past week. This week’s theme has been spreading God’s glory. We took a few minutes at the end of the talk to write down all the names of people that each of us have come into contact with while here that are not believers… a total of 81 names. All of them have different ideas about religion and some of the coolest stories that, for us, are evident that God is working in that person. Upon talking to one we discovered that one of her co-workers is a Christian and has talked to her about Christ. I truly believe that God was 100% sovereign in us forming that relationship and that one day she will be worshiping the Lord as well. Please take a moment and pray for these peoples’ hearts and for our interactions. These aren’t just arbitrary names on a piece of paper, but souls that long to know their Creator.

In Christ,

Bethany

London–week 2

It’s hard to believe that two weeks ago I was still in the US and asleep for my last night in my bed for seven weeks. I feel like we’ve been here for a while, but at the same time that we haven’t. I’m really growing to love this city and the people that live here. I wasn’t expecting to meet nearly as many people from other countries as I have. Most of the people come here from throughout Europe and many are here to work and learn English. I think it’s cool that we can come to one place and get a taste of so many different cultures without leaving our borough.

Throughout the first full week we were here we had orientation training. Each morning we went to a talk down with a few other groups. The other groups were only here for a week or so. I really enjoyed these topics because I feel like they are really applicable for not just here, but also when I get back to the United States. I think my favorite one talked about discipleship. A lot of times I think I (and probably many others) have the idea that discipleship is something that only goes on after someone becomes a Christian. However, our talk gave reason for it beginning at first meeting. In the United States people are often around the church beginning at a young age, even if they do not attend regularly. Churches hold charity events, bbqs, and it is not uncommon for one to attend church with a friend even just for Easter or Christmas. Even just these brief encounters are brief encounters with the gospel that can bring about discipleship or even evangelism. In England this isn’t the norm. People here do not often grow up around the church. Discipleship involves teaching moments to impart the gospel, and this occurs in daily life (where it is most applicable). Because it involves daily life it is important that you are with people daily (or at least frequently) and you know them very well. You know what people are like, what their struggles are, how they learn, what they relate to, what they enjoy, what they do not enjoy… In knowing this you are able to best minister to the person you are walking with through life. Discipleship is just life on life evangelism–living life with someone and incorporating gospel teachings into what goes on between you two and around you. For me, all of that was especially relieving to hear. I know I often work up discipleship to be a big, formal endeavor, but in reality it isn’t. Furthermore, we aren’t called to bring someone all the way to salvation. Take the story of the Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:26-35). The Eunuch had just returned from worshiping in Jerusalem and is reading scripture from Isaiah in a chariot; however, he doesn’t understand who the scripture is about. Philip tells him that the prophet is talking about Jesus and he tells him the good news about him. Afterwards the eunuch sees a pool and asks to be baptize. He becomes a follower of Christ just through Philip telling him who the scripture was about. We celebrate the reaping of the story, btu we forget about those who discipled him beforehand. We forget that someone taught him to read scripture and go to Jerusalem for worship. If someone hadn’t taught him all of that before then it is uncertain to whether or not he would have believed. Philip’s message wouldn’t have made sense without the part that came before. All parts are important, and even if you never see someone come to salvation, it doesn’t mean they never will through someone else. I find that especially encouraging considering we will only be here for 7 weeks. Even if nobody enters into a relationship with Christ it doesn’t mean we haven’t made an impact in this city.

