We are known well for the work we do with MEFI, and this does take up around 80% of Steve's working week and a good chunk of Helen's week too. But outside of MEFI we have other activities going on that we thought you might like to read about.
One of Helen's main responsibilities of course is being a mum and a wife (or sometimes she says it's more like having 3 kids than having 2 kids and a husband!). As any mum knows, kids take up a lot of time, but this time goes quickly and so she is trying to savour each precious moment of it - even when it is trying to stop Anya from eating the candles or mud, or trying to enter in to Nisha's imaginary world and having to pretend to be a granny to her many babies! It was Anya's 2nd birthday last Wednesday, so we had a little party to celebrate, complete with a horse piñata, which Nisha and Anya had great enjoyment in destroying to get at the goodies inside!!!
And here is Anya playing with one of her birthday presents.
One of the other things Helen has been challenged to take on is a Bible study for our neighbourhood. There is a small core group that meet every Wednesday evening with new people coming from time to time. One of the most faithful members is a Catholic lady who has an amazing testimony of how God revealed to her His grace and showed her how to have a direct relationship with Him. Most of the Catholics here would believe that it is all down to your good deeds whether God will accept you, and that it is only through a priest that you can have communication with Him. She has a real passion to share her faith with others and whilst one of the others that comes to the Bible study is a Christian, the others are on a similar journey to Vicky, and it is exciting to hear her share her story with them and see God speaking in to their lives.
Steve makes up the rest of his work time helping with leadership in the national church. He represents OMS on the national church board, which is made up of 6 including Steve. They supervise the pastors and churches across the denomination. More recently Steve has been asked to become a supervising pastor for a young church which was planted two years ago. The commitment is to go a minimum of one Sunday a month to preach and meet with the leaders to advise and train them. The picture below shows the three deacons from the church leading communion this morning. Steve is going to be mentoring them and possibly starting a preaching course in the next month or so.
ECC (Every Community for Christ) International - the church planting and evangelism arm of OMS - is hoping to have a new team start working in the city centre from April onwards. It will be working in the area around 'La Raza' where the drop in centre is located. Steve will also be overseeing this team.
Sometimes with so many needs or opportunities it's easy to get carried away and fill your time with these things. However, one of our values is that family should come before ministry, and we are working hard to maintain that principle. Ministry opportunities will come and go, be we only have one shot at bringing our kids up, therefore the time we dedicate to spending time as a family is both precious and irreplaceable.
Of course, even more important than time we spend with family, is the time we spend with God. Psalm 1 makes it clear that when, like a tree, we are planted by streams of water (meaning the living water of God), the leafs do not wither. In the same way, when we try and do things in our own strength, we only tire ourselves out and don't see much progress. However, when we're in close communion with God the things we do for Him will flourish and grow, despite our weakness and inadequacies.
We have been feeling particularly weak lately, and have had to depend on God all the more because of this. We have all had various ailments - coughs, colds, fevers and tummy problems. Steve has had recurrent issues with his tummy, and it got so bad recently that the doctor ordered several tests including a colonoscopy and endoscopy from which we're waiting for the results. Steve has an appointment on Monday 11th and so by then we're hoping to finally figure out what might be causing these problems.
We hope some of you have been enjoying the MEFI blog, tomorrow we take the MEFI team away for four days for a retreat, so our prayer is that God would speak to us and refresh us during this time.