I'm still working on finding a conversation partner for our cell group study Holy Conversation. Paul and I have one person in mind to ask--and if he says yes, we will ask him if we can share him! He asked me with great interest if I've found my "person" yet, and when I said no, he said "Well, don't give up." Next time I see him I'm going to ask if he wants to be the "person" and whether Paul and I can share him. It sounds rather predatory doesn't it? :)
I know there were people who prayed for my brother, Rob, after I wrote about how downhearted he felt when I spoke to him just over a week ago. This past Saturday he was feeling much brighter in spirit--thank you for praying. My nephew John came over every night last week after work to walk Bruce--a big help. I have been checking flights for January and Paul has decided to go with me this time. Rob was so happy to know that we would be there soon. His pain and fatigue are still there but he has a doctor's appointment this week.
One of the things I was looking forward to at the leadership conference last week, was seeing some old friends; people particularly dear to my heart. One friend greeted me with a warm hug at the coffee machine on the first evening. I knew she'd been going through a stressful time and we both agreed that we would make a point of having a coffee or meal together sometime during the conference--I wanted to encourage her if I could.
It was lunchtime on the last day when I realized that we hadn't found time to spend any time together. I would have been disappointed to miss the opportunity to chat, so I scanned the rapidly filling tables looking for this friend. I spotted her at a table full of people from her part of the province--but right beside her was an empty space looking as though it was just waiting for me! I navigated the tight space between the tables, balancing a coffee cup and plate of food and laid claim to the space.
She was recently returned from a trip to England where she had visited her son who is a pastor. I asked where in England he was. "Tamworth" she said.
"Tamworth?" I said, "That's close to where I'm from in the Midlands!" and she began to tell me about her trip, eyes shining with memories as she told me about the church her son belongs to: Living Rock Church.
I leaned in with interest as she told me how the church was up to recently meeting in a pub in Tamworth. When the number of people making decisions to become followers of Jesus reached 55 they moved their meeting place to the local Holiday Inn.
At the pub they would meet every week to break bread. The pub would have a loaf of bread and the wine ready for them. She asked the people at the pub what they thought about them meeting there to break bread. They said, "All we know is that since we've allowed them to do this here our business has been blessed."
She told me about a soldier who was searching spiritually but was struggling with guilt over what he'd done during his time in Iraq. He had pulled into the local gas station and spoken to someone about his struggles and they pointed him to a soldier in the Bible who became a follower of Jesus. The person told him to come back if he had questions. He did go back to the gas station but when he asked for the person by, he was told that there was no one there by that name. The soldier ended up meeting the Christians at the pub in Tamworth and giving his heart and life to Christ.
I sat back and laughed to myself at the irony of my mission to "encourage" my friend, who had ended up encouraging me with her stories of a church living out the gospel by breaking out of the walls of the church. And the further irony that don't even yet have a "conversation partner" for our small group study. God's touch of humour.