11th April 2012
I hope that you had a wonderful Easter time with space to reflect on the great message of the hope of Jesus.
A couple of weeks ago a small team of six, myself included, left Oxford to head to Östersund, Sweden. It was an extraordinary trip and I want to share a few of the highlights with you.
Flying in I saw nothing but frozen lakes and snow-covered low-lying hills. This is central Sweden and Östersund is the largest town in the region yet one has the sense that this is detached from the more-populated southern parts of the country.
Throughout the week we were engaged in an apologetics conference through the local church, a university mission as well as friendship evangelism.
Starting gradually – with even a half-day to ski! – we wound up to a frenzy. I had the opportunity to teach and lecture as well as get involved in prayer-ministry, prayer-walks and chats over coffee and fika (snacks).
It was richly rewarding for me as I had much opportunity to bring my work from Oxford – as well as previous preparation from my time with both YWAM and CVM – and see my studies and experience be utilised well.
We left the church buzzing with anticipation for sharing Jesus and bringing His Kingdom.
But we left buzzing too. There was a rich faithfulness of the Christians we met who have laboured indefatigably for years. Sweden is a secular, stoic country justifiably proud and self-contained. Swedes work hard. They are kind, generous, and warm. However the church is faint, in the background, mostly relegated to the position of cultural icon. But Jesus is alive, and He’s working in Sweden.
We saw people make commitments to Christ while we were there. There was the young man, son of a Lutheran pastor, who had never made Jesus Lord. There was the older man, the doctor, who had people praying for him for 20 years who could – after dealing with some objections at the apologetics conference – finally, gladly and sincerely give his life to Jesus.
We were privileged to walk in the footsteps carved out through lives laid down in sacrifice by faithful Christians treading the paths for many years before us.
I left deeply encouraged and in love with Sweden.
It was a remarkable trip. Thank you for your prayers!
London (After Bath)
This coming week I’ll be in London with all 23 of my fellow OCCA students working with churches as part of mission to Shadwell and surrounding area.
But first I’ll be presenting a seminar and engaging in a panel discussion as Epidemic Life, Bath this Saturday. I’m really excited to see young people fired up and equipped to share their faith with their friends. It’s also great to be back with my family for the day!
Please pray for both Bath and London. I’m preaching on Sunday morning and taking a session in a training day on Monday, for starters! I’ll be in touch after the trip and you can follow me on Twitter to find out how things are progressing throughout the week.
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