Blessings

There have been so many blessings to talk about recently, but I'll stick with my favourite which is seeing another young Christian being given the opportunity to serve and minister in the church.

This morning Kuda, a young Zimbabwean with a fantastic testimony of how God dramatically broke in to his life and saved him from drugs, opened our worship at The Gathering and exhorted us to put God and the needs of others above our own interests. Great stuff!

Loadshedding

Well that was some welcome home!

During my week in Blighty our putative electricity supplier decided to ramp up loadshedding from Stage 4 to stage 6.

What this means is that six areas in the Cape Town municipality are off at the same time but rather than being off for the usual two hours we get the joy of being off for four hours at a time. Deep joy!

There are a number of joys I have been blessed enough to enjoy whilst here in Blighty.

Time with family is always precious and a blessing, and to spend some of that time together celebrating the marriage of our oldest niece was just the cherry on the cake.

One of my biggest joys has to be talking to folk about my boys because they're both doing so well. They've both had some tough stuff to face and deal with and yet they've both overcome and each are in a really good place. Sometimes as I'm talking about them, I feel as if I'm making it up about how well they're doing, but then I realise I'm really not.
I was so blessed to join the Hope Church family this morning in Sevenoaks. This is the church that I was a part of when I first got saved when I was 18. 

Back then the church was known as Town Church and was meeting in people's homes and then in Bligh's Hall in Sevenoaks Town centre.

I was really struck by the words of this song (it's one of our favourites at The Gathering), especially the fact that having been a part of this church when I was 18 and here I am 37 years later and my testimony remains: all my life God has been faithful, all my life He has been so so good to me, and as such with every breath that I am able I will sing of the goodness of God!

It was a joy and a blessing to catch up with a few familiar faces from all those years ago, but it was even more of an encouragement to see how the church has grown and how the demographics of the membership have changed.

To be in England in summertime with(out) my love...
(with apologies to The Art Of Noise)

So here I am in Blighty ready for the wedding or our oldest niece tomorrow, it's going to be a lovely day and a very special occasion, I feel privileged to be here and honoured to play a tiny part in the day in walking my sister-in-law down the aisle and leading the prayers for Suzi & Luke.

It's such a blessing and a privilege to be working in partnership with other locally run soup kitchens and feeding programmes.

Currently The Gathering supports three other regular soup kitchens; two in Macassar and one in Chris Nissen Park.

This is Mercia in Macassar with the 50lt pot of food she made for feeding some of the local kids who had been off school yesterday due to the public holiday.

Today is Youth Day, a public holiday here in South Africa in which we remember the senseless slaughter of over 100 children and the thousand plus who were injured in Soweto by the apartheid regime as the kids protested against the then new law forcing them to be taught in Afrikaans rather than their own indigenous languages.

Sadly this day is barely acknowledged in the Western world and the first time we heard of it was in 1998 when we were in Tanzania, where today is celebrated as the International Day Of The African Child. Personally I prefer this more internationally minded celebration of the day, it feels more positive and more outward looking.

Home Again

After an exciting ten days back in Blighty with family to celebrate our middle niece's wedding, Paula arrived home this morning, much to the relief of all the trousers.

The junior trousers survived and were fed, watered and made it to their various commitments on time as well as getting home again safe and sound, so I'll call that a win.

"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" Revelation 12:11

They - that's God's people aka you & me - triumphed over him - that's the Devil - by the blood of the Lamb - that's Jesus laying down his life on the cross - and by the word of their testimony - that's what God is doing in our lives. So basically, it's all about God, every last bit of it, and that is why at The Gathering we give over a Sunday every now and then to testimonies, and when we do it's an awesome time in God's presence!

No Cups

I love it when prayers are answered so specifically.

In the last week or two there's been a bit of friction between the Firgrove guys and the Macassar crowd at The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen and this has been heightened by the length of the queue and the fear of missing out.

Wedding Bells

What a joy and a blessing it was to watch the live-stream from St. George's in Weald of our middle niece Bethy getting married to Shaun this afternoon.

It was great that Paula could be there too and it was lovely to see her lead the prayers for the newly weds.