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MDT UK will start in January 2018, and run for five months.
Could you tell us a little about your background in missions?
Nicky: Arthur is a minister by profession, and I’m a trained primary school teacher. We both did Theology degrees at London Bible College – that’s where Arthur and I met.
Arthur pastored a church in Hertfordshire for 13 years, and I was a primary school teacher before we headed to Guinea (in West Africa) with BMS World Mission. We were teaching in a Bible College, training pastors for rural ministry and church planting. Then we moved to Uganda, and taught degree students at the Kampala Evangelical School of Theology.
In 2009 we came back to the UK to keep working for BMS, at their international missions centre. We were involved in training everyone who went overseas with BMS.
What’s different about having an MDT in the UK?
Arthur: The programme will be based in the UK's super multicultural cities. According to research from the University of Birmingham, Birmingham is home to 187 different nationalities – they call it a city of ‘superdiversity.' And London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. So MDT UK allows people to experience that. If you think you might have a calling to mission amongst the homeless, or Muslim people groups, or children – all that can be part of the MDT programme.
Nicky: We have a very diverse multinational team on the training site, and we’re hoping to attract multinational participants, so people will learn about crossing cultures just by living in community with people from different nationalities. It’s really good preparation for an active Christian life.
What will the MDT UK programme include?
Nicky: We’ll be looking at understanding Scripture, and God’s mission story from the beginning of Genesis right to the end. Participants will be looking at their own walk with Jesus, and we’ll be working through some of those personal issues that people bring, and trying to give those to God.
They’ll also be looking at crossing cultures, and sharing their faith with other people groups. We’re hoping they will regularly plug into local projects across Birmingham, so they can have weekly contacts and journey with people over a period of time. We’ll also be doing outreaches with least reached communities in London and Birmingham – we’ll serve with Muslim people groups, homeless people and refugees.
And then there’ll be a section on looking ahead – what this means for them later, and how they will continue their mission journey. We’re making connections and partnerships all over the OM world, so that if people want to extend after MDT, there are some really good opportunities to give them some overseas experience as well.
What are you most looking forward to about the programme?
Arthur: When we were in conversation with OM about coming to do this role, we went to one of their morning prayers. We listened to a family who’d just been on a short-term mission trip. The daughter of that family talked about how she’d been dragged to Moldova, although maybe she wasn’t really a Christian. But she went, and now she was standing up in that meeting talking about how it had transformed her, and that she wanted to keep sharing God’s love for the rest of her life – she wanted to go back to Moldova and take other people with her.
That was a light bulb moment: this is what MDT is. It offers us the opportunity to be involved in a programme that shapes people to be connected to what God is doing in the world.
What impact do you think this training will have on the students?
Nicky: We’re hoping they get bitten by the mission bug for a lifetime! Our passion is to see people just looking at their lives and saying, ‘God, where do you want me?’ Whether that happens to be getting on a ship, or on an aeroplane, or whether that just means going around and having a huge impact on their own environments, and on other people’s journeys. We’re hoping for a bit of a domino effect.
Arthur: Not everyone coming on this programme will stay with OM, but if they do, it just offers an unbelievable breadth of opportunities for people to serve and be involved in mission. It’s exciting to think of where some of the people who come on MDT might end up.
Pray for the right people to sign up for MDT, and that God will be preparing them for the programme. Pray for Arthur and Nicky as they settle into OM, and as they organise and promote MDT. Pray for the rest of the MDT team as they prepare for the new students arriving in January.
Published: Saturday, 11 November 2017
Credit: Maria Smith