Back in December 2004, I wrote a post 'Where is God?', in response the to Asian Tsunami. As church community, we spent a sunday together, lamenting, praying and giving voice to our questions, and doubts. As a community we asked what would it be like if we did more than just take up an offering. What if we as a church found one place however small to support in prayer, finance, and mission, for the long haul, to share in the rebuilding over a lifetime, and to keep the memory of what had happened alive, and see it transformed in some way.
After almost two years of research, prayer, exploration, making sure we didn't overlap NGO's and government aid unnecessarily, trying to find christians to parter with, and work with churches in the UK, we saw the first team from our church go to Sri Lanka last thursday.
They take with them, money (thousands of pounds from our community), skills to work on projects practically, and their shared faith, to worship, break bread, and show the body of Christ together. Thanks to modern technology we have video clips, photos and stories from the team on a daily basis.
It has been wonderful to see what God has been doing, as we have begun to learn about prayer as a community, to open our finances to more giving. One of the team said the thing he was looking forward to the most was the chance to be away for 10 days and not to be pre-oocupired with himself and his needs, like he usually is.
And we look forward to their return, and what things of the Kingdom they will have received and bring back to leaven us as a community. And we have a simple hope and aspiration that in our community, in addition to regular local community mission, people will undertake an international mission once in their lives, and each year new and different people will go to renew, strengthen and share this process.