We are all continuing to navigate our way through these strange days.
At home here in Northern Ireland, our summer months are coming to an end and our kids are going back to school learning to adapt to a ‘new normal’.
In our last newsletter before the summer, Ronnie shared how we were able to fulfil our commitments to our many partners across the world because of the generosity of so many people in our communities here and beyond. At the beginning of June, we were able to begin the reopening process of our shops.
Again we have much to be thankful for, as the generosity of people across this little island continues to sustain what the Lord has entrusted to us. Our staff have been remarkable the whole way through this challenging time. We are truly witnessing the beauty of ‘TOGETHER we can make a difference‘. Yet in our gratitude, we acknowledge the tension that there has been much loss and the struggle for many is still such a reality.
It’s the tension we live with as followers of Jesus, the ‘Kingdom now and not yet’ Recently I was reading Acts 23, Paul is facing huge opposition. He has been taken by force and left in a place of isolation and in verse 11 we read ‘that night the Lord stood near him and said: “Keep up your courage.“ Jesus encourages Paul. This is what Jesus does! He encourages us in the midst of our struggle. It’s now but it’s also not yet. Paul is told he ‘must bear witness also in Rome.’
The difficulties were going to continue for Paul but he had experienced the presence of Jesus, the courage given by Jesus coming close. I pray that would be your experience in these days, maybe in times of opposition, isolation, struggle that you would know Jesus standing near and speaking courage over you and your families. Finally, It has been my privilege to engage with you all in this format over the years.
From next month onwards, Nigel Burrows, one of our staff that many of you will know, will be communicating all that is going on here and across the nations.
Bless you all,