If anyone thinks they would like to move to the USA, think carefully. The lure of large salaries, large vistas, large shopping malls and large food portions is alluring to some but the challenge of not just getting there, but staying there is a huge. Simon and Kiralie have been battling to stay ever since they arrived and he is now in the midst of a master’s degree to make sure they can keep going. Despite the battle they are full of life and faith and the church is slowly growing. Guy, Tim Blaber and myself had the fun of living in their home for 5 days and enjoying warm hospitality and interacting with their friendly children. It has been tough for all of them, embracing a new culture always involves being able to adapt and work through issues and despite speaking the same language we might not mean the same thing. I was told in one shop “I don’t understand a single word you said”, so much for my accent!
We chatted over food, met a new couple who want to get stuck in, and spent time with some very disillusioned millennials. All brought up to go to church, they were totally turned off by the mega churches they had been part of. They saw a cookie cutter approach to discipleship, a tribal disdain for other streams and denominations, one talked of $900 spent weekly on microphone batteries! Surrounded by homelessness and poverty this had helped her to switch off from the excesses she saw around her.
On the Sunday morning we met the church. Despite the soft furnishings and relaxed decor of a cancer care charity lounge, it really felt like a church. Children were kept occupied at one end of the room and the adults enjoyed worshipping and praying together. Guy preached about the gospel, grace, the trinity, and the heart of apostolic ministry. Tim prepared us for sharing bread and wine together. People engaged and participated enthusiastically and then we all enjoyed an American brunch together. There were three first time visitors, so in total probably 34 people and we were thrilled with the possibilities in the room.
For me I loved the time we had praying and sharing with Simon and Kiralie themselves, they are so open, honest and wanting to press on. I think on the last morning we all had tears in our eyes as we said our goodbyes. They really need our prayers and there is a huge harvest field to be taken, changing the expression of Christianity around the world is as much needed in the Bible Belt of America as anywhere else.
Do continue to pray for the first fruits in the US.