Wednesday, October 09, 2019

The Great Britain Adventure: Take One

We arrived in Birmingham, England Friday afternoon after a long flight from Newark and a two hour coach trip from Manchester. Tired because of no sleep, we still had a delightful time catching up with Dr. Greg Gardner (our host for the first few days of our adventure here) and with his 3 grown kids. (Greg's wife, Grace, wasn't coming home until Monday from family reunion trip to China and Malaysia.) We made it an early night and got started early Saturday morning with a full English breakfast (well, a Paleo version for us) with Greg and Francis, a Baptist pastor who also works with the local Christian rescue mission. Our conversation was wide-ranging, enlightening, and challenging. Then Claire and I joined the leaders of the Christian pregnancy aid center in Birmingham to talk a bit about our ministry, swap stories, answer questions, and pray together. The rest of the day involved a walk around the High Street of Mosely, ironing clothes, reading on Kindle A. W. Pink's study of Elijah, and a chili dinner with the Gardner family. 

Sunday saw the jet lag finally catch up with us a bit so we found time to rest and read in the afternoon, even watch a rerun of the Great British Bakeoff on TV. Nevertheless, there were times of refreshing, encouraging fellowship also with believers at Greg's church in the morning and a very provocative conversation that evening at the Gardner home with Greg and 6 of his close colleagues in Christian ministry: Sheila, Ray, Gary & Bev, Richard & Ann. That was a very profitable time for us all.

Monday we spent quite a bit of time with Shelia, the director of Stillwaters Pregnancy Centre who along with her husband, Terry, is a missionary here in England with the Southern Baptists. Our time involved a coffee conversation, a delightful tour of the counseling office, and a luncheon at a quaint café nearby. We believe we've made a significant new friend in Sheila. Next on the schedule was a brief talk to a collection of doctors and other medical professionals who work with Greg at Cape Hill Medical Centre. That went really well. And then it was on to the Bearwood Nursing Home where we presented two showings of a special British version of "When Swing Was King." The program was a definite "hit" with both residents and staff. Indeed, watching residents sing along with Vera Lynn's "The White Cliffs of Dover" was worth the whole trip! Finally, Monday evening we very much enjoyed meeting Oliver and Margaret, originally from Zimbabwe and who served 12 years with YWAM, but who now serve in very influential lay vocations. Our dinner together involved one of the most stimulating conversations I've experienced for a long time. Great, great stuff.

And now, as of this writing, we are at our second base of operations -- Cambridge. we motored down here yesterday afternoon after welcoming Grace home from the Far East, packing our gear, and presenting two more "When Swing Was King" shows at Ash Lodge Nursing Home in the late morning. It was a rainy trip with a lot of traffic but we made it on time to check into our venerable room in the West Court of Jesus College which is part of Cambridge University. What a really neat place to stay. We only had a few minutes to clean up, however, because we had a brisk walk ahead of us to get to The Punter pub where we had a long dinner conversation with Greg and old friends who we first met at L'Abri many years ago, Ian & Elaine Cooper. Our talk concerned all kinds of topics, including the talks I'll be giving here in the next few days. Then a more leisurely stroll in the moonlight back to our digs and a nice night's sleep. Next update in a couple of days, I hope.