I haven’t blogged in a long time. Almost exactly a month. Forgive me for that, but it’s been an insane month. Also, I think that sometimes blogging intimidates me; I feel like if I don’t have something special to say, I shouldn’t blog. However, on the other hand, I recognize that there are people out there praying for me and curious as to what God is doing over here (or at least I think there are…if I’m wrong, don’t tell me), and so for that reason I should be more faithful to post updates. Again, forgive me.
As I said, June has been a crazy month. In sum total, we’ve filmed 62 testimonies of young people around the UK. It’s been a phenomenally encouraging experience for me – I’ve seen myself and the team grow both in our technical abilities and know-how, but more importantly, closer to the Lord. Hearing story after story after story of how God is changing lives is a constant reminder of that He is active, powerful, and faithful.
Here’s a sample:
This is Lisa. She grew up in a Christian family in Northern Ireland, but when she entered high school she really felt the burden of peer pressure and got involved in drinking and partying. On top of that, she was bullied a lot, which led to her developing an eating disorder that she struggled with throughout her teenage years. But then, right in the middle of that, she began to feel a strong conviction that the things she was doing were wrong. She turned to Christ, and now that she’s a Christian she knows that she can stand upon Jesus Christ as her rock. Her favorite verse in the Bible is Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full.” She’s come to know that she is beautiful in God’s eyes; so much so that God sent his Son to die in her place, so that she could come back to him.
And that is what most of my work entails these days. How awesome is that? God is good, and is certainly changing lives all over the place. Be encouraged of that! Even when you don’t see it, he’s at work all around the world, working and saving people from all sorts of different situations.
(Side note: We’re working on editing all of these stories now, but within the next few weeks or a month or so, hopefully I’ll have some awesome video samples for you to see!)
In other news, God has graciously blessed me with a lovely girlfriend. Her name is Melinda (or Mindy), and we’ve been dating for a month now. She loves Jesus, missions, God’s Word, and people; and for some strange reason she seems to think I’m pretty okay too. Here’s a lovely picture of the two of us:
If you could pray for wisdom for the both of us, we would greatly appreciate it. We want Christ to be at the center of our relationship, because He is what’s most important.
Other breaking news: I’ve also just recently been accepted to seminary! I’ve been accepted to study for my Master’s of Arts in World Missions and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. I’m pretty excited about it, and hoping to start my first class online this fall. I’ll probably be studying online at my own pace for the next few years, which works out very well considering how busy we are with ministry here. Pray that I’d learn much, that God would give me wisdom as I study and a great hunger to learn, and that the things I learn will be useful for the ministry I’m involved in.
Tangible needs and ways to help: As you can see in the last few paragraphs, there’s a lot going on in my life right now. Most of it is extremely new, and also extremely exciting. I’ve mentioned several specific needs I could use prayer for, but there are always more. I love hearing from you all, and so if you have questions or want to know more, please, ask! You can get in touch with me either through the comment section on this blog, or by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve also got Skype: llbarker is my username.
Along with prayer, I’ve also got some pretty real financial needs that I’ve been praying about; seminary is unfortunately not a free thing, and I’m not going to take out any loans for it – I’ll be paying for it out of my own pocket. Along with that, there’s the incredibly high cost of having to spoil my girlfriend with all sorts of luxurious gifts…I’m kidding. She is also a missionary, and a very simple and beautiful woman – not high-maintenance in the least. But the fact is that the whole reason we’re dating is because someday we might like to get married. If/when that should happen, I want to be able to provide for my wife, and as a missionary that gets very complicated – I’m completely dependent on God’s provision, via people like you.
If I’m completely honest, I’m currently receiving roughly $50 less than I need to just break even each month, much less put anything away to save up for school or anything else. I have some money saved up which is currently filling that hole, but that is slowly draining away, month by month. I’m not worried in the slightest – if God wants me to stay here long-term, he will continue to provide. If not, I’ll stay as long as I can until the money runs dry, and then see what God has for me next!
I don’t want to paint a horrible picture or sound discouraged in the least, because I’m not. God is totally in control, and totally good. But if you have the means and feel like my mission here is something you would like to get behind and support financially, I’d love to hear from you. As I mentioned above, you can contact me via this blog, email, or Skype to let me know if you would like to join the team. You could also check out the “Support the Work” link at the top of this page. Even if you’ve just got questions about what exactly it is we are doing, I’d absolutely love to hear from you!