What images will persist, I wonder, for Ruth and I as we leave Malawi and Africa? For sure there will be images of rolling seas of tea bushes, of bright lilac colored jacaranda trees, of vast planes of dusty bush, of proud exotic animals, of litter strewn slums, of mud floors and tin roofs.
However I am convinced that the truly persistent images of Malawi and of Africa will be of the faithful brothers and sisters we leave behind. Compared to our homeland we found friends materially poor, struggling with a lack of education, and adrift for the want of more of Christ’s shepherds. But we also found friends with faces shining with the love of Jesus, humble homes thrown open in wonderful hospitality, and lives where the little they did have was completely dedicated to the growth of God’s kingdom. Continue reading →
The last two weeks have passed so very quickly and thanks to the gracious support of our hosts, Silas and Rahab, we have learned so much about Kenya, about its people, and about ourselves.
So it is only fitting that we have spent our last day in Kenya with our amazingly hospitable hosts; back again at their lively church, and then at home with them for a family meal around their big dining table.
It is an example of their open hearted character that “family” included us, a brother, a nephew, a missionary friend, his children, and our driver! Continue reading →
We arrived! Ruth and I arrived early this morning in Nairobi without too much hassle – except I dropped and cracked the screen of my iPhone. Nor did we get much sleep on the plane.
But it is amazing how quickly the Kenyans have set up temporary workarounds at the airport, using big tents to get things moving despite the huge fire they had. It was still faster through immigration than Heathrow on a good day – but that is not saying much! Continue reading →
Pastors Daniel and Danny Ispas with family and visitors
21-24 June 2013
In June Ruth and I had the privilege of returning to Carand in Western Transylvania in Romania. This time we were joined by our daughter and a young woman from our parent church who has a heart for this lovely country and its people.
Last August I traveled to the global headquarters of One Mission Society (OMS) where I had an eye opening, and life challenging, introduction to their approach to church planting and multiplication. One of the biggest personal impacts came from being trained by an amazing group of humble, faithful, obedient disciples who had decades of real hard-won experience evangelizing and church planting around the world. The other big impact was the wonderful opportunity to meet with so many committed church planters from around the world, including the father/son pastor team of Daniel and Danny Ispas. Continue reading →
After the wonderful scenery, hospitality and fellowship in Midleton and in County Mayo, Ruth and I drove across Ireland’s green and pleasant countryside for our final stay, in Trim and County Meath.
Last August I had the privilege of being an “honorary Irishman” for two weeks when I sharing lodgings with a dynamic group of Irish church planters at a conference organised by One Mission Society in Greenwood, Indiana. In Trim I was looking forward to repeating the long evenings of practical theological discussions with Ciaran that I had enjoyed in Indiana, and to worshiping with the Living Hope Church that I had heard so much about. I was not disappointed on either front. Continue reading →
Our first full day in County Mayo started with a major discovery: inside two weeks we had been in two places with public spaces that were, for obvious reasons, called “Octagon”. The first was in Budapest, Hungary, and the second in Westport, County Mayo. Perhaps you know of more places by this name?
We were in Westport to meet Pastor Paudge Mulvihill who is the experienced but unassuming leader of Calvary Mission – a network of Christians working together to establish Bible-centred churches in the West of Ireland. Paudge is also a key partner for One Mission Society in the Republic of Ireland. Continue reading →
The primary reason for Ruth and I recently being in Ireland was to meet up with various pastors of newly founded churches in the Republic of Ireland, to understand their challenges, and to see whether we might be called to such an environment. I had met some of those guys in Indiana last summer when we were receiving training together in approaches to “church planting and multiplication” with One Mission Society. For a while I became an “honorary Irishman” and we enjoyed great “craic” together as we cooked and ate together, and discussed all matters scriptural and theological long into the night – as so often seems the habit of the Irish!
One of the folk I got to know in Indiana was Andrew Compton who is the pastor at Midleton Evangelical Church in County Cork just down the road from Youghal where we were camped. The church has been going for a good few years now and, having outgrown their original premises, they now meet in some function rooms in a hotel in the center of the town. Continue reading →