Notices for 27th May, 2018

Louise,
CBC news logo

The Gathering Weekend

This event is taking place on 7th and 8th July 2018.  Meetings on the Saturday will be at Priory Street and on the Sunday at the Springfield Campus. Tickets at £5 per person are available through your congregational leader.  Jenny Gaisford at 9:15am; John Godwin at the 11:15am service; Norman Fuggle at the midweek service & Adrian Pillinger at Church on the Green.

Midweek Service

The next midweek service will be held on 30th May at 2pm.  The text is 1 Peter 2.11-25. Eric will lead and David will preach.

Prayer for the Unreached

Ramadan is from 15th May to 14th June 2018. Please see the website at www.30daysprayer.org.uk to order a booklet to help you to pray (£2.50 each) or contact Wendy Rowe or Gill Bryant.

Fancy attending New Wine for Free?

Bible Society are looking for volunteers to serve in their café in Week 2 of New Wine (5-11 Aug 2018). There’s no cooking involved and you get to serve with a great team of volunteers and staff.  If you are interested, please contact Sue Wingrave.

Prayer for Unsaved Family Members

Do you have family members who are indifferent or hostile to Jesus?  Perhaps they once walked with Jesus but have now turned away from Him?  Come and join us to pray for them on Wednesday June 20th 2018 at CBC 2-3pm.  Please contact Helen Christie for further information.

Monthly Prayer Meeting for Pewsham

A reminder that there is prayer for Pewsham – second Sunday evening of each month. See Phil & Helen Osmond for details.  Those who live in or near it will know where it is.

Bryant Newsletter

Please take a copy of Steve and Gill’s very interesting newsletter from the table at the back.

Craft Club

A reminder that the next Craft Club will take place on Saturday 2nd June at 10am at Priory Street.  Please chat to Hazel Hammett for more details of this monthly group.

A call for help – accommodation needed

From 22nd July to 1st August, CBC will be hosting the MK Staff Training course on behalf of WEC International. This is the same course that was held at the church last year and it is being run by Steve and Gill Bryant. There is an opportunity for church members to help by providing accommodation for one or more of our participants, who will be serving God overseas in a role that supports world mission by teaching or caring for missionary children. If you are able to offer accommodation for all or part of this time, please contact Steve and Gill.

Mission Event

We will be holding a Mission Matters event on Sunday 10th June, starting at 4:15pm, with tea and cakes.  Steve and Gill Bryant  will be sharing about their recent trips and forthcoming WEC training in July.  Stuart, Lynne and Matthew Little will be sharing about their forthcoming mission work with Mercy Ships.

This is an exciting opportunity to hear from our missionaries and to find out how we can support them in their work.  If you are able to bring some cakes/ sandwiches or help serve drinks please see Wendy Rowe.  Thank you for your continued support with our mission work.

Men’s Fight Night

A reminder … men’s fight night is on every second Monday of the month at 8pm : 11th June; 9th July; 13th August; 10th September

 

This week is half term so please check with your Life Group co-ordinator about your meetings

…Coming up…

30th May: Midweek service, 2pm

2nd June: Craft club, 10am

3rd June: “Gathered to Pray” 6pm in the coffee hall

3rd June: Prayer evening, 6pm

10th June: Mission event, 4:15pm

11th June: Men’s fight night, 8pm

13th June: Midweek service, 2pm

23rd June: Seniors’ summer party, 3pm

 

Steve and Gill Bryant’s Prayer News May 2018

Steve and Gill Bryant,
WEC logo

Dear friends

Warm greetings! Here is our latest prayer letter, being sent to you during a week of lovely sunny weather with spring flowers and blossom out everywhere.

Steve’s visits to Thailand and Senegal

Back in October Steve visited Thailand, where he attended a large WEC regional conference, Asiacon, and was able to deliver training on safeguarding to the team leaders there. He also spent time at WEC’s boarding hostel, a ‘home away from home’ for young people attending Grace International School. The teenagers living there are the children of missionaries working in several of the surrounding countries, in areas where education for their children is not easily available. Steve and other WEC staff members were able to work with the boarding home parents to ensure that the hostel’s policies and procedures were up-to-date, as part of the overall care plan for the young people there.

