June 3, 2021

Learning how to love

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Kelly plays corn hole with friends on a sunny afternoon. Photo provided by the author. Kelly plays corn hole with friends on a sunny afternoon. Photo provided by the author.

The Going Public internship is a ministry of Glenwood Church in Cardiff, Wales, U.K. Interns gain experience in a variety of areas alongside British and expatriate youth. Areas of service include youth or children’s work, community work, social action, teaching and facilitating, sports ministry, or creative arts. Kelly Lapp is currently participating in her second internship with Glenwood Church. Here, she gives us a glimpse into why EMM’s partnership with the Going Public internship is such a critical part of discipling young adults.

I first heard about EMM through my sister, Ellen, who was a part of Kingdom Teams. The values and outreach goals were ones that lined up with my morals and what I thought was important for outreach. I wanted to go on a mission trip to a place that didn’t have a language barrier (spoke English) and when I was looking at possible locations, Wales caught my eye. Then, when I saw the type of program and kids’ work they had available to get involved in, I knew that’s where I was supposed to go.

I definitely fell in love with Glenwood Church. The space they provided for clubs and groups was amazing. Every day of the week there was something going on in the building. They show their love for the community in a way that I had never seen before. They also seemed to be doing it the right way. Most of the kids and youth that would come to clubs would just be from the community. The church was their place to hang out.

In my time in Wales, I have learned how to love. I have learned to love God, love myself, and love others. When your sole purpose of being somewhere is “to be Jesus” to those around you, you cannot rely on yourself and “saying the right thing” to people. You have to show up for them, and listen to their stories. Because they aren’t going to respond to you just saying, “Jesus loves you,” or “Jesus died on the cross for you.” They need to be able to see it — “it” being Jesus in your life.

A big thing I’ve learned about missions is that it has to be part of your everyday life. It means being able to be in a place that is different, but also similar to America. In this setting, people can come to a place of experiencing healing and salvation because we show them the love of Jesus.

The biggest ideas I’ve seen here in Wales are “community” and “love.” In Wales, I see people supporting other people, and loving people, no matter who they are. I see people giving a place of belonging to people who are trying to fit in. They are looking at mental health and how much that affects people, especially youth.

I think that sometimes American Christians talk about how we can be better — “achieving” what Jesus did — but we forget that we need Jesus to help us in that process. We need to have difficult talks that maybe don’t have a solution, but letting Jesus walk with us through that. 

This article appears in the Summer 2021 issue of Missionary MessengerSign up to receive more inspiring stories like this one in our magazine. 

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Eastern Mennonite Missions

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