What a week. I was quite tired and took some time this week to catch up on rest. I also enjoyed catching up on the lives of those in my church family. So much goes on in a couple of weeks.
Last Wednesday evening in our church Bible study, I taught a short lesson on the early church in Acts and its focus on fellowship and sharing. We spent the majority of the hour that night talking about our lives and what God has been doing, as well as the difficulties and prayer needs that we all have. It was an amazing time to hear what many had been going through, just in those few days we were gone to England.
The interesting question I had to answer from everyone was, "Well, how was the trip?" That is such a hard question to answer, as there are many levels to consider in answering it. It was hard to be concise about the impact of the trip for me and for those we ministered to overseas. It is a long answer, if I am to be fair and accurate and honest.
I could answer the question on the level of what we experienced in the sights and sounds and tastes of England. There is also the level of the spiritual atmosphere and state of the churches that we attended. There is the level of friendships made, and the various individuals and their different stories of faith and challenges of life through the years. There is the level of personal growth and dependence on God in various situations that we faced. There is the level of relationship with a wonderful couple (Ken and Beifei Edwards) in our church that we traveled with. There is the level of spending a great amount of time on a trip of this magnitude with my wife, Sondra, because of the memories we will share. You see, there are a great many levels of awareness that can be considered when asked the question, "How was the trip?"
But in a setting where a short answer is needed, I would respond with something simple and short. "The trip was wonderful. We had many opportunities for sharing and preaching and teaching and witnessing. The people were so kind and gracious in their hospitality and friendship. It seemed God used us to bless those we met, we were blessed ourselves in building new relationship for years to come, and we were again amazed at God's beauty of creation as we traveled through the countryside villages and towns."
Yesterday was Sunday, and I took the majority of the time for the sermon to show a few photos from our trip. It was mainly to show the various individuals and families that we met that are being used by God in that area of the world. I spoke of the call of the apostle Paul to go to Macedonia in the book of Acts. The vision he had was from a man who beckoned him with the words, "Come and help!" We are constantly bombarded with those in need around us! We must always "come and help" when the Lord makes a way for us! It seemed abundantly clear to me that there were some in England who had been waiting for us to "come and help" them with encouragement and words of challenge.
It was interesting that we had three visitors in our little church yesterday. One specifically said, in talking with me and Sondra after the time of worship, "I have found my church!" That was such a blessing to top everything off! We are so blessed.
We are now waiting for our next grandbaby to be born! Crystal's due date is this Wednesday. You will hear about it as soon as the baby comes!