Last week we spent a few days in Auburn.
Here are a few highlights of what we did and who we were with...
Our Auburn Roots
With both of us growing up in Montgomery and fans of the Auburn Tigers, we have been making trips to Auburn for football games for as long as we can remember. Along with this, we both attended Auburn University. Since moving to Raleigh we still make as many visits to Auburn as we can whenever we venture back to Alabama. Simply said, Auburn is part of what we call home.
Lakeview Baptist Church
We were in Auburn this last week to participate in our first international missions festival at Lakeview Baptist Church. Lakeview has long been a favorite church for college students at Auburn University. When Lakeview reached out to us about attending the festival and sharing our vision for church planting in London - it was a no brainer! Getting to speak at a church we have long admired was a privilege that we quickly jumped on!
The story of exactly how we got invited to Lakeview is worth noting. This past February we were preparing to take a trip to London to pray over the potential move and church plant. We were growing nervous and uneasy as the departure came closer...and in stepped Hal.
Hal is the missions pastor at Lakeview. He heard about our potential church plant from Jay Wolf at First Baptist Church, in Montgomery. Hal landed a call at just the right time. He called Thomas on the Wednesday before we departed for London on Friday. He kindly encouraged us to persevere towards London and that they at Lakeview had actually been praying for London for some time.
What makes this so encouraging is that Hal had no clue about two very important details. First, Hal had no idea that we were leaving that Friday for a trip and growing a little nervous about it. Second, he had no idea that we just prayed the night before for God to provide a word of comfort and solidarity for us as we continued to make progress towards London. With both the nervousness brewing in our hearts and our prayer on Tuesday night, Hal called to encourage us on Wednesday. This phone call was one of the many ways that God has showed up in the past 13 months and been so kind to continue easing us towards London.
Speaking + Being Spoken To
We were invited to Lakeview to share our ministry vision for London. We shared in a variety of venues both planned and unplanned. Thomas shared during the college gathering and worship service on Sunday morning. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday morning on campus meeting with students and providing encouragement and counsel for students growing eager to participate in church planting. Together, we closed out the festival on Wednesday night by sharing how God had been at work in our lives and developed a theology of calling. We are grateful for these opportunities to speak and to share the ministry vision.
We were blown away by the ways that God spoke to us. Just as it happens so many times in life with God: You show up hoping to bless somebody and you end up getting blessed. Haven't we all experienced this in one way or another? That was our experience in Auburn. We were blown away by the kindness and encouragement from the whole team: Brother Al, Hal, the amazing college students (War Eagle!), and the members of Lakeview.
We were deeply refreshed and blessed by the ways that Lakeview so excitedly supported us. Their general hunger for God and interest in global missions was inspiring to be around. In addition to this, their specific exhortations for us and excitement about the work God is leading us into was a blessing. We left Auburn Thursday morning as encouraged as we've yet to be in this process of church planting.
Perry and Shepherd on Campus
One of the sweetest aspects of these last few days was being back on campus with our children. Eating at restaurants we ate at in college and walking some of the same paths we used to walk, but now with children in hand, was an unforgettable experience.
Perry and Shepherd did great. As the travel starts piling up we are encouraged by how our children are proving to be more and more resilient. Sleeping in different beds night after night coupled with visiting new churches (and church nurseries!) isn't always easy. And yet, our children are taking it like little champions. We're able to see glimpses of how this traveling life will be a long-term blessing for our children.
We're excited about this weekend! Providence is hosting their missions festival and we are thankful to be a part of it. We're back in Raleigh for most of October and excited to be with the college students and church family we love so much.