A Summer in England

I’ve just gotten home after a summer at Redcliffe College doing Moody Bible Institute’s Study Abroad programme. It already has been one of the most formative summers of my life, both because I’ve learnt about England and history and God, and because of Redcliffe and the people there.

Living at Redcliffe was such a pleasure. Each member of staff there took a personal interest in each of us, beyond just our names. They cared about who we were, and about each of our goals and vision. They were never too busy to stop and ask how we were, and they were always showing us what it is to be the body of Christ working together in community.

For me, Redcliffe represents a place of peace and growth. In the middle of a busy work-filled summer, Redcliffe was a place to slow down and catch my breath. I learned so much from the staff and the classes that I took, and from the way of life at Redcliffe. I had space and the time to think and appreciated the College’s relational focus that makes it feel like home.

I’m so grateful for Redcliffe, their ministry and the mission that they support. God is working mightily through the College and staff because each person there is open to what He is calling them to do.

My time at Redcliffe taught me to trust God more, be open to His plans, and live in community. I learned what a difference genuine care in an individual makes in that person’s life, and I learned that the littlest things can sometimes make the biggest difference.

I’m so glad I spent my summer at Redcliffe, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about community and missions.

Anneliese

Reaching Iranians from Cyprus

…I’ve just come back from my six-week term placement which I did in sunny Cyprus. I was working with SAT-7 who produce programs and radio shows to reach the unreachable areas with the good news of the Gospel. There are a number of different ‘bases’ but mine primarily focused on reaching Iran through TV. Hearing the testimonies of all that God had done through their ministry was a real encouragement.

My main role whilst on placement was to film (and then edit) the programs. I already had some experience doing both of these before so I was able to jump right into the work without needing lots assistance. In my final two week I was doing things primarily by myself without much help from other people. I also got to learn how to use the tele-prompter (the ‘rolling screen’ that tells people what to say) which was first for me.

My Spiritual Life in Cyprus as a whole was varied, and that was mostly because I was focused on adjusting to the culture and the new and unfamiliar environment. With so many things happening it was hard to find time for my daily devotionals. So I challenged myself, to wake up in the morning an hour before breakfast, spend that time in the presence of God alone. This really helped me through my placement and it was great to have friends on the team who could keep me accountable.

I am really grateful for all that the Redcliffe lecturers and the Community has taught me (so far) as it made a huge difference to my time away.

Thank you,

Kenton

EQUIPPED for Mission

I cannot believe how fast the last five weeks of ‘Equip’ have flown by and what fun they have been. I have enjoyed that there have been no assignments to complete and I have been able to have some time out to start to process my time at Redcliffe as well as looking to the future.

Having a mentor to chat things through with and being able to talk to the lecturers and staff at Redcliffe has really helped me reflect and think as I look to my loving Father and trust in Him in all circumstances; to learn from their experiences and wisdom is such a privilege.

On the ‘Equip’ programme this term there have been a variety of subjects from Scripture Engagement and justice issues to car maintenance and hairdressing. I have learnt practical skills, gained and deepened my knowledge in other areas, all of which have been equipping me for whatever my future holds in cross-cultural mission. Having Bible Studies together, looking at different contexts and cultures through that, thinking about oral cultures and different worldviews as we study the Bible has been an eye-opener for me.

As a group we have been able to tailor this term to our needs and we have been able to get to know each other better as we journeyed through these past weeks together. EQUIP has been so much more than the lectures, it is in the relationships where I have learnt lots, been challenged and grown the most. EQUIP this term is almost finished but what I have learnt and experienced will continue to transform me as I continue my journey in cross-cultural ministry.

Hannah

MA Reflections

Leading up to starting an MA at Redcliffe, I was excited at the prospect of more focus studying in specific areas that I am interested in. I was also exciting about getting to know a whole new group of people: students, lecturers and staff alike.

Even during my first intensive weekend back in September last year, just walking along the corridors allowed for many ‘hello’s,’ smiles – the atmosphere being warm, friendly and inviting. Sitting with people that I didn’t (yet) know (especially at meal times) was a great time to get to know people and find out where they have come from and where they are going to afterwards (if they knew). I never met anyone at Redcliffe that wasn’t interesting to talk to making any conversation enjoyable and stimulating.

