Last Monday, I left the US and flew to Northern Ireland. I spent two days visiting with the folks at Northwest Baptist Church and talking to the leaders in the church. I am excited about how God is helping things to get put in place so that church continues on and so that the gospel is continued to be preached in that city.
From last Thursday until today, I have been in London surveying the city and seeing what doors God might open for us. The last three days, my pastor Austin Gardner joined me here, which has a been a real blessing and help. We have only 40 days left until we return to the UK, so it has been good to get some things in order for when we return.
Here are a few things that I learned while here:
- There are some churches in the city that are doing a good job, but is a huge place. If you planted one church for every 50,000 people in London, you would need 170 churches.
- There are apparently quite a few small, struggling churches here that have a church building, just a handful of people, but no pastor. We are praying that God might open up one of these for us, because it seems that having a building here would be a huge advantage.
- Housing is very expensive in central London, but the further out you go the less expensive it becomes. It looks like we should be able to get a three bedroom house on the outskirts of London for about £1500 per month plus council tax of about £150 per month. That is a total of $2640 per month.
- There are many different nationalities and religions throughout the city. We ate at an Indian restaurant, a Turkish restaurant, a Pakistani restaurant, and there was any kind of food you could want. In the picture above, you can see the East London mosque.
- There is a great variety of population densities in the city. The outer boroughs of the city have quite a few green spaces and even farm land, even though they are still inside the M25 motorway that runs around the city. Some of the inner boroughs are extremely densely populated, like Islington, which has 36,000 people per square mile.
- The city is huge! One day I drove around the city stopping for a few minutes every 4-5 miles and I was in the car for 10.5 hours. We probably spent nearly 40 hours total driving around the city, and we did not see but just a small percentage of the place.
- The culture is similar to what we have been used to Northern Ireland is some ways and is different in many others. We have alot to learn about the city, about Britain, about their history and culture.
Ways that you can pray for us:
- Please pray for God’s wisdom and strength as we pack up and finish our furlough. Over the next four weeks, we have nine more meetings, a week of camp, two weeks of teaching at the Our Generation Training Center, and a week of orientation with our mission board.
- Pray for God to help us as we finalize things in Northern Ireland. We have to sort through our belongings there and pack them up to move them to London. We are working on the transition from us to a local pastor.
- Pray for God to show us the right door to go through in London. There are a few options that we are considering and we are just praying for wisdom and direction.
- Pray for God to bring in the remaining 14% of our support. We have had several churches tell us they are planning to take us on. We know that the Lord will provide exactly what we need. He always has.