We kicked of this year of growth by taking teams out last Saturday Treasure Hunting once again. There had been a bit of a gap since last going out onto the streets, so on one level it did feel like some momentum was lost. Could we have the fun of the first or third time's we went out...
What was really exciting for me was to see a good crowd turn up - 11 in all, and six of these were here for the first time.
We went out in three teams - mixed languages and level's of 'experience' at this, though as I've learned, it's usually those doing it for the first time that have the best encounters!!
So there was an element for me personally, taking three first-timers with me, of training and explaining 'how it works' - a concept I'm still getting my head around myself! And once again, I've still never done a Treasure Hunt in English, nor properly met some Treasure who speaks English. But my Russian is improving as a result, I guess!
Walking to the session, I felt God give me the verses about the kings banquet, but the invited guests not turning up. I had Highway's & Byways in mind, so searched my Bible for those words...finding in fact that my NIV version uses Street Corners in stead. I shared how sometimes people find there own way to church, and some times, like this passage, we need to go out and find them. I said it might be that Corners are important today. I wrote it down on my list anyway, to be sure!
Just up from our office is a junction known as 5 Corners. So I think it figured in all the teams journeys.
Another interesting thing was that in all three teams, we learnt AFTER the event, we had the same clue - Orange Jacket.
Our Orange Jacket lady I first saw some way off and there wasn't the chance to talk. Getting back to 5 Corners I saw her a second time on the opposite corner walking away from us. I pointed this out to a couple with me, and said if (when!) we see her a third time, to go after her. I soon saw her coming our way again so sent this couple off. They spoke with her. She has 5 children. They invited her to church.
All in all I would say there were 15-20 conversations and invitations were given out in our 60 minute session. One team, as a clue, got the 'name' of one lady - this is something we were seeing happening increasing more last year - and we pray will happen again! It helps, so much!
I started chatting with a Russian man who was standing in an alley having a cigarette. I told him my name - Tim - and then he said his initials were the same - T.I.M - as my name. He knew a lot of history about England. I explained what we were doing and why I was in Russia and invited him along to church.
He didn't necessarily 'fit' any of our clues but God can work in any situation. We just need to give him space.
So it was a start - we didn't see anyone come to church last Sunday - lets pray that they come this week.
We next go out on the 5th February. Please pray with us for a growing momentum in words of knowledge and that God would use them to greatly open up situations for ministry into the Treasure's that surround us in St Petersburg.