Well, we’re back in Manchester. We came back last Thursday to find a cold house, with a smashed window…. scallies still do their work no-matter where you are. It has been a little strange adjusting and my house is no way near unpacked… some people would say that is usual for us 🙂
As I was sat in the evening service at Ivy Manchester last night, my mind was wandering and drifting a little. The speaker was talking about being satisfied with what you have done, and resting as well. Now they were talking about a work context, but why can’t I apply it to mission as well?
We’ve been 4 months as part of a pioneering project, I had not realised until last night just how intense it had been in reality. It was at times very intense, a rich and varied experience. And then as I looked back, I must admit to being very pleased and albeit a little proud of what the Lord had achieved through us. Sometimes when you are in the middle of something, the sacrifice and even the situation can hurt, but when you look back, it is all worth it. So let me share briefly with you, the result of 4 months of hard graft in Africa:
From nothing, in the last 4 months, we have:
We have learned what is needed to take the gospel forward in rural Africa, and we believe we see how to do it.
Befriended, worked and ministered with a team of 5 rural pastors. In August, we spoke to over 2000 villagers about prayer and showed the Jesus film in 8 locations.
Developed and carried out a conference called ‘Loving the Lost’ which aimed to excite, inspire and recruit missionaries to the cause of rural African mission.
We examined and built a relationship with an outfit called ReSource who publish an excellent course for rural discipleship called Rooted in Jesus.
We initiated 4 Life! groups in 4 villages as an initial trial.
We formed a team with a joint vision and shared values across two continents to take forward the cause of Christ in an area. This team comprises the same 5 pastors we worked with earlier on. They are slowly being joined by others.
We have found a way to support our colleagues in the mission God has called them to through growing cabbages and rearing chickens. More than this, we believe this will give them the freedom to grow the ministry themselves.
We have laid the foundations of a wider communal project to support the expansion of the ministry.
We developed and held a Life! conference in association with Rooted in Jesus, where villagers from a further 11 villages and some slums were invited. We trained, extolled, prayed, strategised and schemed, to see the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
We made friends in many new places.
As I write, Jo is still in Zambia, tidying up the loose ends and attempting to make sure the new expansion is supported well. BTW Pray for her!
We have proved that we can set up, enact and take down a short/medium term incursion and have seen practically that this is a viable way for us to work, with real long term change.
Most Importantly: We followed the will of God, saw him provide the people and the money and ultimately, He achieved it with us and through us.
So as I look back, I feel proud, and I think we have cause to feel proud. However, the work is still going on, as I write, there are about 40 or so people who have started to take responsibility for their own walk with God and the life of their village.
As for the future, bring it on….