This past weekend we took a trip to Brighton just to enjoy being around each other and celebrate our first week in London. Brighton is this really beautiful city in the south of the UK on the coast. The beach there is all pebbles, not sand like back in North Carolina. While there we got to go to shops and explore. My friend Caroline put it well when she said, “I feel like I’ve spent the day shopping on Etsy!” Everything was really adorable. I bought a dress, which many of you know is my favorite item of clothing. I also got to have my first cream tea. It was so amazing, and Caroline and I have said that when we get back to NC we think we should open a place that sells cream tea. Cream tea is basically a pot of tea, scones, clotting cream, and jam. The scones taste much like biscuits back in America (biscuits here=cookies in America). I got peppermint green tea and she got caramel cream rooibos tea, which was absolutely amazing. I plan on ordering some before I leave to go to the States. After our tea we went to spend some time on the beach reading our books. It was really relaxing, and not nearly as hot as it is on the American beaches right now. The weather was warm and sunny, which we were really grateful for considering most of our days here (including today) are very cloudy and stay mainly in the mid 50s. Sunday and Monday were also really beautiful. On Sunday we had a picnic in the park and invited our friends we have met to join and on Monday we had our Sabbath. I really enjoyed our first Sabbath in London! We slept in and then did our individual time with God outside in the sunshine. I wore my new dress from Brighton, and then we went into the city to Patisserie Valerie, a small French cafe, near Trafalger Square. When we got off the tube we began to search for the cafe, but began heading in a different direction because I heard an orchestra playing! I knew that the London Symphony Orchestra was doing a concert in Trafalger Square that evening, but we couldn’t go because we were having dinner with someone. However, I got lucky that they were having a rehearsal right when we walked up! As if the day couldn’t be any better! We listened to them rehearse for a bit and took some photos, then continued on our way to the cafe. At the cafe I got cream tea with raspberry tea. After our tea we headed out to see Big Ben again since our last time there we didn’t get to spend much time there and were very cold and tired. It was a great day for photos. It started to get to be time for dinner, so we headed home and I took a nap. I hope our next Sabbath is just as restful. It definitely put me in a great mood and perspective for the rest of the week.

If you’ve gotten this far then I’m definitely impressed. I didn’t expect to write nearly that much, but I’m just really excited to be able to share this experience with everyone! Please continue to pray for peoples’ hearts here, that they will be open to hearing the good news of Jesus Christ and that we would be bold in our conversations with others. Help us long to see God glorified in this place and see people redeemed. Help us seek God daily in even the smallest, most insignificant of things.

Much love,

Bethany

The five of us spent our Sabbath together in the central city. Left to right: Macklyn, Christa, Tori, me, Caroline

The five of us spent our Sabbath together in the central city.
Left to right: Macklyn, Christa, Tori, me, Caroline

My first cream tea!

My first cream tea!

Me and Caroline about to take our first sips of tea

Me and Caroline about to take our first sips of tea

Me and Macklyn on Brighton's beach. Notice the pebbles! Pretty cool

Me and Macklyn on Brighton’s beach. Notice the pebbles! Pretty cool

Me and Caroline with the London Symphony Orchestra! They were playing Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz.

Me and Caroline with the London Symphony Orchestra! They were playing Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz.

London–week 1

We have officially almost been in this big city for a week now! It has been crazy at how quickly time passes. Each day seems so short, but that’s okay. I have loved every second of it. 🙂

We arrived in London around 7 AM and met Krissy and two of the interns working with us (Tara and Antoinette) at the airport. They had oyster cards for us to take the tube to where we are staying (oyster cards are the little passes for using the tube and bus system). We took the tube in via the Picadilly line and got off close to our borough, Ealing, which is in the west part of London. We then took the bus, double decker of course, to where we will be staying for the next few weeks. While here we are living in a girls hostel run by some Italian nuns. It is right across the street from Krissy’s house and we have spent quite a few nights over with her just talking and eating dinner. She is so kind and an amazing listener. I feel like I’ll learn a lot from her. She has a degree in counseling and is very wise and full of insight into the culture here and living missionally. After dropping off our stuff at our hostel, we freshened up a bit and took the tube into the central city to see the main tourist sights: Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Millennium, Big Ben, Westminster… you name it, we probably saw it. We will have many more opportunities to go into the city, so this was a pretty quick glance at everything. We spent about 7 hours in the city (I think…) and then went to dinner at this place called Nandos. I went to one when I was in NZ, but they have mainly chicken dishes. We were so exhausted after having been up for essentially 31 hours straight and we slept really early! The nuns have breakfast for us every morning, which usually consists of toast, drinking chocolate (aka, hot chocolate… cadberry of course), and coffee. They also provide us dinner if we ask, but so far we have only eaten there once.

