When I first heard of the Iceland mission trip, I was intrigued. Not because I had the desire to pray and help bring secular Europe closer to Christ, but simply because it was Iceland. Who doesn’t want to go to Iceland? After I arrived, during our first united prayer session, I was silent and asked myself what I had gotten into. I soon diagnosed myself with imposter syndrome, because I felt that I was not nearly as good a Christian as the wonderful people I found myself surrounded with. Nonetheless, I decided I would give it my best shot.
The following evening, after our hour-long united prayer session and worship, we went out for the first time to pray for each street we walked down, each door we knocked on, and each individual we came across. Now I really contemplated what I had signed up for since it was so unlike me to go up to a house by myself and offer prayer. I prayed that God would give me the right words, for I was not worthy. I prayed that the Lord would use me despite my sins and transgressions and that none of them would come between God and the people. After a few rejections, I began to sense curiosity in people. This was what kept me going.
With practice and more fervent prayers, I began to see how powerful God was. While I was delivering GLOW one day, I happened to be assigned to a territory filled with apartments. In Iceland, most apartment complexes have a foyer where you can deliver the mail to its tenants. While I was doing this, I came across a huge complex and I was thrilled because I saw all the postboxes I was going to be able to deliver GLOW to. However, when I went to open the door, it was locked. I was flooded with disappointment because I saw all the postboxes. I tried opening each door of the building, however, it was all in vain. I buzzed a few apartments to see if they would let me in, but I received no answer. For some reason, I had the urge to keep trying, but there was nothing left to try. Finally, I resorted to the solution I should have done in the first place. I prayed that God would open the door. Shortly after, a tenant came out of the building and I stopped him offering him prayer and the GLOW. He accepted the GLOW and gave me a prayer request, but he was running late for work so he did not have time to pray with me. As he was leaving, I asked, “Could you let me in the building to deliver GLOW to the rest of the building?” I had my doubts, but he happily opened the door, allowing me to reach everyone else in that complex. This showed me just how quickly God can answer prayers!
Prayers are more powerful when we put aside all doubt and ask for the Holy Spirit, but even with our little faith God still shows his power. One day I was GLOWing and it was pouring outside. I tried to stay positive, but the cold wind and my damp clothes got in the way. I wasn’t having much success with offering prayer either, so I decided to simply GLOW the houses instead of knocking on doors that day. That way, they couldn’t reject the pamphlets and they would find it in their mail at some point. Usually I try to push through my doubts and weaknesses, however, that day I let my fear get a hold of me. Despite this, I came across this home and as I was going to put the pamphlets in their mailbox, I could hear their voices inside. I felt the need to knock, not because I had felt that they needed prayer, but because I thought it would be social suicide if I was in the middle of putting something in their postbox and they just happened to walk out. Either way, I knocked. A young adolescent couple answered and I gave them the redundant GLOW Iceland introduction and offered prayer, expecting nothing of it. To my surprise, the young man said yes with excitement and started listing things off. Once he was finished, he looked to his girlfriend, who had rejected the offer for prayer, and told me to pray for her and her family anyways. I prayed with them and let God give me the words. Once I was finished, the character of the girlfriend was transformed, and she became curious about the GLOW tracts. This encounter taught me that even with my little faith, God is all-powerful and will show his love in mercy regardless of my lack of it.
With each and every prayer session, devotional, worship, personal conversations with God and encounter with the people of Iceland, I realized that we are all sinners and we all need to ask the Lord to forgive us and use us in spite of our weaknesses, because if it was based on who was worthy to do His work, none of us would be qualified. I began to see that we can only accomplish so little, and we are in need of being willing to let go of ourselves and to be bathed in the Holy Spirit daily. “Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish,” (509, Ministry of Healing). This mission taught me so much about how far away I was from God, how dependent I need to be on Him and the power of prayer. I was able to pray with many individuals and saw how much some of them longed for something deeper and a more meaningful life. I continue to pray that God will give us Iceland, and I hope that I can continue this mission everywhere I find myself in so that I can be used by God and spread His message to the end.
Jose Brenes, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019
José Brenes is a freshman student at the University of Michigan currently studying pre-medicine. He grew up in the sheltered Adventist community of Berrien Springs, MI; now that he is in a new setting in the college town of Ann Arbor, he is excited to see how God can use him in a worldly environment.
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