Life used to be more straightforward than this! I used to spend weeks getting ready for our annual Stoneleigh Bible Weeks, preach and pray my way through them, and then collapse for the rest of August on a nice long holiday break.
Now everything has changed. Together on a Mission comes in July and for me this was followed by Rendezvous, our very enjoyable French Bible Week held in the South of France with hundreds of enthusiastic wonderful French believers plus some zealous English French-speakers who serve them with great joy and varying degrees of bi-lingual skill.
A highlight for me was my final lunch with the nucleus of the Newfrontiers Paris church plant. Gordon and Kerry Neal, George and Gill Tee, and a number of friends are enthusiastically anticipating this exciting development. Gordon and Kerry have now left Switzerland and bought their house in Paris, and George and Gill brightly testified that they had left Brighton’s Together on a Mission pulling their trailer behind their car and were now living in their trailer in Paris! Talk about pioneers! We can be so proud of these guys as they press on in obedience to the Lord.
Off to the wild west
Following one day at home, we took off for the USA and enjoyed a phenomenal time in Montana with Lee and Stacey Yarbrough, preaching at the Clark Fork church in Missoula, now part of the Newfrontiers family. A bright and happy crowd, they are so pleased to have Lee and Stacey among them.
Wendy and I then got over our jetlag with a three-day break in a magnificent part of Montana and I was delighted to overcome my problem with heights as we took a coach to the top of a mountain with me sitting next to the driver taking photographs from the open window, looking down over a sheer 1,500’ drop! You would have been proud of me! I was! And happily, on this occasion, pride didn’t come before a fall!
I then had a super time preaching in Idaho with Ted and Jeanne Hoit, who had been with us at TOAM in Brighton and are leading their church in Coeur d’Alene to become part of our Newfrontiers family. They are an outstanding couple and their church is a joy to be with. Several of their guys told to me how much they have enjoyed reading No Well-Worn Paths and several had been tapping in to our websites with real enthusiasm.
Another three-day break meant that Ted, Jeanne, Wendy and I drove the five hours to Canada and again were exposed to magnificent sights in the breathtaking views of the Rockies there. (Actually all the driving was done by Ted whose navigational skills are celebrated by his affectionately-given nickname ‘Wrong Way Hoit’.)
Finally, speaking at our Newfrontiers North West camp, hosted in Silverton, Oregon by Rob Barnes and overseen by John Lanferman, which gathered some hundreds of people from our churches there, accompanied by new friends including Keith and Warren Stroup from the church in Lebanon, which meets in a phenomenally massive former Wal-Mart store. I have never seen such a vast entrance lobby in any church! They are super people who again are expressing desire to be involved with us.
We were accompanied for most of our time by Sam and Marlene Poe, and it was great to see Bo and Alexis from our church plant in Tacoma, which has enjoyed a number of fresh visitors as a result of Mark Driscoll’s enthusiastic public praise of Newfrontiers.
Back to Europe
Now, after a couple of days in the office, Wendy and I take off for the Newfrontiers Wessex Together at the New Forest with Guy Miller and team and about 1,000 people. We look forward to a great time with them, immediately followed by Wendy’s and my holiday, which is a rather special one since we will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on a twelve-day cruise in the Mediterranean. This is a very new experience for us and a once-in-a-lifetime special! We look forward to joining up with Giovanni Traettino in Naples and Helmut and Judith Frank in Izmir, Turkey, who oversee our Newfrontiers church there. So I am hoping for a happier time in the Mediterranean than the Apostle Paul had!