The weekends of study are intense (as their name suggests), but this is made easier by the good interactive teaching, small class size long with tea breaks and yummy meals 🙂 I have now finished all of the intensive weekends and do miss meeting up with everyone, but am able to stay in touch via Facebook to see how everyone is getting on.

God Bless,

Steve

Sharing lives in community

Hi, Kelsey here. Last post I spoke about the benefits of Redcliffe and how it prepared me for missions in contrast to Moody Bible Institute. The staff and community is what makes Redcliffe a strong missions training college.

The way the staff work at Redcliffe reminds me of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 “so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. ” The staff at Redcliffe don’t just give academic lectures, clean Wotton House or garden the yard. They share their lives with us. At large schools, it is very difficult to get personal with all of your students. The staff at Redcliffe participate in community groups, lead devotionals, join the student body for meals and special events, share personal experience and wisdom in lectures and mentor students one on one. They do this because they want to, because they love us students and want to pour into us what God has poured into them.

It is this environment that taught me the necessity of authentically counting the costs. This environment taught me cross-cultural ministry. It was through the staff here that I learned how to seek God and hear his voice like never before. It was through their experiences that I learned how to live in not just England, but a different country than home. And it was Redcliffe community that gave me a small taste of how incredible heaven will be one day: worshipping in different languages, celebrating God through different cultures, and communing with the creator as his precious creation, together.

Moody in… England

Hi, I’m Kelsey, 20 years old from Chicago, USA. I’m currently a student at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and I studied at Redcliffe for a semester abroad in Autumn 2013. Moody and Redcliffe are very different, giving me a rounded and challenging experience in my training to do mission work. Not only was I surprised at how different Moody and Redcliffe are, but just England and America in general.

Both colleges are Bible based but Redcliffe’s classes are taught from a missional standpoint while Moody teaches more from a general theological standpoint. This context of learning in addition to being out of my American context of living stretched me to think beyond the cultural baggage I bring to God’s word, my relationship with God and how I minister in the church body, especially cross culturally.

This was also the first time I lived in another country. I’ve traveled to many nations but I have not spent time living as a minority. God used this time to prepare me for the day I will be living in another culture long-term. I learned to count the costs involved. Redcliffe, and England, was a safe environment for me as an American to count the costs and be stretched by God and what He can do with me. The strong community provided so much support and wisdom while the classes were entirely relevant to what I was experiencing and how I wish to serve one day.

Learning how to count the costs and minister cross-culturally were lessons I had to learn at Redcliffe. Moody teaches many incredible things, but it is in my comfort zone. I am familiar with American culture and having spent time as the only American student, I have a much greater respect for the international students at Moody. It’s hard to leave your family, friends, and familiarity with the little things around you that you take for granted in your culture. I’m thankful for how my experience at Redcliffe prepared me for missions. I am also blessed to learn from both Redcliffe and Moody. God is at work at Redcliffe, in the classes and the community, stretching and preparing people for carrying out His mission.

Mission Training vs. Community

About a week ago I wrote about community, I want to reflect on one of the classic passages on community, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Now I am not going to reflect on this passage specifically, but the place we find the passage, this being just before 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13.

After this huge passage about community we find ourselves faced with this beautiful message of love. Whilst this passage can be interpreted to be talking about ministry (which it is), it can and must because of its placement also be read in the context of community.

I don’t know about you, but I find the most challenging part of the text to be verses 4-7, talking of the things love is, and is not. I find myself recognising the things that are lacking, and the things I do. But also recognising the things I see in others and don’t see in others.

In community and especially a lived in day by day, night by night community you will naturally clash heads with other people, (especially when essays are being written). This passage is not the first on people’s hearts, our struggle against that natural temptation to enjoy the pain of being hurt, or cause hurt. Having the courage to apologise and forgive can be a scary and daunting prospect.

I realise from what I have written community looks terrible and something not to be entered into. But I think what I want to get across is that community is not easy, it is intentional, it is not natural. Since the fall our natural reactions have become skewed and marred. It is important to remember the centrality of love in the Kingdom of God; as verse 13 says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Community can be hard, but it also forms a key part of the holistic mission training that Redcliffe offers.

Blessings,

Casper