Clockwise from top left – Conference centre, Thailand’s love of colour and flowers; Flooding in the streets of Chiang Mai

A taste of Thailand as Steve visits Grace International School, Chiang Mai

At the end of January Steve went to Senegal, escaping the British winter for almost three weeks. First he spent time at Bourofaye Christian School. The school for missionaries’ children is an integral part of evangelism and church planting in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea Bissau and supports around 30 families in that work. Please pray for the school not only to have the staff they need, but also to consistently model Christian living to the children and to know God’s power at work in and through their lives and ministry. There is an urgent need for long-term committed staff members who can fulfill leadership roles. While there Steve was able to talk through many issues facing the school such as the minimum age of boarding, English as an Additional Language (EAL) teaching, recruitment and the transfer of children to other school systems. EAL is a huge challenge as many of the children are not native speakers. More and more often, missionaries are coming from places like Brazil, Nigeria, Latin American countries, and Korea. In addition to this the EAL teacher is due to retire in July, making this one of the school’s most obvious staff needs.

After leaving BCS Steve travelled 350 miles south-east from Dakar to Vélingara, where he spent time working with national churches on safeguarding. The WEC-related church, although still very small, has grown since our first arrival back in 1990 when there were just four congregations. Now there are more than 15 churches across Senegal which are growing numerically and seeking to spread the gospel and plant new churches. Part of the church outreach in the Vélingara area involves school and nursery ministry and there are now around 650 children enrolled at their schools. This kind of ministry is crucial, bearing in mind that 50% of the population are aged 16 or under. The children are being taught the full curriculum from a Christian perspective. The classes have around 40 students, but are very well organised and disciplined and it is clear that the teachers love teaching and the children enjoy being at school. All of them, both from Muslim and Christianised backgrounds, value the school’s commitment to learning and its supportive and child-friendly Christian ethos.

Church school buildings in Vélingara, Senegal – temporary (left) and part finished (right)

Shukran, Gamsa Hae, Gracias, Asante!

These words for ‘thank you’ in many languages were sung as part of the worship at WEC’s International Leaders’ Conference, known as Intercon, which we attended in April. It was a great privilege to be there with brothers and sisters of 26 nationalities, many serving the Lord in very difficult places. During this
time we worshipped God, studied and discussed the scriptures, and shared and prayed with one another in small ‘community groups’. We reviewed the progress of WEC’s outreach goals throughout the world and were encouraged to see what God has done in the last few years. There is inadequate space here to share all of the stories that we heard, but if you would like more information please contact us.

It is challenging to note that some of the people groups that we wanted to reach have not yet been engaged due to lack of workers.

Our contribution to the conference included presenting seminars on family life, educational planning and internet safety, and sharing about our resources with 19 different small groups. In addition we had a lot of individual conversations about training or individual family needs. This was very valuable, especially for Gill who has met fewer of our workers face to face than Steve.

Staff Training Course

In our last letter we included a photo of the participants at last year’s training course for staff working with missionaries’ children which was held at our church. We are delighted that the church has agreed to host the course again this year, and preparations are well underway.

Points for praise

  • We have had quite a few offers of accommodation and some offers of help with catering.
  • Eight adults and two children are registered, all heading for Bourofaye Christian School.

Points for prayer

  • Some more people have applied but they have hurdles to overcome. Pray them through.
  • More participants are needed, to fill the vacancies in schools across the world where
    missionaries’ children are studying.
  • God’s provision for the working out of logistics as Gill seeks to arrange accommodation, catering
    and transport.
  • A good way of caring for the children whose parents will be on the course.

Family news

Michael and Bethany continue to serve at the Adama Martha Community Health Clinic in Kono District, Sierra Leone. We enjoyed seeing them briefly when they visited the UK in April, and they have now extended their term of service to September and possibly beyond. Peter and his girlfriend Miriam will be visiting them very soon, flying out on 20th May and returning on 2nd June. Please pray for safe travel, good health and their cultural adjustment: they hope to be able to help in some way even though they are not medically trained. For Miriam it will be the first trip to Africa and for Peter it is now ten years since he visited Senegal where he lived till the age of 11. Pray that they will be an encouragement to the staff there. See this link for more information about the clinic.