The last few days have consisted of orientation in the morning. I usually get up at 7 or 7:20 to shower and get ready for the day. After eating breakfast I do our daily Bible study, usually with my good friend Macklyn. We have a list of verses that we are studying each day while here that all relate back to our theme, which as I mentioned before is “glory” and comes from Romans 8:18 (For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.) We have a book that we are reading as a team as well called Questioning Evangelism which I really like because it gives you a new way to look at evangelism and how to discuss God with others in a way that brings about more discussion instead of us just giving answers. After that we leave for our morning talk. This is usually done by Krissy or Chris, both of whom are living here through the IMB (International Missions Board). We have discussed the gospel, the church, planting the seed of the gospel, and discipleship, to name a few topics. After this meeting we head out to Simple Church. I really enjoy this part of the day. Our team of 10 is divided into smaller groups of 3-4 and are assigned a cafe to go have a Bible study in. Our group of four goes out with Tara, one of the interns, to Caffe Nero, a cafe chain in London. There we study passages of the Bible and ask a few basic questions about them every time. Many of the churches (like, organized establishment) here need to be revived and just are dead now, so considering that the church is really a who in that it is a body made up of PEOPLE they bring church to where the people are. This is why it is called Simple Church. One who has never been introduced to the Gospel may be more likely to attend a small group discussion like this than enter in a church building. It’s so different in America in this regard. In America many people grow up around a church even if they don’t attend one every day. Here that is just a foreign concept. People literally come from around the world to live here, and many of those countries have barely any religion. Religion here seems to be like, something that is an ancient artifact in a museum. Yes, it’s a part of the ancient and historical story of this country, but nothing that would be of value for the present day. Being a Christian can be difficult because you see the brokenness of this place and just want to be like “No!! What you have isn’t joy, but I can show you true joy. I want to give you this treasure that is Jesus!” but obviously it’s not that easy. You have to establish a relationship with people before they’ll give a lick about what you say. Chris described it really well in this way: People have a cup of attention, and the people of London have cups that are full (imagine a full cup of water here). Then we come along and give them something else to pay attention to (that is, Jesus Christ). They physically cannot add that to their cup because it’s already full. Therefore, either something that has previously captured their attention has to leave or what you have to offer has to be disregarded. If they don’t know you well then why would they care about what you have to say?! Simple Church is also great in that it establishes a presence. Think of the cafes you frequent.. you probably see some people there all the time. You may smile and wave at that person. I’m sure you would feel much more comfortable talking to this person for the first time than a complete stranger. After Simple Church we have the afternoon free to meet up with old contacts or to make new ones. On our first day it was really sunny, so the park was a great place to go! We met three girls and two guys and are hoping to get to hang out with them more. It is a bit difficult right now because the schools are in exams, just like the schools back in America. I’ve hung out with one girl that I met at our hostel named Ana quite a bit. She is from Spain, and I think we’ll become good friends. I can even use Spanish with her, which has been a great blessing.

This weekend our team is taking the overground train to Brighton, which is on the coast. I’m really excited for this team bonding day and hope it’ll be really nice weather 🙂 On Sunday we’ll be having a BBQ as well, but obviously not with American BBQ unfortunately. We are all missing some American food, such a sweet tea, chick fil a, bojangles, American biscuits (here biscuits are cookies)… typical southern food. Haha, but we will get along. I’m really looking forward to the friendships we form and exploring more of this neat city!

Also, on a side note, I’m not sure if many of you heard about the attack in London yesterday afternoon. I’m not anywhere near that attack (yes, in the same city, not in the same borough). My place is in Ealing, which is in West London and that was in Southeast London. We are all safe and know to avoid protests. Please be praying for this person and their group, that they wouldn’t take any more lives, their families, and the family of the man who was killed. We are all broken because of our sin, and it just makes my heart long more and more for this city and these people to see the glory of Jesus and be redeemed. Just as our theme verse says, when Jesus comes all of the sufferings of right now will seem like nothing. How amazing is it that in the midst of such tragedy that we can put our hope in such a loving and powerful Savior?! I’m just blown away by his mercy and faithfulness every day.

Much love,

Bethany

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Girls in front of Buckingham Palace

Team infront of Buckingham Palace

Team infront of Buckingham Palace

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Today is the day!

Today is the day!!! We’re currently sitting in the RDU airport waiting for our flight to London, England. I can’t believe that this entire semester of preparation has finally led to this moment! It’s a day that has been long-awaited and, to be honest, I’m still in shock that it is finally here. Thank you so much to all who have supported me financially and have been praying for me and my team throughout this entire process. You all mean the world to me, and putting the amount of gratitude I have for you into words would be pretty much impossible. I have learned so much about God’s grace and provision throughout this time support raising. The Lord has brought me to my knees in tears just because I was so in awe of His goodness and grace. While raising support has been difficult at times, I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything. God knew exactly how to make it happen and He had a plan for getting me and my team to London! 

