Praise the Lord, we have returned home to America! After a week to recover from travel and get life back in order, we wanted to post some thoughts on our trip. Please enjoy!
More than anything else, the most enjoyable portion of the trip for all of us (excepting Arlo, perhaps) was the fellowship. The people of GraceLife London joyfully welcomed us in, pursued us, and took care of us on this trip. It was such a treat to spend time on Sunday at church and between services, on Wednesday night at the midweek Bible Study, and throughout the week for meals and fellowship.
GraceLife London does not fit the typical “London” mold of quiet, introverted culture. Our brothers and sisters in Christ were eager to get to know us, and to share their lives with us. We were blessed by their love, support, and genuine investment in our lives over this short time.
By God’s grace, we had multiple opportunities to minister on this trip. Michael was able to teach at the chapel for the Hermenaeia Bible Institute on the Gospel in 1 John. The students concluded their first year of training going through a Bible Survey class taught by Pastor Adam.
Additionally, Michael preached three Sunday services over the two Sundays we were in London. This was a prime chance for him to get practice preaching to Christians at a real church service! The church graciously received him and provided him with helpful feedback as he continues to grow in his preaching abilities.
Michael and Vanessa also attended the midweek Bible Study on Wednesday night, were there was a discussion-based review of the sermons. Those present at the study engaged in encouraging discussion of the topics and really dug into application of the messages they heard on Sunday. It was a huge blessing to see how intentional the dialogue was!
Michael also spent time with Pastor Tom discussing various administrative elements of the church, getting an idea of how he’d be able to use his accounting and management training to bless GraceLife London in the future if the Lord allows us to pursue ministry in London.
Finally, all of us engaged in plenty of opportunities to disciple, counsel, encourage, and exhort one another while with church members and leadership. The incredibly open and graciously honest culture of the church allowed for moments of genuine investment in each others’ lives. Michael, Vanessa, and Kelli were all blessed with the opportunity to encourage and pray for our new friends in England.
Another major portion of the trip was trying to get a feel for what life in London and England looks like. We were able to live in an apartment only 5 minutes’ walk from the church, and took full advantage of the central location to practice living a life similar to what our life will be like if we go to London.
This meant taking the tube, buying groceries, and trying to get a buggy (“stroller” for you Americans) all around London. It was a fun challenge to undertake as afamily, and we learned a lot in a short time! While these things will certainly take some getting used to, we were encouraged to feel that they are not hurdles which we cannot manage. Praise God!
We also got to explore some fun sights and experiences around London, including Windsor Castle, the London Eye, and Harrod’s.
We were encouraged to spend one day at a beach town called Portsmouth with our dear friends the Rush’s, who joined us from Ivybridge. It was a blessing to get some fellowship (and fish and chips!) with them.
While much more can (and will!) be said, overall, we couldn’t be more thankful for this trip. In many ways, the trip went as well as it possibly could have, praise God. We feel that we had a genuine chance to see what life would be like and get the necessary time with the leadership of GraceLife London, to continue to move forward and see what God has planned for us in London, if anything.
For those of you who supported us—both in prayer and financially—thank you so much! We are so blessed by your support. Please pray as we continue to work with the elders of GraceLife London and our sending church to see what the next steps will be in coming months.
Love, the Dionne’s