Four years ago, during a door-to-door outreach near Paris, the “Retro Extreme” dream was conceived!
I remember the moment clearly. I was chatting with Kyle, a wild Irish guy serving in France for six months, and we were both throwing around crazy ideas in search of “the one” that would revolutionise short-term missions (STM) in France. Kyle, with his spirit of adventure, won the prize for the maddest suggestion: Just take a bunch of people, pray over a map of France, dump them where the Spirit leads and say, “Now go and evangelise!”
At which point one of the longer-serving OMers pointed out that this is how STM used to work. Maybe not quite like that, but the faith element of outreach was definitely more prevalent. And Retro Extreme was born.
The idea was to provide an opportunity to live out one’s faith in a practical way, rather than trusting in those things we lean on every day – jobs, savings, cars, credit cards… The typical, well-organised OM France outreach (yes, really!) is left behind, leaving space for an unplanned programme, and the team embarks on a journey of faith, trusting God to provide for their needs while serving Him supporting a local church.
The reality has been quite different however, and every year I was disappointed that, by the time the outreach came around, the week was fairly structured, with meals and accommodation in place and a definite plan, even if some elements were left to faith. So this year I adjusted MY expectations.
The team arrived – and what a team! We had such a good time delivering gospels to homes, taking opportunities to pray for the people we met, overcoming personal and interpersonal struggles, challenging each other in our team-times and growing in our faith. Regardless of the style of the outreach, the outcome remains the same: When faithful believers put their lives on hold and respond to God’s call to missions, whatever form that takes, we see Him doing amazing things, in and through us, for His glory!