Why I Do Xpression- Tove Lappin
Six years ago was when my adventure with Xpression began. I had just finished up third year Killicomaine and going into fourth so this meant I was just old enough to do Xpression. To be quite honest, when I signed up that year there was no other reason than FOMO- the Fear OF Missing Out. All my friends where doing it, everyone always done it and I wanted the black T-Shirt. But little did I know that God was planting a seed in my life that has been sometimes well looked after and other times slightly neglected but it is still growing and growing closer to Him.
That year I was placed in Killicomaine with the rest of my friends, to my relief. I had been in South Africa that summer and missed the first two days of Xpression and those were really important days as that is when the teams all get to know each other, the personal jokes form and something special happens when people from all different churches come together. I missed all of this so when I came I felt like a total outsider, I didn’t get the jokes and I didn’t know these new people my friends were hanging around with. My head was screaming “just go home, no one will notice!” but on the other hand God was whispering “stay strong, I am with you, I will notice if you go”.
I went home for dinner that day, using the excuse that I was jet-lagged from flying home. I could have so easily just stayed at home, I was tired and not in the mood. With Isaiah 41 v 10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” running through my mind I changed my attitude to it all. That night was one of the best nights, as we had so many encounters with God and His people as we walked around the estate popcorn praying as we went. This was also the first time I had ever prayed out loud but the team and the leaders just made this a lot easier. That night we became closer as a team and I was now in on the personal jokes and my relationship with God was starting to change too.
The seed was planted that year at Xpression but it was time to start looking after it and putting in the effort to help it to grow. I started Kids Club OTT on the Garvaghy Road that September and it was a great way for me to continue on this journey with God. I volunteered in Killicomaine for another couple of years, again, simply because my friends were there but in reality but my heart was on the Garvaghy Road. Then one year I finally made the move, I finally ticked Garvaghy on the application regardless of what my friends had put. That year we were separated but it was the year when I felt totally myself and utterly in awe of the goodness and power of God.
A SPECIAL PLACE
My heart breaks for all the communities that Xpression are serving in but a part of my heart was in Garvaghy. I had got to know the kids and their families through Kids Club during the year so when it came to summer it was a great opportunity for us to go out and meet them rather than them just coming to us. I loved being in the heart of the community and just doing life with people whether that was by pulling the weeds out in their garden, kicking a football about with some kids on the green or eating some burgers at the community BBQ.
Likewise I adored being in community with other people of similar minds all striving to see the Kingdom of God come together. Over my six years at Xpression I have met so many interesting and amazing people who have helped to shape who I am today as a Christian. Their love and dedication to the work of Xpression has been infectious and now as leader myself I only aspire to be like these leaders for the next generation of volunteers coming through. I thank these leaders from the bottom of my heart for the great influences they have been on my life and that of others. In Acts the group of believers meet daily for devotions and in the temple, they identified themselves as believers in Christ and worked together towards the common purpose of advancing God’s kingdom and Church on earth as they “preached the word wherever they went”. They also “had everything in common” meaning that their beliefs, values and their lives were shared. The group in Acts are an example of the sacrificial attitude needed when trying to work in harmony with others, exactly what is needed for Xpression.
Serving For God
I have been doing Xpression for six years now; when I started in that first year it was solely for me but from that year my mind set was changed and I wanted to do it for God. I did struggle to break away from my need to be with my friends rather than where God wanted me to be but with a lot of pray and courage I done it and haven’t looked back since. I now lead the Kids Club team in Garvaghy during Xpression and I always use this analogy on the last day of a week full of high intensity reflection. The week of Xpression is a bit like filling up a car with petrol, we fill the car up full to the point where it is overflowing however we are only going to get so far with that one tank of petrol, we have to continually keep filling it up to go further. There is no point just doing Xpression for the “Holy High” and then just letting that wait for another year. If you have a heart for the community and declaring your faith in a practical way then get involved in your church outreach, invest in your church youth and children programmes or volunteer in some of the Kids Club that run throughout the year. So yes, fill your tank up at Xpression but remember to keep filling up along the way or else you are going to run out and get stuck.