Last weekend took me back nearly thirty years - in the best possible ways. Katherine and Lloyd Porter were visiting Cambridge with their daughters, having travelled from Perth Australia where they are both key leaders for Operation Mobilization. Katherine is one of the eight-strong Global Leadership Team overseeing some 3,500 missionaries. Lloyd is responsible for OM in Western Australia from where over 200 missionaries has been sent out in recent years. Why was it so joyous to connect with them?
Because, in 1989 I baptized Katherine in heady days of conversions and sending out of missionaries in St. Andrew's St. Baptist church. Upon graduating she went to Russia and served for 17 years, during which she met Lloyd. And on this past weekend,29 years on, we not only spent time with this very gifted couple whose Christian glow lights up the room, but also on Saturday, at an Open House, other former students gathered to celebrate their time with Katherine in the Robert Hall Society (a Baptist student society based at the church). One of them Michael Wray, who I had not seen since 1990, was our first Pastoral Assistant giving a year's service to the church following his graduation. He brought four packs of very informal photographs of fellow students - on mission, doing pantomime, actually doing all sorts of studenty things. The laughter as we passed these around, the memories stirred of others' names and personalities and the ongoing stories of their lives post-Cambridge were blissful to hear. Katherine commented about the sheer wonder that all these people continue in Christian leadership across the world.
For Carol and me it was the first time we had sat down with a group of returning students with so many affectionate memories pouring out. What joy down memory lane.