A few weeks ago, Kevin Magee (City West worship leader & trustee), Steve Hope (City West site leader) and myself flew off to the sunny climes of Kenya to visit our good friends Edward & Frieda Buria.
The aim of the trip was to visit projects Relational Mission churches (including us) have given to and for Steve to help their media team start to construct a new TV studio (they have a program that goes out to 20 million people).
It's been few weeks since we've been back and before we went I promised a blog or two. I have failed miserably, until now! To my credit I did feedback on my first Sunday back at all three King's locations, but that doesn't help those who were out with the children or unable to be there on that week. Hence I've been asked by a fair few people how the trip to was, so here's a few brief reflections.
- They are people who are rich in faith. I read this verse a day or so into the trip, 'has not God chosen those who are poor in eyes of the world to be rich in faith' (James 2:5). Their trust in God, joy in worship and expectation of what God can do is humbling. One of their regional church pastors has a vision to plant 90 churches in the next two years! I love this and it challenges me to believe God for more and not to settle for less.
- They are our friends. It has been a real joy to get to know Edward and Frieda over the past couple of years. and staying in their home on this trip has only served to deepen this friendship. These are down to earth, trustworthy, faithful, godly, wise and a faith filled couple. Sometimes people ask; with so much need in the world how do we decide where to give as a church? Years ago I came across a simple piece of advice that helped answer that question; 'follow the relationships'. We're not giving to a faceless organisation but to faithful friends, who we know, love and trust. This is the kind of giving we find churches engaged in, in the New Testament.
- We have much to learn from them. I've kind of mentioned this already in the point above but it's worth saying that our relationship with Edward and Frieda isn't about one way traffic (us helping them). Far from it. We have much to learn from these godly men and women, and I fully expect King's to be 'enriched' in many ways off the back of this growing friendship.
- Our giving is making a massive difference. It's a wonderful thing to be connected to good friends who are doing a wonderful work in the lives of people who need it most. Since 2009 we've had the joy of giving around £90,000 into all sorts of programs that are helping people walk free from poverty; ranging from business start ups, famine relief, Community Empowerment Program, Christmas food packages and more.
- We're all in this together (nod to High School Musical). Mike Betts prophesied a couple of years ago that there will be "An increasing emphasis on caring for the poor... there will be a stepping up, a lot stronger emphasis, stepping up to another level, not just a specialist thing but a church wide thing." It was so good to go with Kevin and Steve on this trip, not just for their scintillating company but because the trip was so much more fruitful for them being there. There are so many people gifted in wonderful ways at King's, so who knows who might be using those gifts and skills in the future serve our friends in Kenya.
In the meantime, please do pray for all they are doing in some very difficult circumstances and thank you so much for your generous giving over many years.