Chris has certainly been busy since we've been in England. He's been spending his days with Gareth, the head pastor of King's Church. These days have consisted of meetings and visiting different areas and other leaders and other pastors. He's been exposed to so much through Gareth. He's learned how the church is organized, how they've apply for various grants, how they've established different programs for the community, how they've delegated different tasks to different people within the church. He's learned a lot. But even more than that he's had a chance to talk with some amazing people.
The church building is on a street with pubs and regular shops. There's nothing about it's exterior that stands out or makes it look like a church. The inside has several computers with free internet access to anyone who walks in off the street. Because of this set up there are many different people to come in and out during the day. Some people know it's a church but use it only for the computers, others come for prayer or talk to someone about challenges they face, others have no idea what it is but they come because the people are nice. In this setting Chris has had some of the most amazing conversations with people. He's talked to homeless people, people with mental disorders, people with huge difficulties and challenges and hurts in their lives that make our challenges pale in comparision.......he has LOVED it. He loves meeting people and he loves hearing their thought processes and perspectives and sharing his views.....he loves sharing his heart and the heart of God with anyone he meets. Day after day new people, new challenges, new circumstances. This has been one of the biggest highlights of the trip for him so far.
A second "biggest hightlight" was last week. He spoke at a local high school (the same one from last year). He was able to share his normal story of how he became paralyzed but he was also able to tell the students and staff about how God has used each challenging circumstance to become a great gift in his life. He's breathed hope into the lives of teenagers who don't necessarily see a lot of hope on a daily basis. I talked to one of the teachers last night and she said the students are still talking about Chris and it's already been a week since he was there.
What an amazing God we have. He can take a man from America who knows very little about the slang and the humor of the British culture and he can put him in front of a room full of strangers and he can use a simple story to absolutely change the direction of one of their lives. A group of students wrote Chris letters yesterday in school (not as an assignment, but just as an option for how to spend their classtime). The letters are amazing - students deciding to quit smoking, deciding to not party, deciding to act differently with their friends. Amazing.
What another incredible example of how God goes before us and prepares the hearts of people to hear His Truth and be able to respond. God is saving lives one decision at a time. Maybe soon these students will choose a relationship with the Lord. I truly believe that that is God's desire for each person in that school......that each of them will realize and believe that He adores them and He wants them to live an abundant life, He wants them to feel satisfied, He wants them to know that He is real and He is on their side. Lord, you are truly amazing. How You choose to do things in far beyond what my mind can comprehend.