David is very busy with garden work at this time of the year. He is keenly involved in his local church, where he appreciates being part of a Life Group and contributing to church activities in various ways. We are able to spend time with him most Sundays.

Thank you so much for your interest and prayers

Blessings from Steve and Gill

The Greatest Story ever toured

Tim Stephenson,
comedian Paul Kerensa and The Bible Course creator, Dr Andrew Ollerton discuss in front of a camper van

The Bible Course Tour

Due to popular demand we now have extra seats available for The Greatest Story Ever Toured on 25 May at Gateway Church, Swindon. We have been overwhelmed by the response and want those of you on the waiting list to have a seat on the night. So please do visit the website and get your tickets now.

It’s a Goliath of a show that explains how key events, books and characters fit together and, like Samson, it’s sure to bring the house down.

Join comedian Paul Kerensa and The Bible Course creator, Dr Andrew Ollerton, for a night of laughter and learning, as the big story of the Bible is unfolded in The Greatest Story Ever Toured.

Buy tickets for Friday 25 May 2018 at Gateway Church, Swindon.

More dates and full details here.

WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY TONIGHT!

kathylarkman,

1cc19207f9a7be506aef9a6dac205b3bRemember to take time to come to CBC Church Hall for our 7th in a series of Living Out God’s Grace, where we will be studying one of God’s means of grace in our lives- Belonging to His Body: Church Community.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Time: 7:30-9:00

Place: Corsham Baptist Church Hall

Notice sheet 20th May 2018

Louise,
CBC news logo

The Gathering Weekend

This event is taking place on 7th and 8th July 2018.  Meetings on the Saturday will be at Priory Street and on the Sunday at the Springfield Campus. Tickets at £5 per person are available through your congregational leader.  Jenny Gaisford at 9:15am; John Godwin at the 11:15am service; Norman Fuggle at the midweek service & Adrian Pillinger at Church on the Green.

Prayer for the Unreached

Ramadan is from 15th May to 14th June 2018. Please see the website at www.30daysprayer.org.uk to order a booklet to help you to pray (£2.50 each) or contact Wendy Rowe or Gill Bryant.

Bible Society News

Bible Society invites you to a whistle-stop tour of the world’s bestseller with Paul Kerensa, Andrew Ollerton (author of The Bible Course) and Sound of Wales from 7.30pm on Fri 25/05/18 in Swindon. Visit Biblesociety.org.uk/biblecoursetour for tickets at £6 each or speak to Sue Wingrave, Esther King or Alan Kember.

Monthly Prayer Meeting for Pewsham

A reminder that there is prayer for Pewsham – second Sunday evening of each month. See Phil & Helen Osmond for details.  Those who live in or near it will know where it is.

Women’s Bible Study

The next women’s bible study will take place tomorrow 21st May 2018 at 7:30pm.  Study notes are on the table at the back.  Please chat to Anne Holmes or Kathy Larkman for more info.

The Ark

The next Ark is on Saturday 26th May 10.00am at Priory Street (Bank Holiday Weekend).  Do come along and support us if you are not away and bring your friends too.  We will be making multi-coloured cakes this time as we think about Joseph, as well as puppets, bible story, other crafts and songs.  We will finish with drinks and cake at 11.00 as usual.  And please pray for the Ark!!

Bryant Newsletter

Please take a copy of Steve and Gill’s very interesting newsletter from the table at the back.

Men’s Fight Night

A reminder … men’s fight night is on every second Monday of the month at 8pm.

            11th June; 9th July; 13th August; 10th September

A call for help – accommodation needed

From 22nd July to 1st August, CBC will be hosting the MK Staff Training course on behalf of WEC International. This is the same course that was held at the church last year and it is being run by Steve and Gill Bryant. There is an opportunity for church members to help by providing accommodation for one or more of our participants, who will be serving God overseas in a role that supports world mission by teaching or caring for missionary children. If you are able to offer accommodation for all or part of this time, please contact Steve and Gill by phone or email (use this address: mk_tck@yahoo.co.uk).

