Monday, 18 May 2015

AMEN gets rolling

I was glad to find we were blessed with sunshine on Saturday mid-morning when Rukundo and Steven appeared.  With Mary, we headed off from Cornerstone to Cornhill.  The conversation turned to rhubarb (the produce, not a metaphor).  "Would you eat it?" I asked Steven.  He wriggled.  "Ah, you'd wouldn't mind being told that you had, once you'd safely digested it?"  I prompted.  He laughed.  "Remember you asked me if I'd ever eaten bush meat?  It's about the same..."  The topic of 'gun meat' arose when we teased Rukundo about Steph's dog.  He'd rankled that an apple core was wasted on a animal.

Lunch at Cornhill was pizza, followed by rhubarb crumble and custard.

Ed arrived, then Claire, and soon the Tudor room was filling up.  We'd invited the intended teams for our two visits: Kenya in August and Rwanda next March.  The welcome Reception was part of their familiarisation.  A phone call from Oxford confirmed that Gregory would be a bit late.  They'd only picked him up from Heathrow mid-morning.  Matthew and Simeon from Nigeria arrived, and folks were chatting freely.

We'll planned to let each of the international guys share something for no more that ten minutes.  Then we would give a quick update on Multiply UK and Europe.

The problem of Boko Haram is clearly in the consciousness of the church in Nigeria.  Simeon is based in the north, and Kelly described him as the bravest man he knows.  Pastors are finding it timely to link together in Multiply's regional 'chapters'.  Rukundo, too has been putting himself at risk, holding prayer conferences in North and South Kivu, DRC.  This is where the M23 rebels are operating - sometimes with the churches' unintentional shielding.  He wants to avoid tribal difference from descending into more bloodshed, prompted by his tragic experience in Rwanda.  Steven described how our UK team visit last year has produced ripples of interest in Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.  By the time Gregory spoke, the atmosphere was hushed.  He spoke of being hopeful for good progress in Uganda. 

After a tea break, it was Jesus Fellowship's turn to bat.  Each of the guys from Africa had managed to stay within the allotted ten minutes!  Piet talked about his visit to Moldova and the massive impression it had made on him.  Paul Poz explained that he's due to see Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and then Andy Flannagan in the Houses of Parliament for an article on Christians in public life.  Ed filled in some background to our (hopefully more effective) approach to practical projects, and Claire on the current Multiply admin arrangements.  We rounded off with Hilary's inspiring account of how we have had donated to us 18 new sewing machines for August's trip.

I noticed the deep conversations around the room.  Mary and I were due to stay in Coventry in the evening, and the Cornerstone saints would be collecting Rukundo and Steven after tea.  The Kings-in-Coventry has waited til we arrived before eating.  There, on the kitchen table, was a delicious rhubarb crumble. 

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