Delightful New Beginnings
Having recently returned from our month-long mission trip to the United Kingdom, my wife Cherie and I have enjoyed the quietness and warmth of being home. What a wonderful place - home. It's truly where the heart resides and it is within the comfortable confines of this place, our home, we're able to sit quietly and reflect upon our journey abroad.
Above all, we are thankful to our Lord for the opportunity to participate in such an impactful missional journey, during which we met new friends and established warm relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ in Morecambe, England and beyond. We are also incredibly thankful for the generosity and missional vision of the All Saints Anglican Church ("ASAC") congregation in Shreveport, Louisiana. Without the financial and prayer support of ASAC, the short-term mission trip to the United Kingdom and Berlin, Germany would not have become a reality.
I've always heard that mission sending congregations are blessed by God, often in unexpected ways. This reality proved true within a week of our return from the United Kingdom to ASAC and Shreveport. Through a generous one-time financial gift by a friend of ASAC, our small and newly missional congregation realized a 100% return on its decision to fund a mission trip. The financial gift replaced the precise amount of funding designated by the ASAC Vestry for the mission trip down to the very dollar. God is so good.
We're not the only ones experiencing a near immediate return on the U.K. mission. A renewed and palpable sense of energy and mission is evident with the Free Church of England ("FCE"). Enthusiastic, talented and brave men are joining the ranks of the FCE as church revitalizers and planters. Old buildings are becoming new again under the leadership of these men and their families. Whole communities are beginning to experience the spiritual life and vitality one committed, visionary Christian minister can make in an area accustomed to dry spiritual bones. God is raising up a new generation of leaders and the gospel is flowing once again across arid ground.
Already, God has breathed new life into Emmanuel Church in Morecambe, an up-and-coming seaside community in northwest England. During our visit to Morecambe, Cherie and I so enjoyed getting to know Brett and Kat Murphy and spending good, quality time with their beautiful young family. The Lord is working mightily through these folks. Within the the past few weeks, visitors to Emmanuel Church in Morecambe have discovered a new spiritual home. Volunteers in the church's Food Pantry have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and have committed their lives to him. The FCE and the Morecambe community have welcomed the Murphy's as their own. God is just beginning a wonderful work through these people and in this place. What a delight to see in real time.
There is much to be gleaned in all of this about the nature of God's working in our world and through congregations committed to biblical fidelity, the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the establishment of new missional communities. After years and years of waiting, Christians across the United Kingdom have a new place to call their spiritual home. Welcome home, friends in Christ!