Gosh, we have a blog? Who knew. It’s been so long since I updated and so much has gone on.
Firstly, we spent three weeks
enjoying bemoaning Andy and Sam’s absence as they were off with a team on a missions trip in India with Multiply Christian Network. They had three weeks of teaching English and visiting various ministries: watch the India video diaries here.
It’s given them a passion to actively seek justice, to be outward focused and practical about helping people. It’s shown them the realities of a life of poverty and thrown a light on the smallness of our complaints. They’ve found that bonds are best built in the mission field, it’s softened their hearts.
Once a group has got used to functioning together you find out exactly what each member offers when they’re absent.
While Andy and Sam were away with the team in India I had a bit of time to get inspired. I got stuck into Dirty Glory by Pete Greig, a follow-up to the excellent Red Moon Rising, the story of the birth of the 24-7 prayer movement.
One of the things I heard God whispering was that He wanted us to make our house a centre for prayer. Soon after the guys got back from India we started work converting our cellar into a prayer room.
The last two Wednesdays we’ve invited friends over for a bring and share buffet before worshipping and praying in the cellar. Focused moments of prayer are becoming a regular several-times-a-day thing: we’ll just find ourselves down there after washing up, on our own for half an hour before bed, that sort of thing. It’s becoming part of our rhythm.
It’s very good to have a dedicated place for prayer, a space we can go to leave normal life and intentionally sit in God’s presence. I call prayer the secret source (or sauce) of serendipity.
“When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.”
– William Temple
Another small, simple idea God gave me was for us to post a note through our neighbour’s doors offering help in the run up to Christmas. We’re not madly into the whole Christmas malarkey, but one of our key values is generosity, and Christmas is one of the best opportunities of the year to express the gospel.
Dan wrote up the following by hand to give the notes a personal touch and to help them stand out among junk-mail, then I scanned and printed a bunch:
We know this time of year can be difficult for some people, so we wanted to offer a hand to any of our neighbours who would appreciate it. We’re asking you to nominate anyone in Whitworth Rd, Adams Ave or Bostock Ave who you think would appreciate a little help, financial or practical.
You can contact us at [email] or just knock on our door/post a note.
Thanks from the guys at [address].
Aidan, Josh, Dan, Andy and Sam
Some friends came over on a Saturday to help us post them through about 370 doors on streets around us.
We had an email from one neighbour, a student, asking for help, but so far we haven’t been able to get back in touch to see how we can help him out. Another neighbour said they didn’t need anything but thanked us for the kind offer, then I received an email from a journo working for the local newspaper: one of our neighbours had passed the note on to them, and they wanted to run an article about it!
We’ve found it surprisingly difficult to give away free help and money, so it’s a bit funny appearing in the local paper and online without having actually managed to do anything substantial. It has seemed to change things a little in the area though with conversations with neighbours, warm greetings amongst other things. It’s a good witness I’m sure.
The BBC followed up with an online news item too. Claim to fame and all that.
Many neighbours who received the notes commented enthusiastically on the Chron’s Facebook post (above) and some even offered gifts to help us out. A few friends have donated money to help us with the project so we’re praying God connects us with need in the area.
We want to love our neighbours, to be good news to people here, and for that to happen we need to get to know our neighbours. Please pray God sorts all that out in a specially serendipitous way.