Mission Event

We will be holding a Mission Matters event on Sunday 10th June, starting at 4:15pm, with tea and cakes.  Steve and Gill Bryant  will be sharing about their recent trips and forthcoming WEC training in July.  Stuart, Lynne and Matthew Little will be sharing about their forthcoming mission work with Mercy Ships.

This is an exciting opportunity to hear from our missionaries and to find out how we can support them in their work.  If you are able to bring some cakes/ sandwiches or help serve drinks please see Wendy Rowe.  Thank you for your continued support with our mission work.

…This week…

Monday: Mums’ bible study, 10am; women’s bible study, 7:30pm

Thursday: Toddler Group, 10am; Corsham Money Debt Advice Centre, 7:30pm

Friday: Corsham Money and Debt Advice Centre, 9:30am; Encounter, 3.45pm; Engage, 4:30pm; Energize, 5:30pm

…Coming up…

21st May: Mums’ bible study, 10am; Women’s Bible Study, 7:30pm

26th May: The Ark, 10am

27th May: “Gathered to Remember”, 6pm service

30th May: Midweek service, 2pm

2nd June: Craft club, 10am

3rd June: Prayer evening, 6pm

10th June: Mission event, 4:15pm

11th June: Men’s fight night, 8pm

13th June: Midweek service, 2pm

WE ARE FAMILY

kathylarkman,

 

LESLEY NEW PHOTO

LESLEY GRINDROD, Contributor for today’s blog post

Following Christ means belonging, not just believing!
This may come as a shock to some of us, but ‘church’ was not designed by God to be just a gathering we can attend, but a family to which we can belong! Yes, of course my relationship with Christ is personal, but my loving heavenly Father never intended it to be private. In God’s family we are connected to every other believer, and we will belong to each other for eternity.
Hey sisters, isn’t this wonderful news? We’re not alone anymore! We were created for community, fashioned for fellowship, formed for a family – and none of us can fulfil God’s purposes by ourselves. Nowhere does the Bible ask us to be solitary saints or spiritual hermits, isolated from other believers and deprived of fellowship. But many times it talks of us being put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, held together, and one day being caught up together (1 Cor 12:12; Eph 2:21-22, 3:6, 4:16; Col 2:19 and 1 Thess 4:17).
The church is a body, not a building; an organism, not an organization. Jesus is building us into a family that exists in connection with him and with each other. And because of him we can enjoy relationships of genuine love, forgiveness, and peace with each other. Belong hereWithout Him, our community would simply be a gathering of friends.
In fact, it’s only when regularly interacting with the church community that we can live our life with God in Christ Jesus to the fullest. It’s within the church that God tangibly shows us his grace and teaches us to follow him together. Close connection with each other allows us to bear one another’s burdens, to love one another well, and to experience Jesus reproducing his life in our midst.
Belonging to our church community establishes a base from which we can reliably care for others. True love is not only manifest in affection and action, but also allegiance. Love doesn’t say, “I love these people but don’t need to covenant with them.” Rather, it says, “I love these people enough to covenant with them.” Living the Christian life in community is more than just loose associations when life is fun, but committing to be there for each other when life is hard, in sickness and in sorrow.
belonging4a-1-1024x575Our recent Ladies’ Retreat was a wonderful example of this covenant community in action. Over the weekend, we laughed and cried together, we studied, prayed and played together, and together we learned more about Jesus. We formed new friendships, strengthened old ones, risked being vulnerable with each other, allowing God to speak to and through us to encourage and support one another. What a joy to be part of this beautiful display of God’s grace within our sisterhood family!
So, if eternity is a real thing (which it is), and we are going to be together forever (which we are), then why not starting acting like it today? Make no mistake – for all of us who love Jesus, we will be together as His Church for all of eternity. That may sound scary, but here’s the deal – we can serve and love one another, call each other out, and be there for each other in ways that this world will never understand. And we can (and should) do all of that because we are family. We are family, for eternity!

 

Bryants at WEC’s international conference, Schönblick in Germany, April 2018

Steve and Gill Bryant,
Schönblick Conference Centre

It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Romans 15v20)

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10v14)

Preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known is the central ‘why’ of WEC’s existence – the reason why so many people are willing to make sacrifices to be part of fulfilling Jesus’ commandment to go. Bearing this great truth in our hearts and minds, WEC International held its 4-yearly international conference in Germany during April 2018. Steve and Gill were privileged to be two of the 250+ delegates gathered from over 20 different countries and from every continent around the world. The huge diversity of our mission force reflects global changes in the church with those from traditional sending countries now joined by Asian, African and Latin American co-workers.