Cheers, friends!!! 

Bethany

PS–below is a picture of my team! We’re excited to be leaving in such a short period of time!

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How faithful is our God!!!

Hello friends!!

I hope you have all had a wonderful week and are enjoying this amazing weather!

I just wanted to post an update to share the amazing things that God has done over the last week and a half. As many of you saw on Facebook or on here, I was told last Sunday that if I didn’t have $4,000 towards my trip raised by May 1 I wouldn’t be able to go. Well, that goal hasn’t been met quiet yet, but it has been amazing to see how the Lord is faithful in providing for His children. If you had told me that I would have $3,770 of the total $5,500 raised by today I would NEVER have believed you. Just eight days ago I was below the $2,000 mark. How incredible is that?! GOd knew all along that my support would come in this way, I just had to be patient and wait for Him to act in peoples’ hearts. It’s just a further testament to how powerLESS i am and how powerFUL he is. I can’t persuade people to give, I can’t make people go to the website to give online, I can’t make people who I’ve already contacted remember to give online… only HE can put that on peoples’ minds and hearts! I am so quick to forget that and try to rely on my own efforts.

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1

God has the power to will earthly kings to do His will. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a king, and I don’t know any kings either. We are so powerless in comparison to a king, and even more in comparison to God, yet God has the ability to change and move the heart of even the most powerful world leaders. Changing our hearts is an easy task that He can do at his will.

I feel really humbled by this process. Humbled that all of it is due to GOD working in people, not by anything I have done. It is due to HIS goodness and HIS grace. God is always faithful. He is going before us, fighting for us, and he has already won for us!

Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.'” Deuteronomy 1: 29-32

“for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4
I’m $230 away from the $4,000 mark that I MUST reach by May 1 to go on the trip to London and $1,730 away from FULL SUPPORT! I am praying to reach this by the time I leave for London! I know that God is faithful and God is gracious. If you would like to join my support team and help take the Gospel to London, England you can give online via this link (click “give as guest”) or send me an email at bawilkes@live.unc.edu and I can give you more information about by trip as well as inform you of where to mail other forms of support. I would love it if you would share this with anyone that you know as well!
Much love,
Bethany  

CCP Retreat Weekend

This weekend was a weekend that I have been anticipating for a long time: CCP retreat weekend. It has been truly an amazing time together of fellowship with my team and learning more about our vision for the summer.

Our theme for the summer is… GLORY! We want to see God glorified in London. We’ll be centering our summer around Romans 8:18, “for I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed to us.” How amazing is that??? We went over this verse in our time together this morning and came up with a few observations and principles that I thought were pretty incredible.

  • It’s not even worth comparing the glory that will be revealed with the suffering. The glory wins every. single. time. Trying to compare is wasting our time.
  • The glory WILL be revealed. We know the outcome of the game because the game has already been won. Christ has risen, we have been redeemed. God promises us the victory!
  • Christ suffered and was glorified in the resurrection. If the Son of God suffered in the world, how much more are we going to? And as sons and daughters of God through the redemption through Jesus’ blood, we, too, will be glorified!

One other cool thing we got to do was skype a man who is currently a youth worker over in London. He is friends with the missions coordinator through the IMB (International Missions Board) person that we will be working with. He shared some interesting perspective about our time in London.  My favorite thing we talked about was living your life as a mission. I think it’s something that we toss around a lot, but it’s so hard to actually do. Especially as a university student I find it hard to integrate ministry time with class time, study time, and work time; however, missions isn’t a light switch. You don’t turn your missions on and off. It’s like the sun, always burning and always present, even in normal, every day conversations. I think this is something that I really want to work on before I go to London as well as while over there.

