Trina and I have just shaken off the jet lag from a month-long trip to England and Scotland during the last part of April and the first part of May! The order of cities visited during our trip was Brighton, London, Dunoon/Glasgow (Scotland), Oxford, Swindon, Birmingham, Cambridge, Halesworth and back to London. If that seems like a whirlwind, it kinda was, but all of it had purpose. There are several primary areas that we believe God spoke to us about during this journey that we want to share with you.
Reconnecting was a major theme
In many of the locations, we were spending time with people that we have known, but not seen in person, since the start of the COVID season. We have been traveling to the UK from the early 2000’s and the period marking 2019 to present is easily the longest span of time that has passed without a visit. Our background and theology for church practice is heavily influenced by the relational metaphors used in the New Testament:
1 Corinthians 12:27 NASB95
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
Ephesians 4:14-16 NASB95
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,  from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Colossians 2:18-19 NASB95
Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,  and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
We preach, teach and engage in prayer ministry on a regular basis and did so many times during this particular trip. However, we do this primarily when we have relationships or joints established prior to such ministry occurring. Jesus, the greatest ministry example in general, prioritized time spent with people, especially His disciples. It can be argued that the greatest source of impact from His earthly ministry was the exploits accomplished by His disciples after He was gone. His pattern is to use the channel of relationships between His people to express His love and encouragement between and through them. We did our best to honor this example during our travels and the feedback we received from this trip has been very positive.
England is very different from South Africa
One of the big lessons we learned from our time in South Africa was that traveling to a place on a short term basis doesn’t fully prepare you to live there. We have already been praying about this leading up to our move to England and we have a list for you to consider with us in prayer as we work toward moving during the first months of 2024:
1) It is cold and rainy the majority of the year in the UK and parts of Europe. In South Africa, especially in Durban, the bulk of the year was warm. I personally prefer a cooler climate, but Trina much prefers the warm weather. We have already been working on this, but can you pray that we will have a clear direction to make our day-to-day living as warm and dry as possible.
2) We do believe that the Lord confirmed our means for a long term visa on this trip. We also request prayer for favor in this process.
3) It costs more to live in England than in South Africa. Our estimated monthly living expense is $4500. That is more than it cost us to live and travel in South Africa. Please pray for us to know how to communicate this need to people in the time we raise awareness and funds during the rest of this year. We will have to purchase a vehicle and travel once in The UK, but both these expenses are lower than when we worked in Africa. Because we will be flying to both Europe and The Middle East, we estimate that we can make three flights from the UK to these destinations for what it used to cost for one flight in Africa.
A present leadership crisis
We believe we are to continue encouraging leadership while we live and work from England. Our exposure to both established and emerging leadership was a highlight of our travels. We received great hope (something we believe God is establishing in this season, click here to read about Biblical hope) that The Lord has been faithfully preparing people to help others grow and come to know Him in the days ahead!
Our trip also coincided with the public exposure of harmful, habitual practices of one of the most fruitful and visible Christian leaders in England’s recent history. Normally something that hasn’t directly affected our lives wouldn’t be mentioned, but one of our most trusted friends, who was directly impacted by both the ministry and spirit associated with this individual, asked for my thoughts on the situation.
I do not believe that this individual represents all or even most Christian leadership in England, but I do believe the lessons that can be learned from this situation apply to leaders and every Christian in general. This was most of my response (in italics) to our friends:
I read Bec’s reflection and sent her a message immediately after I was finished.
Because I know and love you guys her writing was 100 times more impacting than any press headline.
I don’t know Mr. *****, but his situation is haunting. We just can’t let ourselves get in a place where we are above scrutiny. We had better never sweep our own issues, however sensitive they might seem, under the carpet.
Humility and a willingness to repent have to be standards that are prioritized in our lives.
We need to be accountable in a regular, practical way with people who love us but aren’t afraid to speak out about flaws when it is appropriate.
I just feel sad to think that things have gotten this bad for a man who clearly was a major gift and influence to The Body of Christ.
The need for evangelism
We would also request prayer for an increasing burden as we get closer to moving. Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:5 NASB95:
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
We believe that God is asking us to be willing to emphasize evangelistic ministry in this season. No one disagrees with the considerable decline in Christian presence throughout the UK and Europe over the last 75 years. Even the small amount that remains is very cultural as opposed to people who live and personify a true born again experience. Strategy for this is already a matter of prayer, but we would like to ask for your prayer for both wisdom and anointing in this particular area of ministry in the coming season.
Trina and I are indebted beyond words to everyone who prayed for us on this trip and for your faithfulness to be a part of our lives and ministry! We will continue to highlight more spiritual perspectives from this trip and what we believe is relevant during the coming season!
Thanking the Lord for your connections. Sounds like a fruitful trip. We are praying for you both in all your endeavors!
It has, indeed, been quite some time since last we met. Refraining from details of my own hardships with COVID three times, including hospitalization the first time. God is always in control most assuredly when the world doesn’t think so.
Everyone will remain in my prayers and your needs will also be brought up on Tuesday, MAY 30th at a prayer breakfast bible study I attend locally.
Blessings and love always in Christ Jesus our Lord, to the Glory of the Father,