We're at the end of our Christmas vacation in Alabama and headed back to North Carolina in the morning. We had a restful two weeks with family and such an encouraging day with the church that raised us: First Baptist Church, Montgomery.
Here we share a few highlights from the last few weeks and a little about how to stay connected as we open a new chapter in the story of planting in London.
Two Weeks In Alabama
The last few weeks have been really good for us. We spent a week with the Harts in Montgomery and a week with the Wests in Birmingham. During this time we have been able to rest and reset from the busy season of ministry that we emerged from. During this time Perry and Shepherd have been able to get lots of time with their grandparents (Papa and Susu on the Hart side / Grandaddy and Grammy on the West). We were able to steal away for a few (much needed!) date nights as well.
Highlights of this time away include: Candlelight service at First Baptist, an Auburn Basketball game, running into childhood friends, extended time with family, and lots of BBQ for Thomas. As refreshing as the time has been we also feel the wear and tear of being out of our routines. Daily rhythms are a means of grace. We do look forward to returning to Raleigh and getting back into the flow of having the kiddos in school and the rhythms of ministry. We needed this time away.
Partnering With The First Family
It has been so good to be around the First Family. Both of us grew up at First Baptist, started dating after becoming friends on a high school choir tour mission trip, got engaged in Stakely sanctuary and then married there one year later. God saved us through the preaching of this church, God has grown us through the ministries of this church, and God called Thomas into ministry at this church. We were baptized in this church. We were counseled and married in this church. Thomas learned to preach in this church. Both of us have even worked here: Elizabeth as a children's ministry intern and then the interim children's minister while in college and Thomas as pastoral assistant to Jay over two summers. We are incredibly indebted to the people called First Baptist. In so many ways this place is family to us, the First Family.
Today we participated in a missions Sunday. Brian Gay (the missions minister) teed us up for a really incredible time. This morning we shared with the church about how God has been at work in our lives and this evening we participated in a prayer and worship night where London was one of the key focuses for the year ahead. We are blessed by the gracious love, encouragement, and support of the church that raised us. At the heart of everything we love about the First Family is Jay Wolf. We would not be in ministry today if it weren't for Jay. While Jay has taught us so much over the years the best lessons have been "caught" from him. Jay embodies what it means to practice what you preach. We are so thankful for him and his leadership. We look forward to hosting Jay and many members of the First Family in London over the years ahead.
Back To North Carolina
Tomorrow morning we will pack up the kiddos and hit the road for Raleigh. We are ready to get back into our routine of school and life in Raleigh. The season ahead will have a number of exciting developments. This season in North Carolina marks a new chapter in our journey to London: We are officially ALL IN on the church plant and spending all of our energy on fundraising, building a team, and preparing our family and team for transition.
Next weekend we leave for England for the week. We will attend a number of meetings to prepare for the church plant and host a vision trip of 16 people who are considering being more involved in the church plant. Some of the group are simply interested in the work and want to see what is going on so they can better pray and invest financially while others in the group are genuinely counting the cost of selling everything they have to join Jesus, and this church plant, in London. We will provide an update on this front next week.
There are several ways you can keep up with us on the journey ahead...
Are you interested in praying with us? We would love to have you on the team. Subscribe with this link to receive monthly prayer requests. Like Jay said this morning in church: The greatest tragedy is not unanswered prayer but unspoken prayers. Pray with us and have a part in changing the world through London.
Daniel and Thomas produce a podcast that talks through updates with the church plant and what is going on in our families. In the next couple of weeks the wives are going to take to the cast as well so you can look forward to hearing what is really going on from Paige and Elizabeth. Whether podcasts are a routine for you or not really your thing: this is something you should check out.
On the podcast you'll hear Daniel and Thomas talk through the financing of the church plant and how the money will be invested. We would love for you to join our growing team of churches and families who are investing in London with us. You too can join the growing coalition of people who want to reach the unreached living in London. You can learn more about investing with us through this link and you can make a tax-deductible investment through the "Give" link at any time.
Together, we can reach the unreached living in London.
Thank you for being with us on this journey. We love you!
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”