Friday, September 08, 2006

Breakfast with Martin

Today is a day I've been looking forward to for a very long time. Norman told us that he would try to arrange a time for us to meet Martin if he was in town. Needless to say, his tour schedule is always a challenge to work around. I really tried not to get my hopes up. Even until Thursday, I was anticipating a cancellation - after all he is famous and very busy. There's a lot of expectation that goes into meeting one of your heroes, and sometimes we hold them at a level they can't possible live up to. Well, I'm happy to say that Martin Smith is a hero that met every expectation.

For those of you who aren't sure who Martin is, he is the lead singer of Delirious. He has penned, what are in my opinion, the best worship songs ever written (I Could Sing of Your Love, Shout to the North, Deeper, Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, My Glorious, Majesty, Rain Down, etc.). I spent an hour and a half with him this morning (he only committed to an hour, but stayed longer) over pancakes and coffee. Ok - now for the rest ...

This man is humble, respectful, wise, polite, a deep thinker, discerning, and a lot of other great words that I could put here. We talked about worship, about the church, about the band, about his family, about our church, about missions, and much more. He initiated questions about our home, church, and family, and he followed up with questions that let you know he really cared about us. He spoke profound words about worship and the church, and he used many of the buzzwords we use - especially "doing life together". Ever since we started River Stone, it's been refreshing to find people who are like-minded who give credibility to what we do and how we do it. I never thought that Martin Smith would be one of those people. The things that are important to us are important to him. Many of my soapbox issues were things he's passionate about. I couldn't believe how great our time together was. The tragedy was we had to kick him out because of plans that we had previously made. Time with Martin cut short. But, we were invited to his father-in-law's birthday party (who happens to be the pastor of the church here), and we found out "the band", as they're referred to here, will be leading worship on Sunday at Arun. They haven't led here since July, and these days it is a rare occasion. The Lord has smiled upon us and blessed us more than we ever could've imagined. He has confirmed every step of this trip, and it's been amazing. Did I mention that Steven Curtis Chapman will be at church on Sunday? We will be the only other Americans in the place.

I know that I've rambled on and haven't made the most sense, but I'm really excited about what the Lord is doing in our relationship with Arun Community Church. Every few months I get very weighed down by the weight of ministry, and times such as this are invaluable to my own personal rejuvenation and refreshment. Please continue to pray that God would continue to reveal himself and how this relationship is supposed to manifest itself in the future of my life and River Stone's ministries.

On a personal note, pray for us as we travel to London on Sunday night to spend the night. This will be our only chance to see London. We will be traveling by train from the Southern Coast of England to Victoria Station. We will spend one night at the cheapest hotel we could find and return back to Norman and Grace's Monday evening before we get up super early on Tuesday to fly home. The unnerving thing is that we will be touring London on 9/11, and with the recent terrorist activity in the city, it is easy to feel anxious. However, we know that we won't necessarily have many other opportunities to see the city. Pray also for us as we begin to be aware that we've been away for Jake for 5 days. We miss him, and he's getting over some congestion in his chest. Also, pray for Grace. She's struggling with polymyalgia. It is a disease of the nerve endings that causes her a lot of pain. You would never know she had it, but she is in a lot of pain. Norman and Grace are fasting breakfast and lunch every Wednesday - trusting God for her healing. We were able to stand alongside of them in that this week, and I got to pray over Grace for her healing. What a blessing it was. I wanted to share that in case you would like to fast and pray for her. Also, we are suffering from jet lag, but haven't really had time to be affected by it. We've been sleeping just fine (in spite of no A/C), but are overwhelmed by sleepiness a few times a day.

So, that's probably it for now. There is more to tell than I can tell. There are more thoughts to unpack that I haven't even begun to process. I could go home today completely enriched and refreshed, but we've got 4 more days. Tomorrow, we're going to a medieval castle and to the pastor's birthday party. Sunday, we'll go to church in the morning and to London in the evening. Monday, we'll see as much of London as we can see. Tuesday, we leave Norman and Grace's at 6am to catch our plane. We're excited about the rest of our trip, and we are trusting that God has plenty more for us.

We love you and miss you guys very much. We hope you're having a great week!


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