During the last few weeks I have heard various people talking about being witnesses and how we need to take every opportunity that we are given to tell people our story, or even create our own opportunity. This is something I really struggle with as I'm not the most confident of people and even chatting about my faith with close friends and small groups I get tongue-tied.
We have also seen three very public acts of people being prepared to stand up and be witnesses as Abigail, Emily and Rachel were enrolled as Senior Soldiers and again in a few weeks time with Morgan.
Judith spoke the other Tuesday night about when she was younger and at school and being afraid to tell people that she belonged to the Army and I was exactly the same even though I was lucky and wasn't the only Salvationist in my class, though I do remember us both keeping really quite about it and only speaking out if we disagreed with something that was being taught in our R.E lessons. And I think I only ever invited one school friend to an event that we were holding.
Then Nadine and Brian both spoke about telling people our story and using the opportunities that come our way and Roy the other week said that he had even tried it. I really admire people that can do this.
When Nathan at the start of the year asked for people to help him raise some money for the Army by park running around Ferry Meadows Rachel Dockerill asked me to go with her and I agreed though I stupidly thought that I would only have to struggle around once and that would be it. I guess God had other ideas though and here I am nearly forty weeks later still being a witness in my park run tee shirt with the verse from Isaiah 40:31 on the back
"For those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
And Run Army, Run Mission on the front, so people could read them and see what we are running for and hopefully ask us questions which in my opinion is a brilliant idea as somebody else has usually made the first move and approached me. While I’ll never be very good at running or even quick at it and it’s not the most enjoyable thing I've ever tried I do enjoy being part of the group and hopefully in some small way being a good witness. I also love the fact that everybody is so encouraging as they run past and that they recognize the tee shirts. Friends and people at work now know that I try to run as they have seen some of the dodgy photos that have appeared on Facebook and will ask me why I run thankfully they are supportive and encouraging.
Sandra and I also did our own little bit of witnessing when we went down to London for the Boundless Celebration march wearing our park run tee shirts as we walked around before we joined thousands of Salvationists on the Mall to join in the celebrations of 150 years of the Army. I was able to share some of my memories of the special occasion on Facebook and again with our Art and Flower Festival.
One thing that has surprised me though is that people who I thought would laugh at me have actually turned out to be the most encouraging and supportive and now ask the most questions.
So while I'm still not brilliant at striking up a conversation with friends and strangers I hope and pray that in my own small way I can be a good and effective witness for God and the Army and I hope that when given the opportunity that I will be able to say and do the right thing so that I am able to bring people to know God. And I know that God will be there with me giving me the strength that I need to do this, and to survive park runs.
As Philippians 4:13 reminds us - “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”