Monday, 2 June 2008

God comes knocking

It has been a significant week, one of inspiration and encouragement. Over the last weekend I thought that I would like to hear a good sermon and listen to something inspiring, well I never actually got around to finding one on-line but we got chatting on Tuesday with a friend of our American neighbours. We invited her around to our house to see the work we had been doing on our flat (apartment) and to chat some more. She went to join our friends for lunch and later on in the afternoon there was a knock at the door, our new friend, Kathleen was back. 
To fill you in a bit, Kathleen is American with a call to be a missionary in England. She is now married to an Englishman and training to be a minister in the Anglican church. It was as if God had sent a pastor to us to preach a sermon specifically to us that inspired and encouraged us. We rounded off the afternoon with a trip up to Gaizinkalns the highest point in the whole of Latvia to pray. Our American neighbours know the owner of the tower quite well but it has been difficult road for the owner to come back from America to run the hotel and right now it is shut. We prayed God's blessing on the area and the nation of Latvia from the great height of 312m (1023ft). God has a significant plan for Latvia, a nation struggling with debt and inflation, with oppression from the occupying powers of the past and yet God is releasing a new sense of joy in the land and colour to overcome the oppression.

Wednesday was our daughter Emma's birthday, she turned 22 years old. It was a wet and windy Wednesday in Sheffield all those years ago that she was born, somethings don't change - apparently the weather was not so good in Sheffield this year either, where she is studying to be a nurse.

Wednesday was a day of births according to a comment on our friend Martin's blog and we certainly felt that when we got together with Kathleen and her husband Ian, and our American neighbours Kim and Bruce. It was as if Kathleen catalysed our relationship with our neighbours and brought new understanding. It forged a friendship that we can build together to affect the area that we live in, we can bathe the place in prayer knowing we are singing from the same hymn sheet - to use a common phrase. 

A song has been coming back to me called Pillar of Fire and you can read the lyrics here the phrase "Where, Oh Lord, are you leading?" keeps coming through in this time. I am not scared as in the song but certainly puzzled. I knew it would be a different road to travel from here, after all the title of a book "What got you here. won't get you there" - a book about business leaders by Marshall Goldsmith leapt out at me last year and has never left. So what is God doing at the moment? Where is he leading His church? All I know is he is transforming the landscape, transforming the places where we live and He is going to do a thorough job of it, there will be no "it's good enough" or "it will do for now", his transformation may take time but it will be complete. 

Ian is out tilling his land i.e. he is digging, but his back keeps twinging and the biting insects are giving him some grief as well. So what does this say about those who dig our lands in a spiritual sense, those who prepare the ground for sowing the seeds?What are the pains they suffer and what are the irritations that they are attacked with? It is tempting when these things happen to get a tractor and just plough the lot, but to short cut this stage will just produce more weeds that grow amongst our crops and so he slowly and thoroughly digs the land, getting rid of the roots and leave just the good soil.

We also met up with our good friends Steve and Natalija before they get busy with the camping season. We were really excited to hear about their plans for this coming year, how they are looking not to just entertain youth in camping mission but to encourage youths and youth leaders to model community, to engage everyone and give them all a role and not just put on a performance and lots of activities to stop them from getting bored. 

Yesterday we had a great time of soaking and prayer time with our American neighbours. Ian put some songs together that spoke of journeying with God and we listened to those for half an hour and afterwards were just still before God letting his presence minister to us. We then moved on to pray for our community and then shared more about our own journeys - it was a precious time.

Well summer is now upon us and I took this photo at 11pm - as you can see it is still light, hence our later and later bedtime. We are fortunate that dawn does not wake us up as I think it is early, I do pray though that the curtain poles that we have ordered will be ready soon.

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