WEEK 2 | Team England
Hello again from England! This update will focus on our time up in northern England, but let’s pick up where we last left off.
On Friday morning we hopped onto a train that would take us from Winchester to London within the hour. When we finally pulled up to the city the London skyline was there to greet us. We left the station for a hop-on-hop-off tour on a roofless double decker bus. Some of the sites we visited were Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Trafalgar Square. From there, Chris and Will took us to an amazing pizza restaurant called Homeslice, then we walked it off by taking a stroll all the way to Buckingham Palace. (The award for best reactions throughout the entire trip goes to Bethany. Her face has consistently remained in awe of anything quintessentially British).
To wrap up our time, we made our way to the London Eye, a giant Ferris Wheel in the heart of the city to take a sunset ride. As we rose above the skyline we could see everywhere we had walked that day and watched as the sky turning into a bright orange. It was probably the best way we could have ended our day.
Saturday we spent all day with the leadership at Level 10 Church, home to our good friend and SOSL alumni Kirsten. There Rachel shared her powerful testimony on forgiveness and Anthea had us in tears with her message on honour (that’s how the Brit’s spell it!) Then Will and Chris took the team out to eat real English food for dinner, which turns out is actually Indian food. So good! We headed back to the church for an evening session where Charis went up for round two of her Heart of Stone message. The evening ended with the team ministering to many people who came up for prayer.
Sunday, we woke up to Winchester completely covered in snow! Much like Nashville, when it snows in England everything shuts down, so there were no church services that day! It was unfortunate because is was supposed to be our last full day in Winchester, but was also a welcomed day of rest for the team. After everyone safely made their way to the beautiful home of the Law family, the day was spent doing some much needed team fellowship.
The first half of Monday was spent saying our farewells to Winchester. The Law’s treated us to a hike in the snowy New Forest where we encountered a group of wild ponies! It literally felt as if we had stepped through the wardrobe and entered into Narnia. After lunch, we headed back to WinVin where the bus from our next destination for the trip was there waiting for us. We said our teary goodbyes to the staff from Winchester then headed off for our new adventure in the north! That night we met the leadership and host families from Junction 28 Church and Hope Church. Just from the meeting, we could sense that these sister churches were full of people who are hungry for more of God and are expectant for what He will do during our time here.
The next morning we split up into two team where the J28 group socialized with a group of moms and children who were new to the church, while the group from Hope Church went to a school assembly where Rachel spoke on being powerful in the Lord. Then we all met together for lunch at Hope Church where we were able to spend more time with the staff. In the evening, we held a prophetic night where we released encouraging words to individual from the front of the church. What’s great about prophetic is it can show you the Lord’s heart for people, and this was the night that our hearts began to swell for these churches.
Wednesday we split into two teams again and set off for two recovery centers for men coming out of addiction and homelessness. It was here that we saw really broken people be transformed before our eyes as we prayed over them for healing, restoration, and hope. Many of us spent time listening to heartbreaking stories and speaking Jesus’ love into their situations. Afterwards, Abbey was invited to give a short message at a school assembly about relationship with God. Then that evening we were back at Hope Church where Juliana spoke a killer message on an Introduction to the Prophetic and opening up a time for the congregation to practice prophesying over each other.
Thursday we met up for a lunch with the leadership at J28, then moved into a time for prophetic ministry. During the ministry time, Melissa headed off to the last school assembly invite on the trip where she spoke to a room of nearly 400 kids on being made in God’s image. After both meetings ended, the whole team left for an evening at a women’s shelter. Some of these women had been there for a while, and others had just moved in that week. Carolyn share her amazing testimony on Hearing God’s Voice, then the team entered into a time of prophetic ministry. The way God spoke to their hearts proved His gentleness and undying love for them. It was a night I know we’ll never forget.
The next morning we explored the neighbor by J28 and spent lunch eat fish and chips like a true British citizen. That evening we said goodbye to Blake (our only man in the team, God bless you) and headed off to the women’s shelter. The first night we were there, we weren’t sure how we were being received, but once we arrived we felt so welcomed by the residents there. Charis spoke again on Heart of Stone (round three!) and Ann shared her message on Father Types. After some time of ministry, we met up with the youth from Hope Church for some laser tag (shout out to Abbey - first place winner - who beat Pastor Danny’s winning streak), then hung out with the kids over pizza.
Saturday morning we headed out to a coffee meeting at Thurcroft, a new sister church to J28 and Hope, where we were able to pray over the church and the community. Blake, Bethany, and Rachel were also able to minister to a new believer who was in his 70s! Afterwards, we headed out to Meadowland Mall for some shopping, then Blake treated the team so some home cooked Mexican food.
Sunday morning we were split again between J28 and Hope Church. At J28 Blake spoke on the Father Heart of God and at Hope Bethany spoke on Physical Healing. After her message we saw significant healings and even prayed with a woman who decided to give her life to Jesus! That evening at J28 one of the pastors interviewed Blake, Abbey, and Ann at a worship gathering while Rachel spoke to the youth in Hearing God’s Voice and Melissa spoke to the children on being made in God’s image.
Monday we all headed out of the city to visit the amazing Chatsworth House, which isn’t a house, but a large mansion. This was actually one of the film location for Pride & Prejudice (2005) when Elizabeth visits Mr Darcy’s home, Pemberley Estate for the first time. There was so much to see that it would have taken more than a day to explore. We spent 5 hours exploring the house, the vast grounds, and eating a delicious lunch at an onsite restaurant. Once we left Chatsworth, we made our way to our last ministry event of the trip. Our fearless team leaders Netty and Sheila spoke a powerful message on renewing your mind at a regional women’s meeting hosted by Hope Church. After the message, they led us into a time of ministry where we could identify any lies we had been believing and replace it with God’s truth.
The next morning, we all met at J28 to say our farewells to the leadership team. As we shared with one another what affected us the most on this trip, it has consistently been the one-on-one ministry interactions with had with people. Despite seeing people healing and getting spot on prophetic words, what has been the most impactful is see a person become acquainted with the love of Jesus. We are now in London and will be flying out on Thursday. This has seriously been the trip of a lifetime. We are so thankful for all the relationships that have been made and the lives we have touched. I am certain that our connections to these churches were made for a reason.
See you soon, America!
-Written by Melissa Ramsaur, Photos by Charis Sims