Archive for May, 2013

Greetings from Kansas
May 30, 2013

I hope to return to some blogs about London, but this blog comes from Kansas, land of beautiful open sky.

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The wheat fields are green. Harvest will come at the end of June.

We are here for the funeral of Rev. Charles Norman. JoLene and I became good friends with Charles and Elaine when we lived in KS from 1968 to 1974. I was pastor of the Zion Brethren in Christ Church, north of Abilene, and Charles was pastor of Rosebank Brethren in Christ Church, south of Abilene. He was a mentor for me in ministry and encouraged me constantly. He had asked that I conduct his funeral. He died last week while JoLene and I were in London.

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Tragic siutation in London
May 24, 2013

We are having marvelous experiences in London, seeing our missionary team in action, learning about the growing ministry they have, and enjoying  a few days of vacation now and then.

But the good experiences we are having stand in sharp contrast to the disturbing news this week about the killing that took place on Wednesday afternoon, May 22, in Woolwich in south London. Two Muslim men wielding large knives and a meat cleaver killed a British soldier, a drummer, in public. We now know that the soldier’s name is Lee Rigby, married and the father of a young child. The attackers attempted to decapitate Mr. Rigby’s body; whether they succeeded is not clear from the news reports. Then they dragged his body into the street, and turned to passersby shouting “Allahu akbar,” or “Allah is great.” The attackers asked the observers to film them, and some folks did so on their phones. The attackers said they want everyone to know that they did this for Allah and because the British are killing Muslims in Muslim nations.

National leaders must speak in political correctness, so they are saying that these attackers are simply terrorists and that their action has nothing to do with their religion, Islam, in spite of the fact that the killers have boldly identified their religious motivation.

Yes, there are many Muslims who are gentle and peace-loving. We thank God for that. And moderate Muslim leaders have denounced the killing. But it is also true that in the the Muslim scripture, the  Qur’an, Allah commands Muslims to “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them,” and these two Muslim men acted in obedience to their scripture and their God.

Please pray for the leaders and people of UK.

Pray that Christians will give a clear and loving witness to Jesus and his way of peace.

Pray that many Muslims will come to faith in Christ.

Pray for Jay Smith and other Christians who at Speakers’ Corner this coming Sunday afternoon will face many comments about this killing and its ramifications. We fly home Sunday so we will not be at the Corner.

To our knowledge, we are safe. Of course, one never knows where danger may arise, in England or USA or anywhere. We all live by God’s mercy.

Americans in London
May 23, 2013

Here are some of the vacation things we have seen and done during these days in London.

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The famous upscale department store, Harrod’s. We looked, and bought nothing.

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Near Harrod’s is the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, popularly known as Brompton Oratory because it is located on Brompton Road. Oratory, in this context, means Place of prayer. This is in the Borough of South Kensington.

How many boroughs in greater London? 32, plus the City of London.

Next, a stop at Trafalgar Square.

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Nelson’s Column rises high above the large open square. Four lions guard the base of the Column.

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The National Gallery, and art museum, fills one side of the square.

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In front of the Gallery is a statue of “our George,” the first President of USA.

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In the northeast corner of the square stands St. Martin in the Fields. A church has been at this location since 1222. Originally it stood in a field in the country, hence the name. Amnesty International was conceived at this church. Everywhere in London you see the double-decker red buses.

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The Crypt contains a restaurant.

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There are occasional free noon music concerts. We attended one featuring students from the Junior Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We heard solos by violin, piano, viola and cello. Excellent performances! Sorry, no photos during the concert, so I cannot show you the artists.

Above you see the chancel of the church. Note the unusual window design.

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And here are two random photos from around the city. The second one is art work on the wall of the tube, or Underground.

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Ministry Experiences in London
May 22, 2013

We are meeting people who are making a difference for Christ in London. Here are a few highlights.

Our team of five Brethren in Christ workers have this former church building as a ministry center (or centre, as the British write it).

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This center, called The Meeting Point, has several offices, a library, small kitchen and this “family room,” which is suitable for group meetings of various sizes.

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One day we attended a Solid Foundation Conference in the Borough of Ilford. Six speakers talked about the nature of Islam and the Christian faith, to give believers a solid foundation for sharing the gospel with Muslims. Here are five of the speakers.

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Some of my readers will recognize Jay Smith and Paul Kiss in the photo.

On Sunday, May 19, we attended the worship service of the Forest Gate Brethren in Christ Church, located in East London in the Borough of Forest Gate. This church meets in a Seventh Day Adventist Church building.

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The pastoral couple are Elias and Fadzai Moyo, originally from  Zimbabwe. Here are a few scenes from our time at Forest Gate.

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We left this church to go to Hyde Park. The Marble Arch is the famous landmark near the northeast  entrance to the park.

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That northeast section of the park is known as Speakers’ Corner. You can get food there.

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Or stroll around and listen to individuals speak out passionately about any subject, usually politics, world events, philosophy and religion.

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As you might guess from his dress, this man is a Muslim.

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On the right above is a friend I have made at the Corner over the years. He is a thoughtful Christian and a strong witness for Christ.

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On the left is Jay Smith, one of our workers. He has a strong voice and knows the Quran and the Bible in depth and gives clear explanations about what Christians believe. On the right is a visitor from USA who is assisting Jay today.

A couple recently learned about the witness we give every week at Speakers’ Corner, and they came to join us for the first time today. The woman is a believer from Egypt, so she of course is fluent in Arabic and was able to enter into conversation in Arabic with the Muslim men who were challenging Jay.

After our time at the Corner about twenty of us went to a nearby restaurant to  review what we had experienced and what we could learn about how to communicate more effectively with anyone we meet at the Corner, especially Muslims.  The group included  several gypsies who live in England and are eager to share Christ with Muslims; a medical doctor from Africa who is a bold witness for Christ; and a young man from Pakistan who has left Islam and is studying Christianity seriously and is considering confessing faith in Christ and has heard about Jay Smith and came to meet Jay for the first time today.

What a stimulating, varied and inspiring day this Sunday was!

In London, England
May 18, 2013

JoLene and I arrived in London, England, on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. We are here for review and planning with our team of five global workers who live and serve here, and for a few days of vacation.

We are staying in Leytonstone in northeast London at the Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel.

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The room is clean, and the bed has a good mattress. The room is small, as is usually the case in England. No room for a chair or desk.

The hotel faces a portion of Epping Forest across the street.

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Epping was originally a royal forest but is now managed by the City of London. It consists of 6,00 acres and is 12 miles long. While parts of the Forest are mature, ancient woodland, the part we see and can walk through anytime we want is grassland, shrubs and trees, with a pond – and many crows.

A common shrub is blooming in the fields. It makes a nice show, but I don’t know its name.

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One more scene from Epping Forest.

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My mother’s birthday
May 16, 2013

Grace Hawbaker, my mother, turned age 93 on May 14, 2013. She lives alone in her own home, which is located at the entrance of the family farm near Chambersburg. On May 13 we four children and our spouses had a dinner with mother at her home.

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Here you see mother with us kids. For those who do not know our family, I am the one on the left, child number two of four.

And here is the table ready for dinner. We had her favorite springtime meal – sausage (turkey sausage this time), rhubarb knepp (soft dumplings), asparagus and lemon sponge pie.

The table

It was an evening of joy, memories and thanksgiving to God.