Having already been to the church, ‘Le Gospel’, earlier in the year, I knew a little of what to expect, but what blessed me to bits this time was the desperate hunger of an ever-increasing number of people, to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done here on earth. When you have a church led by such a wonderful couple as Bernard & Anne-Margrethe Wenger, it is going to go places. Anne-Margrethe wasn’t around, sadly, as her dad in Denmark died on Friday evening, so she was with him, but Bernard said something to Mark & me that blessed me no end, not the usual sort of words you hear from a church leader! – ‘I don’t want a church, I want a missional community’ – and he holds the reins of the church lightly, giving people freedom to move, be, and do in whatever God has encouraged them.
For a small church (and they are smaller than they could be were they NOT a missional community , their influence is around the globe. I’m so glad that, before they leave for Senegal as missionaries, I had a chance to get to know Yannick & Therese Srowoda: what a great couple, going to Senegal as missionaries – not conventional missionaries as such, but to help change communities with – in Yannick’s case – farming practices that could – and will – be revolutionary. Not only that, but they go in February, when their baby will be just 10 weeks old….A young lady, Sarah Kolokea, who is part of the church, but from Hawaii, is studying at the top pastry school (apparently) in the world in Rouen – NOT, as you might think, to go into the huge money-making factory coking is these days – but to set up centres all over the world making top class food to feed the poor… coming, as she does, from a background of family that includes homelessness, and alcoholism, she knows the ‘ropes’ where the poor are concerned. What an amazing vision: to feed the poor with the very best food. I think Jesus told the story of a banquet, along those lines, right…?
A nurse (midwife specialist – she trains midwives), Malorie, has just come back from Spain on a ministry trip with another church young lady, Caroline: and, as a result of the weekend, wants to go to Colombia (both of them, in fact!), to teach not only midwifery skills, but basic health and baby care to people in the poor areas of Cali, which you can imagine thrilled me, as it’s the poor in Cali where my heart is.
So…we don’t want ‘church’: a missional community. Radical indeed.
And dear Gerard & Elisabeth, where Mark & I stayed, will be in Cali with me. Elisabeth is a nurse, too: Gerard a skilled carpenter/builder, but with a massive passion for evangelism. He did countless Bible-smuggling to Eastern Europe prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Such adorable people to stay with, they blessed us out of our socks, and as I said in previous blogs, the Presence of God resides in their house.
Mark got home to news that his blood pressure has gone crazily out of control, I got home – having tripped in the pitch dark en route to the loo up a step I’d forgotten was there! – with incredibly sore knees, Mark left his ‘outward bound’ type coat on the ferry, and both of us have had immense unnatural tiredness hit us, but we’ve just nattered on the phone, and today, we’re back at a higher place than when we left on Thursday! Mission does that for you…. 🙂