Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Colossians 1:3-6 The Message
With these verses of thanksgiving and faith, we began our first full day together. Dr. Hunter invited us to think about what the Church in Acts would look like now in the 21st century. St Thomas Crookes and St Thomas Philadelphia are perhaps the closest iteration we can see right now. We spent about 3.5 hours being oriented to these congregations and to what we will see while we are there.
We took a group photo, but I do not have the ability to post it at the moment because I do not have internet access for my laptop. Maybe tomorrow.
This afternoon we boarded a train for the 90 min trip to Sheffield. We watched city scenes give way to pastures defined by stone fences. Sheep and cattle dotted the fields. I almost have to pinch myself to really believe that I am in England!
We passed through three tunnels as well, and as we entered Sheffield we could see the seven hills on which the UK’s 4th largest city is built (just like Rome!).
A quick taxi ride later we were at St Thomas Crookes (Crookes is to Sheffield as West Toledo is to Toledo.). Our hosts met the 20 of us there.
I am blessed to be staying with Pam and Doug, a couple with 2 grown sons. They definitely have the gift of hospitality. In fact, their ministry at St Tom’s is welcoming intl students at the nearby U to lunch on Sundays after church. We looked at pictures of the many people they have hosted. What a special gift to give to young people so far from home. And God has given them many opportunities to speak of their faith to those who expressed openness to hearing about it.
We ate, laughed, and talked for nearly 4 hours! I know that spending 5 more evenings with Doug and Pam and Chad and Becky(two others from our group of 20) is going to be great.
Tomorrow we are going for a hike in the Peaks National Park west of here, and then to a bbq.
Maybe I’ll be able to post some pictures then too.
May you live in God’s amazing grace+