Travelling right around the world to far off Australia is not without its challenges. The journey, for us via Hong Kong, where we stopped briefly, seemed never ending; the jet lag also took several days (maybe ten) to shake off.
Having said that, the blessing of being reunited with people we love and enjoy makes everything worthwhile. Peter Brooks
was a little cruel, arranging three days of prayer and fasting immediately when we arrived. Jet lag and fasting are not the best of friends! Both fight for your attention, especially through long wakeful nights. Having said that, the prayer times were excellent and the commitment of the members to be present through three evenings was impressive!
I love the way that Grace City Church
prays not only for its own fruitfulness and for God's favour on Sydney. But also completely owns the vision for church planting across Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Japan; what we call in Newfrontiers, the Pacific Rim churches
While we were there, I also enjoyed our Pacific Rim Conference, where leaders gathered from all of the above nations, joined also by the irrepressible Rob Glover from China, for excellent fellowship, instruction and prayer.
In Sydney, you are inevitably aware of the vast mission field of South East Asia. Many from Asian backgrounds now live there. I love their vitality. It was so good to renew fellowship with Steve Chong
, and Adrian and Jess Tam.
We appreciated the opportunity to host a Pastors' Day, for those interested in building what we called 'word and Spirit churches'. I enjoyed making new friends there, and the warmth of fellowship being expressed.
Peter Brooks, Steve Brading and Mike Irving make a great eldership team. The people love and appreciate them, and the church exemplifies the values we so want to be seen expressed in church life. Young men and women are being trained and developed in several aspects of church life. Worship times were consistently filled with the sense of God's presence. On our final weekend, we enjoyed an excellent church camp, attended by nearly 100% of the church. Although the weather was disappointing, as it had been through much of our visit, the fellowship certainly wasn't, and God met with many in significant ways.
I am so grateful for those who prayed for Wendy and me on our journey and hugely appreciated consistently feeling God's help in the many sessions that I took. What a pleasure to meet several who have been added to the church since we were last down under, and renew heartfelt fellowship with those who are continuing to build a great church in that area, known as Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Please keep praying for the advance of the gospel throughout the Pacific Rim.