Westmann Islands Outreach (WIO) – Jesus Coffee
Alex Lawrence is part of our DTS staff team and has been serving our YWAM community for just over a year now, and has also been helping out with the maintenance of our base. Here he shares about joining in with the Westmann Islands Outreach this summer in Iceland.
I’ve carried a heart for Iceland for a few years now. I initially wanted to do my DTS there, but it was unfortunately cancelled. However, God brought me to Scotland, so I’m okay with that! My curiosity and fascination with Iceland has grown over the years – it could have been their amazing music scene that drew me to it, or the countless hours I spent looking at photos from its gorgeous natural landscape, but I felt a longing to check out the frozen country and see what God was doing there. So when I heard that YWAM Iceland was hosting a 12-day outreach to the Westmann Islands during Iceland’s largest “National Festival” celebration (or Þjóðhátíð – if you can read Icelandic), I just had to go!
Our team of 9 met in Reykjavik and then journeyed our way over to the Island where we jumped into a time of 24/7 of prayer and worship for the few days leading up to the festival. Due to the heavy amount of drinking and drugs that were consumed during the festival and the cases of rapes which have occurred in the past, our leaders planned this time of prayer and worship to change the atmosphere and invite Holy Spirit to move and minister during the festival outreach. And let me tell you, it definitely worked! Our team leaders described a difference in atmosphere that they had never experienced before during the outreach, seeing some of the first fruits of their labour after toiling the hard ground for so many years.
The mission was simple: Go, serve, and love people in the name of Jesus. Our medium into serving and conversation was none other than COFFEE! We’d head out in the early afternoon with large thermoses full of coffee and pray for direction, asking God what was our task for that day. Kind of like treasure hunting, but with coffee… Through our week of non-stop prayer, we found that people were so open for conversation and were blown away by our love and kindness in serving free coffee. Just through handing out the coffee, you wouldn’t believe the amount of shocked faces as we made our way through a maze of tents and hung-over festivalgoers.
We met a Finnish Girl one day and found it was her birthday, telling her that next time we saw her we’d come with a cake, card, and gift in hand. I don’t think she really believed that we’d actually do it, so it was to her surprise when our group came to her tent and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. It nearly brought her tough Finnish exterior to tears! The 4 of us then sat on the grass eating cake and celebrating her. I hadn’t had the opportunity to personally pray for someone yet during the festival, so boldness rose up in me. I asked her before we left if we could pray for and bless her. There was some slight hesitation in her voice, but then she replied “sure”! It was amazing to see a little kindness go a long way, just that we could encourage our Finnish friend. The rest of our group experienced the same friendliness and saw hearts soften as our group of Jesus Coffee people made our rounds around the festival grounds.