As I continue my time with the Newfrontiers Midwest churches , I am reminded of the old-time pioneers. They would load up their family in a wagon and head out to where no-one they knew had gone before. Eager to put down a stake as a marker and claim the ground, some of the old towns were barely built when the relentless march westwards would continue. There is something of the same spirit here.
I spent the last twenty-four hours with Tommy Stanley, his family, and church in the Kansas City area. Some of my UK readers will remember Tommy from his days leading worship at the last few Stoneleigh Bible Weeks that Newfrontiers used to run. When I met him, despite being told of this history, I did not recognize him. We enjoyed much laughter and a Kansas BBQ before heading out to a special meeting they had arranged for me to speak at. When Tommy went to the front during the worship time and led us by bringing a contribution, I had a sudden sense of déjà vu. In a flash I was back at that event which was such an important influence on me. Perhaps not surprisingly the worship time here was powerful and refreshing to my soul.
I really felt like I was welcomed into the family of Grace Church, Lee’s Summit. They were a great congregation to speak to, and I also enjoyed a Q and A they put on for some of their men on Saturday morning over breakfast.The visit felt too short, despite my growing desire to be home with my gorgeous wife and children. Being able to connect with them over iChat has made this trip so much easier. I was especially pleased to hear that they had worked out how to make donuts (that could save me a fortune at Krispy Kremes in the coming years!), that my son Joel has been getting certificates for good behavior at school, and that my son Henry was so pleased to have got a 5a for his literacy at school. This is apparently the highest grade his teacher had given for a few years for a year six child. He now wants to be an author like his dad. Such little things make you still feel connected to home.
I am now in St. Louis, staying with Mike and Teresa Lawson. Having so many brothers and sisters all over the world willing to open their home to you is one of the many wonderful things about being a believer. I look forward to visiting The Journey later today and Jubilee tomorrow.