The Challenges

There are still almost 2,000 million people – over 30x more than the population of the UK – in the 100 biggest ethnic groups unreached by the gospel, and over 80% of the world’s Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists don’t personally know a Christian.

Some missionaries are still battling on, sowing the seeds of the gospel in hard places and waiting for some kind of breakthrough beyond a handful of people showing interest. Others struggle to get visas or to retain those that they have, and live knowing that they could be asked to leave their place of service at short notice. Sometimes mission is graft that requires perseverance and determination and it is an ongoing challenge to retain the vision of reaching people who haven’t heard the gospel.

But, there are also many encouragements……..

The Encouragements

Conference speakers included the directors of sister missions such as the German DMG and CAPRO from Nigeria. From the very beginning of CAPRO 50 years ago, WEC has enjoyed a close relationship with them forming joint teams and sharing practical support together. CAPRO’s original vision of reaching the Muslim-majority north of Nigeria initially grew to include the rest of unreached Africa, and now has taken on other unreached parts of the world.

The growth of CAPRO represents a rising mission concern in many sub-Saharan African churches in strongly Christian areas. WEC is now working with mission-focused churches in a number of countries to help recruit and send. An exciting new development is coming up soon where new workers from Ethiopia will join WEC. Similar initiatives around the world are seeing NE Indians, Filipinos, and multiple other new nationalities joining us and other similar international missions.

In several countries we are now hearing about much more openness and response than ever before. Long-term missionaries who have been sowing and praying for years have finally begun to see fruit for their labours as people commit to following Jesus.

Our roles at the conference

General Bradley (one of the WW2 Allied commanders) popularised the expression “amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics” Of course he knew that strategy mattered, but he also knew that however good a strategy may have been it was destined to fail with poor logistical support. The same is true in missions where logistics in the form of member care, family support and administration can make the difference between success and failure. A large part of Steve and Gill’s conference was focused on family support in small group meetings and seminars – being part of the logistics that help realise the vision of preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known.

Steve and Gill will be sharing more about this and about Steve’s visit to Senegal in Jan/Feb at the CBC mission focus day on the 10th June.

“LET’S SHARE THE GRACE WITH ONE ANOTHER”

kathylarkman,
_MG_9161_2015

Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Many weeks our services at Church on the Green end with those words. I always make a point of smiling and nodding at the people around me, sharing the grace with them. The words are so familiar. I say it so often and it just rolls off the tongue. It’s nice to feel together, to be a little club with a secret sign off. But what on earth are we saying?

The words of “the grace” come straight from Scripture. They are Paul’s closing words to the church in Corinth. You can read it for yourself in 2 Corinthians 13:14. It is a prayer Paul prays for this bunch of Christians who he has been telling off. They are in a right state! They are arguing and fighting with each other, sleeping with each other, really battling to hang on to the truth, struggling with issues of purity and kindness. In his letter, Paul has been pretty stroppy with them!

Paul has spoken strongly with the church in Corinth but his final words are a prayer of blessing. Not a prayer that God would show them that he (Paul) is right, or that God would punish them for being so argumentative.

Paul asks God to bless them with:
1) Jesus’ grace. May God show them undeserved kindness because of Jesus. The church in Corinth definitely didn’t deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. Neither do I. Neither do we. But Paul longs for them to enjoy that grace and prays that they would.

2) the Father’s love. The unending, patient, kind, not-giving-up, pursuing love of God. The kind of love God shows us and the kind of love Paul commands us to have for each other in his other letter to the Corinthians. Love for each other in church is patient, love for each other in church is kind… (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

3) The together-ness that comes from the Spirit. Despite arguments and sinning against one another. Only God’s Spirit can bring the church together, whether it’s the people local church, or uniting a local church with other Christians far away. Paul prays that God’s Spirit will bring the church in Corinth together as one, and also that they would be joined to himself and other churches through that same Spirit.
Paul’s prayer gives us a look into his heart, looking to bless and love God’s people all the time.
So as you look round the church this Sunday, and smile, nod and wave. But don’t just say the grace; _pray_ the grace for each other.
Pray:
May God bless you by showing you kindness in Jesus, even though you don’t deserve it.
May God pour out his love on you and show you this week that you can trust him, his love will catch you.
May God bring us together by his Spirit, even though at times we disagree or selfishly sin against each other.
May all the persons of the Trinity bless you, now and forever. Amen.

