"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven,"
As many of us have been wrestling through the sorrow of leaving Sheffield and those we have befriended this summer we have found great encouragement and joy in the reality of God's sovereignty. He has given us 7 weeks here in Sheffield and that was no mistake, even if we may wish we had longer. We have had 7 wonderful weeks to see the Lord working in a cross cultural context through The Crowded House Church, in our own lives, and in the lives of both international and British students. Sunday night was a wonderful opportunity to see two of those areas connect. Maura and I have been involved in the international students life group and our leaders, The Richardson's, hosted a going away party for us to invite all of our international friends to in order to prayerfully get them connected to the local church! It was such an encouragement to see our life group meeting and connecting with the students we have been sharing the love of Christ with all summer. It is clear that the Lord soverignly provided The Crowded House Church for our trip for more than one reason, but it is particularly clear that God is opening doors to continue to move in the lives of our international friends although we may be saying goodbye to them. We are merely links in a chain that God is using to pull dead hearts out of the grave and back to life, as Tim Chester said at Church this Sunday, "You do not have the power to bring someone that is dead to life." Only God does and he is graciously using his people from both The States and The UK to do so. What an incredible joy it has been for all of us to realize how a God so great and powerful would allow us to participate in a mission with such eternal significance! So as we head back to the states and to the next season of life God has prepared for each of us we can joyfully look forward to the wedding feast mentioned in Revelation 19:9, " And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”Even if we never have the opportunity to see our brothers and sisters again at The Crowded House it will surely be an incredible reunion with them in heaven with our savior! Please be praying that we would also be able to be reunited with the students we have met this summer at the feast because they have entered into the family of Christ!
Although our trip is 7 weeks in total it is clear that what has occurred this season will echo into eternity. So far this trip has impacted the team, the church, the students, and the city of Sheffield. Prayerfully as we head back to the States and down to The Summer Training Project (STP) it will begin to impact the students their and grow their vision for and desire to reach the "lost world", which in turn impact their campuses and one day the world! Please be praying that our time at The STP would be just as fruitful as our time in Sheffield to plant these seeds of vision and that we would be able to rest and ease back into the culture and life of America!
Thank you all for your continued support throughout the summer! Please remember that although our time in Sheffield may be complete, the ways that God will be working through this experience is not! We still have one more week of the trip in South Carolina and an eternity to discover and rejoice in the fruit he will bring from it!