Well well well, what an eventful year this is turning out to be.
Adventure #1- Sierra Leone
Friends Simeon and Joe are off to Sierra Leone in November to complete three pretty major charitable projects over there and I’ve been helping them with the online fundraising campaign. They’ve been working very hard getting kit together, building goat shelters, school benches, sewing tables, arranging shipping containers and all the logistics associated with such a venture. Very admirable, really. It’s been great to see how many people have got on board with the project with donations and help given from near and far, friends and strangers.
|The guys building a shelter for 14 sheep and 14 goats,
to be flat packed and assembled on site, Ikea style.
At the time of writing the Sierra Leone online fundraising campaign is nearing it’s deadline with just 34 hours to go. We’ve just received a single £500 donation, which is incredible! There’s still much kit that we could make very good use of. Fancy seeing if there’s anything you could spare?
Adventure #2- Romania
While helping Sim & Joe out behind the scenes a few weeks ago I was asked if I’d join a trip to Romania, run by the same Christian network behind their work in Sierra Leone- Multiply Network. I didn’t take much convincing.
|We’ll be staying with Benny & Maria|
After a full day of travelling we’ll be spending four days in the Bethel Christian Centre in Hunedoara. BCC has become well respected in Hunedoara for it’s work among the poor, and I’m sure there will be many opportunities for us to help out, make friends, work hard, relax and absorb the culture and coutryside.
Romania is pretty socially segregated with ethnic groups split into further xenophobic factions- rich Romanies who despise poor Romanies who despise Hungarian Romanies… I don’t want to be quick to point fault but I hear the church isn’t much better with little interdenominational dialogue, let alone cooperation.
|Poor local family|
However, this social distrust and extreme poverty leads me to see Romania (and probably much of ex-communist Eastern Europe) as ripe for the gospel. Whenever we come across stark divisions, darkness or deprivation there’s a very clear opportunity for the unity, light and generosity of the gospel to make an impact.
From Thursday to Saturday we’ll be at Casa Haruliu, The House of Grace, a secluded youth centre. We’ll be joined by an unspecified number of Christian leaders from across eastern and central Europe for a conference which we’ve given a theme of “Church is more than a program”. Consequently, we won’t be sticking to any rigid program (although we have ideas for a broad itinerary) but will seek to demonstrate some of what it means to share in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit together- laughing together, forgiving one another, moving naturally in spiritual gifts, serving one another, challenging one another, being devoted to one another etc.
Apparently for many pastors Church is seen as not much more than a Sunday lecture. Many of them are well educated theologically so our emphasis will be to try to demonstrate Church as a 24-hour spiritual family and to speak from our experience rather than just our heads.
|House of Grace conference venue|
My particular role on the trip will be to film bits and just to be a part. I’m sure I’ll end up doing more than that but it’s a little funny comparing my trip with Sim & Joe’s exhausting and ambitious Sierra Leone trip. While they’re completing marathons of capacity stretching preparations my task has been to get a passport, camera, European socket adaptor and some earplugs. Not too taxing.
Maybe I’m wrong and God’s going to really stretch me on this one.
Whatever. I’m up for any adventure He sends.
Later this week I’ll post about last weekend’s adventure carrying a 12′ cross across London with 18 guys, sleeping rough and trusting God for food.