This weekend has really made this summer seem real. It’s not that far off, friends! We officially leave the United States on May the 16th!! I can’t even begin to describe all the emotions swirling through my head at the moment. It’s been amazing to see how God has given me such a strong desire to see these people come to know the love of Jesus Christ. I know that the trip will be really hard at times. People may argue against our beliefs, criticize us, not care, or even say hurtful things; however, as it says in our verse (above), these sufferings are NOTHING!! We literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I have really been encouraged by the notes I get from people in regards to support raising. While on retreat this weekend we were also told that if we don’t have $4,000 by May 1st that we can’t go to London. I currently only have $2,000, so if any of you feel led to give for the first time or give more I would be extremely appreciative (as always). We are told in the Bible that where ever our treasure lies, there our heart will be also. I’m really praying that God will raise up laborers to become a part of my team. We all have a role to play in God’s mission, whether it be going, supporting prayerfully, or supporting financially. I really hope you will consider joining my team in helping fulfill the Great Commission and taking the Gospel to the NATIONS!!!!!

https://public.serviceu.com/GivingForm/11893/?OrgKey=d6b6fb29-cc34-4ee3-8ce8-d9168ca7116a&RN=2021056326&SGUID=9198495A-0CEE-4061-BABE-96B0703C6FAB&RN=221819386

Much love,

Bethany

Hello family & friends!!!

I hope you all are doing well and enjoying this beautiful spring weather (if it is in your area, that is)!! It certainly has been a beautiful day at Carolina today, and I’m really enjoying it. I hope it’s here to stay!!!

The past few weeks have definitely had their ups and downs. Thankfully, I’m all recovered from getting my wisdom teeth extracted. I have also been really lucky to be able to spend some nice time with my family this past weekend at the beach, which I haven’t done in years. My brother and I got to get breakfast together on Friday and look at the meaning behind Good Friday from a study that John Piper created for Holy Week. It was really great to sit down and share in that time with him. I have been a little busy with school work over the past few weeks, and that has been a bit stressful. I can’t believe the semester is almost coming to a close and I’ll only have two semesters left at Carolina! I think I can speak for a lot of people my age when I say that I don’t feel like it has already been 3 years in university. It’s incredible to think back to how I’ve changed the past few years. A lot of this reflection comes from talking to my sister about her first year in college this fall. I am so excited for her and have been praying a lot for her time in school. I know she’s going to love her time at NC State, and even though she’s not coming to Carolina I couldn’t be more proud of her.

Once again, thank you to all those who have mailed me support thus far! I’m really praying to be at $3,700 by April 12th, which makes about $2,000 to raise over the next two weeks! I know it’s a large goal, but I know we also have an amazing God who can do all things!!! I hope you’ll join me in prayer for this goal!

I am still working on calling people up, but as you can imagine a college student schedule differs a lot from a working adult schedule. Hopefully I can get to most everyone within the next week. 🙂 I really have enjoyed getting to catch up with people and hope the good conversation keeps on coming! If you know of a friend who would be interested in giving I would love to talk to them as well! Just email me at bawilkes@live.unc.edu . You can also share this page on your Facebook to let other’s know as well. Thank you, sisters and brothers!!!

Much love,

Bethany

PS–If you would like to donate to my mission trip to London (or if you would just like to save a stamp) you can donate online via the link below! It’s super easy and the money will be sent to Campus Outreach through the Summit Church and will be placed into my account for the trip. Thanks in advance 🙂

https://public.serviceu.com/GivingForm/11893/?OrgKey=d6b6fb29-cc34-4ee3-8ce8-d9168ca7116a&RN=2021056326&SGUID=9198495A-0CEE-4061-BABE-96B0703C6FAB&RN=221819386

God’s glory, my joy, and support raising

Hello again everyone! Excuse the long delay between posts… still trying to get the hang of this blogging thing. It’s a lot harder than it seems!

A few weeks ago our team had another meeting. It was so great to see everyone again and just hang out and get to know one another. We got dinner at Moe’s and then went over to the Peace House (the staff house for NCSU’s Campus Outreach staff) to talk about how our support raising has been going. We also looked at an article by John Piper, a phenomenal speaker and pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If you would like to read the article, here’s a link to it: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/there-is-no-greater-satisfaction

This article is really great in explaining how God is most glorified. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in HIM. He argues that our joy and pursuit of bringing glory to God are indeed not at odds. I think this is definitely something that many people struggle with, including myself. It can sometimes feel like a burden to want to tell people about Christ or to veer of what I have planned for myself and accept what God has planned for me. Ultimately, it’s always worth it. Always. Here’s a small excerpt from the article that I think is so full of truth:

“This means that the human quest for joy leads straight to the missionary heart of God. You can see it already. But let me put it together: God is the fountain of joy because he is blindingly glorious, and infinitely worthy, and breathtakingly beautiful, and awesome in power, and inscrutable in wisdom, and limitless in knowledge, and tender in mercy, and terrible in wrath, and the source and foundation of all truth and goodness and beauty. When we see him for what he really is, and turn from all the broken cisterns of the world that cannot satisfy (Jeremiah 2:13), we find “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).”

