Greetings from Wolverhampton, England!
After a harrowing flight from Detroit to Boston, I made it into Birmingham, England, via Amsterdam, last Wednesday morning. My friend Damian Pickett and his young son Dakota transported me from the airport to lunch at IKEA! We ate lunch and then for my benefit, looked a bit at furniture, trying to get an idea of what I may need to ship from the States versus purchase when I return in the Fall.
I barely had time to deposit my luggage at the Wolverhampton house, before we raced off for a conference that was already in progress when I arrived. The gathering of primarily American missionaries and a few British Christian leaders was sponsored by Pastor Tim Adrian and the Westside Baptist Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. Thank you, Tim, for your generosity and vision.
One exciting element for me was that the Personal Renewal Retreat was conducted by two of my former staff members from Lynchburg (VA) – Dorcas Harbin and Robert Lugar – both now serving in France as missionaries, leading One Another Ministries International. Although we did not get personal time together, we’re going to do so in the near future, for strategy purposes.
Settling into someone else’s house is always interesting, but this affords me the opportunity to become acquainted with this region of England and discover where I would like to secure a house of my own in the months ahead. If driving someone else’s car isn’t nerve-racking enough, I’m doing so from the right-side steering wheel and the left side of the road! There’s one thing for sure – I concentrate on my driving these days!
It’s also taxing on the nerves to look for new places, routes, etc. while concentrating on driving! Yesterday was an interesting afternoon. After driving to Temple Baptist Church in the Oxley area of Wolverhampton, and attending the services with missionary friends Barry and Pat Dunmire, I went to their home for Father’s Day lunch. After a wonderful lunch and time of chatting, I headed for home.
A leisurely drive of perhaps 25 minutes was stretched into two hours and fifteen minutes! I have never been so lost in all my life – and it wasn’t until I had to stop for a restroom break that I asked for directions – only to discover that I was then within a half-mile of my house! Later today, I’m buying a map!
Another interesting discovery yesterday was when I pulled my loaner car into the petrol station to fill the twelve-gallon tank. Ten gallons of petrol back in Waterford (MI) was about $3.29 per gallon when I left last week. Yesterday’s ten gallon fill-up cost me $84. Yes – $8.40 per gallon. So I don’t want to hear my America friends complaining to me about gasoline prices!!!
Please pray with me concerning the my future ministry in the United Kingdom. I have already begun sharing with various religious leaders here some of the vision that God has given me, and asking for their insights. All readily agree that what I’m sharing is needed quickly. Over the next two months, this will be my work – meeting with missionaries and British pastors, sharing my burden and vision, and seeking ways in which we can work together for the good of the Kingdom.
Needles to say, this will require a lot of travel (at $8-plus per gallon) as well as train fares, meals, overnight lodging, etc. It will not be done easily or quickly by this “greenhorn Yankee” from the States. However, it is a work that is desperately needed – reaching the youth culture for Christ.
Until next time, cheers!