London Journal – Saturday, January 17, 2009

Everywhere you go, you meet the most interesting people.

This morning at breakfast in our hotel I talked with a young woman from Italy, who is here seeking a job in her field, environmental economics. I admire her venturesome spirit; she has no family or friends in England, but here she is!

From our London team I learn about the realities of missions work and the expectations, or at least perceived expectations, of people back home. Sometimes the work here goes slowly, with no new conversions and no dramatic breakthroughs. But what if the supporters back home are expecting glowing stories and observable results? How do you report with integrity? What constitutes “success?” Is faithfulness in daily routines sufficient to write home about? Pray for your missionary friends as they live with these realities. Pray for fruit that lasts, which is what Jesus promised to those who remain in him.

If you were to write a report to friends far away about how your “service for God” is going, what would you say?

Last evening we went to a gathering of twenty or so believers who work together in taking the gospel to our distant cousins. We met in a couple’s home. The people at the gathering are from many nations and ethnic groups. Delightful diversity!

The social part of the evening included an activity where each one privatley drew a simple sketch of her/his own face – then the sketches were shown to the whole group one at a time, and we were to try to guess whose image that was – and then the person revealed himself/herself and gave a short inroduction. We were all surprised that, although none of us is an artist, each person captured enough of her/his appearance that in most cases the group was able to identify the image correctly. Along with much hilarity, of course.

Jason, a British fellow who is a judge, plays bagpipes. To spare our ears, he stepped out on the patio to play a few songs. This was 10:00 at night, so who knows what the neighbors thought? At least no one “rang up” to complain. As Jason played his lively songs, our group started dancing around the room, with more laughter.

Then a time of singing, worship and prayer. The deep bond of love and support in this group is a holy thing.

By the time the evening ended, it was raining hard, so we were grateful when Beth, one of the few persons at the party who owns a car, volunteered to drive us home, sparing us the thorough soaking we would most certainly have gotten if we had walked the 8 blocks from the Underground station to our hotel.

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