I really encourage you to read this article. It can really change your opinion in how you picture the relationship between your joy and God’s glory.

In regards to support raising, it has definitely had its ups and downs. I’d just like to say thank you so very much to all who have contributed! Truly, this mission would not be possible without all of your generous gifts. I’m encouraged by your willingness and desire to help advance God’s kingdom. It’s a constant reminder that THIS is what God has planned for me this summer and that He is a faithful father who desires to provide for His children and see people come to know and find joy in Him. I still have a long way to go and a lot of money to earn, but I know that it’s in God’s hands; all I can do is send letters, pray, and talk with people. It’s up to Him to work in peoples’ hearts to give. How reassuring is that?! It reminds me of Psalm 127:1….

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”

Other than praying for my supporters, team, and the people we’ll meet overseas, one of the other things I pray for is that I’m not laboring in vain. I really pray that I am trusting the Lord 10000% with this process. I know that He is a faithful father and that he wants to provide for his children, and even though my head knows that to be true it is sometimes hard for my heart to stay in this perspective. If God can provide for his people wandering in the desert for 40 years then how easy is it for him to provide for me and my team?!

I hope that you all are doing well and enjoying your week. To all my fellow UNC students, hope you’re having a safe spring break!

Bethany

Hello!
My name is Bethany, and if you’re reading this then you’re most likely one of my friends or family that know about my trip to London (I’ve been quite excited and have been telling lots of people…). I started this blog so that I could provide a way of keeping in touch with my friends back in the States and abroad while in overseas and share in my experiences preparing for the trip.

Earlier this school year (December, to be exact) I was challenged to go on a Cross Cultural Project (CCP) with Campus Outreach, the campus ministry I am involved with at UNC-Chapel Hill. At the time I had been considering other mission opportunities for the summer, but after praying, studying God’s Word, and looking at the things I desired out of my summer it came to be that London was the perfect place for me. I am part of a team of eleven (4 men and 7 women). Nine of us are students, all the girls coming from UNC and the guys coming from NCSU. Our team leaders are on staff with Campus Outreach. I’m really excited about spending more time with the wonderful people on our team as well as everyone we will meet in London!

While in London we will be concentrating mainly on the students and people around West London University. We are seeking to build relationships with these students in hopes of being able to share our faith with them and help guide them to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We will do this by hanging out with students around campus, meeting for lunch/dinner, and going out with students throughout the day. When not with students we will receive evangelism and perspective training, study the Bible together, and grow in our relationships with each other and with Christ. The skills we learn while on this trip will be valuable for our entire lives, but more importantly there are people in London whose eternities could be changed by our interactions. Romans 10:14 says “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” This is my motivation in going to London. Without people willing to go and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God will not be advanced. I’m excited to be a part of God’s master plan for the World. Our team has responded to Jesus’s command to take the Gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:19-20)

Understandably, this trip isn’t free. In total the 6-ish weeks will cost $5,500. We are asked to raise financial support from our friends, family, and, in some cases, even people we don’t know. While at first I felt at odds with this practice (it wasn’t something that anyone I knew usually did growing up), after looking into what the Bible says I feel that shouldn’t cause one to be afraid or feel uneasy about. Acts 2:44-45 says, “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” The people in the early church were incredibly generous; they shared everything that they had and didn’t hold anything back. God calls us to live a generous lifestyle; in doing so we can practice putting our faith in God that He will provide for us so that we can give generously. We put our hope not in our financial resources, but in God’s ability to provide. If all things are of Him and belong to Him then our money is His, and there’s no better way to glorify the Lord than investing what He has already graciously given us in the advancement of His kingdom. Many of you reading this will receive or have received letters from me regarding my trip, asking you to become a part of my team in taking the Gospel to London. I request that you prayerfully consider this decision and challenge you to step out in faith that God will provide. All contributions towards the trip are tax deductible and checks can be made out to Campus Outreach. If you feel led to give, please let me know by email at bawilkes@live.unc.edu .

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” -1 Timothy 6:17-19

I hope everyone is doing well and staying inside on this cold, rainy day (possibly a preview of London weather???), and I look forward to hopefully chatting with many of you soon. 🙂

Bethany