Monday, June 20, 2011

Children, Go Where I Send Thee

Imagine this: you have a pretty well-off judge and his probate-officer wife who are getting near retirement age. The wife at least has always dreamt of golf games, leisurely days, and playing with her grandchildren for their retirement years. But God calls them away from the norm. The judge is quite comfortable running from the authorities while helping and sharing the gospel with needy Cubans, but God calls them away from this as well.
Where does this "normal" couple end up? In a large borough of London helping to grow a church plant where seven other church plants have failed. This is where they live. Their friends are the well-educated successful young adults and the slightly older drug dealers of the borough. Evidently the borough (of about 200,000) where they live is quite a mix of the wealthy elite, with nice parks and beautiful houses, and the poor and destitute, with government housing and drug deals. In the 200,000, there are about 100 Christians.
Each time the judge spoke of the post-modern people in that borough who needed Christ, he could hardly choke out the words through the tears of his passion. He spends his days passing out leaflets, hosting Bible study "gigs," attending book clubs, and making friends with whoever will talk with "a washed up southern judge" (his words of himself). The wife spends her days knitting in a tea shop to attract other ladies with friendship and knitting lessons and standing alongside her husband in what he does. She is sweet but shy so when she hands someone a leaflet on the street, she often thinks, "Don't ask me questions! Go over and ask my husband!" But still she is there living her life among these people.
A few months ago a well known drug dealer of the borough sought out the judge as he was handing out leaflets at a grocery store. The man had a newspaper in his hands and he was obviously distraught. The news story he was reading was of gang murder that the drug dealer was sure his 18 year old son was a part of. He was right in his assumptions. After the judge had talked to him for quite a while he asked, "Do you want to receive Christ?" The drug dealer answered, "Where else can I go?" This drug dealer has since given up his dealing and has even joined the judge on the streets handing out leaflets. He has begun to attract many of his friends to the church.
The wife told of how their church has no children. In a church with an attendance of 40 or 50 on a Sunday morning, there is only one mom who has an infant and another pregnant woman. In order to attract families, the church needs to reach out to the children of the neighborhood. An attendee of the Bible Study gig, an outspoken Catholic has offered to teach a soccer clinic at the church! Because of his friendship with the judge, he wants the church to grow even though he attends somewhere else.
As the couple shared in our Sunday School yesterday, it was easy to see that God is using them. But they told the high points of their year and a half in London. There are long months when no people stop to talk, when there are no newcomers in the church. Reaching out with The Truth to a culture that believes there is no common truth can be very discouraging.
Their story certainly stirs up something inside of me. It makes me thankful for my community, my friends, and my busy but easy life. But it also makes me long for something more. Here is where I am called right now--I firmly believe that parenting is my calling right now. But what is next? Easy days of beach trips and playing with the grandkids? Maybe. That can definitely be a calling too. But maybe not. It is hard to tell where a loving God will send his children when they are willing to go. All I can pray is, "Use us for Your Kingdom, Lord! Use us for Your Kingdom!"
Linked with Motivate Me Monday and Makes My Monday.

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