Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In OZ (1) Connections and Memories

This is almost my first breather after four very full days. Time to log on and catch up.
Sunday began early at 4:30am (oh jetlag!) But I was grateful for an early start because I had two sermons to prepare. Some of you know that I like to preach without notes and this requires serious immersion in the text. At 8:20am a student arrived to take me to Epping Baptist Church, Sydney, to preach at the 9:00 am and 10:30 am services.

I last preached there 19 years ago. One senior member came up and said: "Do you remember that I wrote to you in the late 1980's to become our pastor?" It all flooded back how Carol and I had received a full package from him, complete with details and warm invitation. I thought how strange that I might have been given a call here, and spent some of my life down-under. You never do know. Several friends turned up to greet me most of whom I had not seen for 10 years, evoking wonderful memories.

The present new minister and wife - Andrew and Rosalyn Hall - arrived a few weeks ago from the UK. They married 13 years ago and met when Andrew was a student at Spurgeon's College. My wife had a considerable role in bringing them together - a romantic story! What a thrill to see Andrew, one of "my" students now pastor of this strategic church.

With a brief afternoon break I was off for a long drive through Sydney to preach at Narwee Baptist church. Over 200, mostly young people, packed the building with such enthusiasm. As I drove back thinking of the day's connections and memories, of what-might-have-beens, and of what-actually-has-happened, I was so grateful to God for this special day in Oz.

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