Weevils & Worms, Radio Ruth, Project Peter & Turkish Delight!

Ruth,

Even the police aren’t immune from the unseen pot-holes!

Rain drops keep falling….. loudly on our tin roof!! Tis the season to be…..wet, damp & soggy! Granted, these are not words that you normally associate with Africa but, as we approach the end of the rainy season, we’re looking forward to drier days! For the many subsistence farmers here the rains are a blessing and everywhere looks lush and green as the vegetation goes into over-drive! For many people the length of the rainy season determines their food-stocks for the rest of the year – and so the rains are welcomed with open arms by most. However, the rains also bring with them some unwelcome side effects! Pot-holes that were only ‘repaired’ last month start opening up again. Roadside gutters fill up very quickly with reddish silt that’s made its way down from the mountains behind us. Power cuts tend to increase and the occasional power-surge blows out your lightbulbs – three in one go in our house!

Even the worms are seeking refuge from the rain! During every downpour they slither under the doors of our house before drying out and offering themselves as food for the numerous ‘sugar ants’ which have also taken up residence in our kitchen! Desperate measures have come into force whereby the sugar now lives in the fridge and the honey jar sits in a bowl which has pesticide powder in it! Sitting down for breakfast a few weeks ago, I even found a couple of weevils popping their heads out of my Weetabix! And then there’s the mold! My leather sandals have taken on a soft green/white appearance and I’m wondering how long it will take for them to morph into a pair of carpet slippers! And then there are the smells which always seem to be exaggerated here in Africa. Having a damp dog snoozing next to a damp sofa isn’t something to be sniffed at! Oh the joys of an African rainy season!

Having said that, we’re well aware that we get off lightly when the rains pour down. We have a roof that doesn’t leak (well, not much anyway!) and walls that stand firm. For many people up on the mountains behind us there’s the risk that run-off water will undermine their houses, causing the mud-brick walls to collapse. In a number of places around the country, including the city of Dar, there’s been heavy flooding with roads and houses destroyed as well as lives lost. And so, on reflection, worms, weevils and pot-holes are really not that big an issue.

Grammar Queen hits the airwaves! We mentioned in our last update that Ruth was busy preparing a series of English lessons with a difference. During the last month she’s been able to record a number of programmes for a local Christian radio station run by Faith Baptist Church here in Morogoro. The station is hoping to go live at the end of the year and they’re busy stockpiling material ready for their launch. Whilst teaching English to an invisible audience is a new challenge for Ruth, Steve is hoping, with a new audience for Ruth to focus on, that he’ll now be spared his daily grammar lessons! Away from the microphone, there’s been a lot to do for Ruth at the home of the Institute of Bible & Ministry with bookings on the increase and the accounts to look after, plus the launch of the ‘Friends of Sanga Sanga’ scheme along with the new IBM website! (www.sangaretreatentre.org) During the next few days, don’t be surprised if you receive an email from Ruth about the scheme!

Project Peter! Since the New Year I’ve spent much of my time preparing teaching material for the IBM conferences. Four months of study and translation work have been whittled down to a 64 page file totalling 34,000 words! Our focus this year is the book of 1 Peter and, whilst it’s only a short letter, it’s packed full of foundational doctrine and has much to say about the nitty gritty of practical Christian living. Many of Peter’s key themes begin with the letter ‘S’. Here are a few to give you a flavour of what the pastors will be learning about this year: strangers, stones, salvation, scattered, suffering, submission, second coming, shepherding, and standing firm against Satan.

