We’ve spent the past two days watching it rain (Sorry about that, West Texas Friends) and this morning at church we were jokingly blamed for the English summer being interrupted because we chose to take a day off yesterday.
We explained that rain didn’t bother us and so we enjoyed our trip into Newcastle in spite of it. Last year in Oxfordshire we never really saw what we call “rain” in West Texas, but we are beginning to think that they know how to rival a good West Texas thunderstorm up here in Geordie land. Yep, it came down in buckets full yesterday! We’ve learned not to go anywhere without a brolly (umbrella). And, yes, we did ride on the top deck of the double-decker sight-seeing bus. Newcastle is a very progressive city with an 11th century castle as well as state of the art industry. The most interesting thing we saw all day was these guys in kilts standing outside the Central Train Station. Not an attire that Dennis will be bringing back home.
It’s been another great week of ministry. Brenda was invited to speak at Sisterhood on Monday afternoon and enjoyed sharing her testimony as well as encouraging these sweet saints using Ephesians 1:18-21 to continue serving in the power which raised Christ from the dead – the Power of the Holy Spirit within them. It is a real blessing to meet with them every Monday afternoon and listen to them sing as Mrs. Nellie Cowie (age 95) accompanies them on the piano. They are a faithful and loving group of ladies.
Wednesday was a full day. We were invited to speak at “The Friendly Circle” which is a group of about 100 ladies who meet at another Baptist church not far from our house. They had asked us to tell them about how we came to minister in England and about our life in West Texas. There a lot of these folks who do not attend church on a regular basis and this group is not necessarily a “religious” group, but if we are going to be asked to talk, we’re going to talk about Jesus and the difference He has made in our lives. They seemed thrilled and many of them came to talk with us afterward. They have invited us back in November to share about American Thanksgiving. It seems that the Brits are a bit confused by all of the American commercialism that surrounds the holiday season in America. We’ve been asked several times if we exchange gifts at Thanksgiving. It sort of caught us by surprise, so we have explained that the retailers have succeeded in jumping the gun on Christmas until it has completely encompassed Thanksgiving as well. Therefore, we look forward to sharing the real meaning of Thanksgiving. It is convenient timing since Brenda is reading The Light and The Glory by Peter Marshall which explains the real roots of our nation and God’s call on godly men to establish a country grounded in the Gospel of Christ. We’ll let you know the exact date when we have it so that you can pray with us that hearts and minds will be open to hear the Gospel.
The biggest event of the week occurred on Wednesday evening as WRBC hosted a Bar-b-que for the parents who bring their children to Whizz Kids as well as other families who participate in the various children’s activities at the church.
At 6:00 p.m. they were “queuing” out the door of the hall and down the sidewalk behind the church. Dennis says that he and Geoff think that they grilled about 128 burgers. As each family got their food, they spread out all over the church, some in the pews in the sanctuary and some in the hall where there were a number of activities for the children to be involved in. At one point a young woman approached Brenda and asked if she was the pastor’s wife. She then proceeded to explain how blessed she was to see a church do something where children could just come and enjoy themselves along with their parents. It was a very sweet moment that made all of us to realize that the Lord was using the open doors of this church to draw people to Himself.
Eleanor, our 90 year old neighbor, invited Brenda over on Friday morning for coffee and biscuits. Their conversation easily turned to Christ and Brenda was able to share in detail the work of Christ in the lives of those who trust Him. Eleanor has not been to church in years but is quick to say that she was baptized at St. Michael’s Anglican Church, the parish church for South Shields. She admitted that she believed that God’s Word is completely true and that our society suffers because people do not believe it any more. She was very easy to talk to and so our next conversation will hopefully go a little deeper. We are hoping to have the opportunity to take her to some of the activities such as Sisterhood and Coffee Pot in the near future.
We were introduced to “Rounders” on Thursday evening as we attended the last week of Boys Brigade and Anchor Boys for this term. Rounders is much like American Baseball . . . but not really. It was fun to watch and to have the opportunity to spend time with the boys. Most of these little guys were in church this morning as today was the monthly Family Service. Family Services focus on the children’s programs of Boys Bridgade, Anchor Boys, and Brownies. These 3 children’s clubs meet at WRBC and involve about 30+ children. On the Family Service Sundays, the children come and hopefully bring their parents, most of whom do not attend church. This morning we were thrilled to have not only parents from the 3 clubs but also a parent or two who attended the Bar-b-que on Wednesday evening. Little by little we are hoping to draw them in as they see our love for one another, for them, and for their children. The service was completely focused on the topic of Salvation with the story of Zaccheus being told through song, video, children’s sermon and in Dennis’ sermon. The church has had business cards printed for us and Dennis invited them to pick one up and call us during the week if they had further questions about Jesus and His ability to bring salvation to us just as He did to Zaccheus. Most of the parents seemed quite comfortable staying around after the service for tea and biscuits and chatting with us. Please pray that events such as this will result in Kingdom growth at Westoe Road.
We are enjoying having a new broadband connection at the house. The mobile broadband was not working particularly well and so the church has graciously had a line put in the house. We purchased a Magic Jack phone before leaving Abilene and will now be able to keep it plugged as much as possible. The number is 325-500-0597 and can be dialed just like you would dial a number in Abilene. We are also on Skype, so please feel free to call us anytime . . . keeping in mind that we are 6 hours ahead of you. When you get up at 6 a.m. (if any of you are up that early), it’s noon for us . . . and when we go to bed at 10 p.m., it’s 4 in the afternoon for you.
We are settling into life here and even worked in the back garden this week planting some flowers. Wish we could sit in our garden and have a cup of tea with you, but for now we’ll have to be content with just a picture.
Love to all!