If there is one thing I am not, it’s brave! Indeed, I am an accomplished practitioner of cowardice in all it’s myriad forms, and courage is as alien to me as is flying to your average prairie dog. And if there is one thing I try to avoid even more than putting myself in harm’s way, it’s putting Belinda and Bethany in harms way too. Yet with that said, I can honestly report that we have just spent three whole weeks in the most complete and perpetual danger. Indeed, never more than a few feet away from both imminent and painful death.
“Were you smuggling Bible’s into North Korea?” I hear you ask. “Or preaching the gospel to cannibals in the Amazonian wilderness?” “Did you climb Everest to give out tracts at the summit?” Well, no! It was actually worse than any of those things. We were – prepare to gasp in horror – with a church in…….Western Australia! That land down under where the ten most most deadly everything-in-the-world were lurking in both the undergrowth, and ocean, wherever we walked, paddled or swam.
Our hosts assured us that it was perfectly safe, but of course I didn’t believe them for a moment. Their assurances that they had never even seen a snake, or a red-back spider, counted for nothing as just about everything that was dangerous in the antipodes – the deadly blue-ringed octopus included – either slithered, skulked or swam in front of us pretty much wherever we went.
So hey! Maybe I’m not such a coward after all! I have, let’s face it, been for many years in close contact with Americans, and can now add Aussies to the list. I can only say, “Strike a light Cobber! Let’s get some Sheilas in with a couple kegs of the amber nectar and we can dig into our tucker bags down by the billabong!”
But seriously though! It was both a great joy and privilege to spend time with a fairly newly formed church of the Lord’s people who truly are committed to living every aspect of their lives purely on the Word of God in obedience to their Saviour! It is a rare thing, to be sure, and we were greatly blessed to be a small part of it for three wonderful weeks.
The family whom the Lord primarily used to start this church – Gary and Helen, Dan, Becky and Rachel – were friends of ours here in England before they emigrated. They pioneered a biblically based church in their home whilst still living in Yorkshire, but England being England, it just never took off as it should. However, the Lord eventually led them to Australia, and although at the time it was sad and perplexing for us (why would the Lord remove one of the very few families in England who actually understood church life?) it is both wonderful and encouraging to know that such a church now exists down under.
Being with Gary and Helen and the kids again was brilliant, and getting to know the folk in the church there was just the icing on the cake. We never know what the Lord is going to do next, and our loss here in England has certainly turned into Perth’s gain. I am increasingly of the conviction that the Lord has pretty much finished with the UK, and that the judgement of a famine of the Lord’s Word is now the result. But I am thrilled to be seeing encouraging things happening elsewhere, and having the privilege of being a tiny part of it.
So thanks for having us Yanchep church! It was great! I hereby welcome you to the rather small and completely non-influential company of Christians whose burden it is to live as comprehensively as we can according to scripture, including church life!