To give a quick background to this trip, I was asked several months ago to consider a mission-type trip to the U.K., in which I would be scheduled to lead some Bible studies and preach in several churches there. This was coordinated by a lady in our church (Beifei Edwards), who had studied and attended the University of Surrey there in England some years ago. She and her husband, Ken, are actively involved in our church and did a mission trip to China last year.
When asked by Beifei if I would consider a trip to the U.K. to preach and share with churches, I said I positively would consider it if the Lord provided the finances. A few weeks later, an 88-year-old man who has dedicated his life to the work of the Lord with his money said he would sponsor the way for both me and Sondra to come to England to share God's Word there. Beifei was working a trip with Chinese officials in London prior to our arrival and would meet us as we (me, Sondra and Ken) flew to London. She would then join us for our time of ministry in Guildford, England!
It was an amazing miracle of the Lord to provide and allow us to minister overseas at this time!
Here is a quick recap of our trip, which totaled 13 days (which includes flight days).
Day One - Wednesday, August 31.
We got up very early and left Rialto at 4 am, drove to Shawn and Crystal's house in Ontario to be taken by Shawn to LAX (after picking up Ken), took the flight to Toronto for layover, then on to London Heathrow Airport, arriving around 6:30 am London time on Thursday morning.
Day Two - Thursday, September 1.
Ken Edwards (Beifei's husband), Sondra and I took a bus to the Radisson Edwards Heathrow Hotel, met Beifei, took showers and had breakfast. We then took the Underground rail to the London Tower to relax and tour. After that, we were met and transported by car and taken to our host home in Guildford, about an hour from London in the Surrey area of England. Our driver from the airport, Asator, was a very interesting man with a powerful testimony of God's power and watchcare. We were able to se him every so often and meet his family later. I will tell you more about him in a later blog. Upon arrival in Guildford, we had dinner (pork chops, fish cakes and lamb kabobs with vegetables and dessert) with the host family of Ken and Beifei, and then we were taken back to our host home for the evening. Our real "chauffeur" (driver) for the week was a wonderful retired missionary lady named Sue Hanscombe. She had been a nurse in Nigeria and was now retired. For our time in Guildford, she blocked out the two weeks on her schedule to be ready every day to shuttle us to wherever we needed to be. She became our "mother hen" and we were blessed by her love and commitment. Our host family was Robert and Alison Stevenson, a wonderful couple deeply involved in a local church. They were very sweet and kind. He is a podiatrist and she is a special education teacher. Since they worked, we did not see them until the evening time each day. It was nearly 10 pm when we got home for sleep that first night in Guildford.
Ken and Beifei Edwards, Sondra and Galen Greenwalt at hotel
Sondra and Galen at the Tower of London
Sondra with the Tower Bridge and River Thames in background
Sondra and Galen in front of host home
Our "driver" Sue Hanscombe and her Toyota
Our host couple, Alison and Robert Stevenson
Day Three - Friday, September 2.
We got up early and were taken to town to see the Guildford town center. After walking High Street, we the went to the Guildford Castle and its beautiful grounds. There was also a variety of flowers and plants arranged for a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible (authoirzed in the year 1611). From the castle grounds, we were able to see the home of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. We ate fish and chips for lunch and I had an opportunity to witness to our waitress, a young lady named Holly who was looking for a church to attend. That evening, we went to the Guildford Chinese Christian Fellowship, a group of students who are attending the University of Surrey. Most of them are working towards their Masters degrees and many are Ph.D. students. There were about 20 of us sitting together in a small apartment for this very special time. My study was from Ephesians 4:4-14, and my topic was "Ten Truths for Believers." The ten truths I highlighted were:
1. God loves you.
2. God wants you to grow spiritually.
3. You are saved by grace, and you grow by grace.
4. We are to love others.
5. We are to focus on Jesus.
6. God cares about all of your life, not just your spirituality.
7. We are to pray with faith and perseverance.
8. We are to read the Bible, as it is fully God's Word.
9. We are to get involved in a Bible-based church.
10. We must not allow circumstances to ever discourage us.
The students asked many questions and were a delight to be with. We again got home about 10 pm, but it was hard to get to sleep as both Sondra and I needed to "wind down" after such an exciting time with believers who were on fire for the Lord.
The town clock on High Street
Sondra posing with a sales mascot on High Street
Having lunch with Holly as our server
The Guildford Castle
Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible
Home of author Lewis Carroll
Brother Merlin was the coordinator of the Chinese student Bible fellowship
A wonderful group of students sang and shared in the Bible study time
Galen leading the Bible study in the apartment setting
More about our next few days in the next blog!