Peter’s reason for writing his letter is outlined in ch 5:12 (NLT): “My purpose is to encourage you and assure you that the grace of God is with you no matter what happens.” And my prayer is that, as I deliver these talks over the next six months, what is shared would be an encouragement and would give assurance to these pastors and evangelists. It’s now time to bring those words alive and to preach them out to the pastors of the AIC church, starting this Wednesday (9th) in Babati. As you can see from the map, the first conference of the year is also our most northerly regional conference. Here’s hoping that the happenings of last year’s northern event don’t occur this year; one can only take so many bedbugs!

Away from the Study: In early March my brother and his wife (Ian & Kerri) came to visit, and we had an awesome week of non-stop adventure. It began at a deserted airport terminal at 3am (minus some luggage!) and was all too quickly followed, on the same day, by a 7am start time for the Kilimanjaro half marathon! Running conditions were ideal, although some of the footwear worn by fellow runners was not! One guy wore his football boots, another was running in his Sunday-best slip-ons, and yet another runner wore his steel-toecap work boots! ‘Ouch’ – in all three cases!! Whilst running a half marathon might not be everyone’s ideal holiday start, the safari certainly would be. The highlight of our 24 hour safari was seeing leopard and lion and then later lying in bed listening to the roar of said lion rumbling across the plains of Mikumi; a tad scary even when behind a locked door!

Galilee and the Golan Heights

In early April, I was able to head off to Israel and Palestine to lead another Oak Hall trip. This trip always makes it on to my ‘annual highlights’ list, although the things that stand out vary from trip to trip. This year, we were in Jerusalem over Easter, which meant we were able to join with hundreds of other Christians (plus the speaker RT Kendal!) at the Garden Tomb, to celebrate the fact that ‘Christ is risen’! Other notable memories include the crush of people in the narrow alleyways of the old city, standing on the Golan Heights overlooking Syria and hearing heavy shelling in the distance, and watching a white dove trying to settle on someone’s head as they paddled at the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan! Talk about Scripture coming alive – well, almost!

My journey to and from Israel was via Istanbul but it made for an interesting flight. As we flew over Turkey (Asia Minor) we followed much of the route that Paul took during his first missionary journey. Whilst most of my fellow passengers dozed off or watched TV, I was leafing through the book of Acts, whilst peering down from 35,000 ft, looking at some of the locations mentioned in my reading! Places like Antioch, Lystra, Derbe and Cyprus.

It also seemed fitting that, having had my eyes focussed on 1 Peter for the last three months, I was now flying over the regions mentioned by Peter in the first verse of his letter: “To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” I tried to imagine what Peter and Paul would have made of someone travelling across these regions in just a few hours, sitting in a jet-propelled metal tube, whilst it took them weeks and months of hard walking! Different times and different worlds, but still exactly the same gospel!

Asia Minor and the Turkish city of Antalia (bottom of photo) mentioned in Acts 14:25

You can’t beat teaching the Bible where it all took place!

Prayer Points for the next few months:

  • As we kick off the conference season, I would be very grateful for your prayers as I teach the pastors. “Pray for me that whenever I open my mouth, the right Swahili words may be given me so that I may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” – Eph 6:19 slightly adapted! Please pray for us as we travel the miles and carry out conference administration behind the scenes.
  • Please pray for Ruth as she helps to organise the AIM Women’s Retreat in Arusha in mid-May, and for strength and energy to carry out her various roles at Sanga, particularly in regard to finance.
  • You’ll see from the diary below that we’re due to officially open the Conference Centre on 7th July. Please pray for our workers, for Matt Dixon (our building supervisor) in the lead-up to this, and for the event itself, that all will be done for God’s glory.

Diary Dates:

9-11 May:          IBM Pastors’ conference in Babati
15-16th:            AIM Conference planning meetings in Arusha
17-20th:            AIM Women’s Retreat in Arusha (Ruth only!)
27-30th:            Unit Leader meetings in Nairobi for Steve
3rd June:          Steve preaching at Emmanuel Church, Morogoro
10-15th:            Travel to southern Tanzania for meetings & IBM Pastors’ conf in Kilwa
4-6 July:            IBM Pastors’ conference at Sanga Sanga
7th:                   Official opening of the Conference Centre!
9-20th:              Holiday with family! The Caudle Clan (Steve’s sister) from Scotland!

Thanks for all your prayers and support,

Steve & Ruth