Thursday, 30 August 2012

Back in Beijing..

As I write, I am sat just half a mile from Tiananmem Sq having breakfast. It's Saturday and we (I'm traveling with Steve, my son) have just one more day here before heading home after an awesome 10 days here in Beijing. And what a trip it has been! Exhilarating, exciting, exhausting and more, but above all a joy, catching up with dear friends, and a massive privilege getting to speak in all sorts of contexts. It’s 4 or 5 years since I was last here, but it feels like yesterday, and we quickly got back into the hurly burly and general craziness of this huge, crowded city!

A priority for us on this trip has been to enjoy time with my good friend Byron who became a very special friend when we were here last. Byron with his wife Karen heads up Newday Creations which is a very special place on the outskirts of Beijing, incorporating a foster home for 40 or so babies awaiting adoption, a language school, and a factory for local workers. (Check out Newday website) On top of that, Byron is strongly involved with BICF (Beijing International Christian Fellowship) and other Christian groups here, and he arranged a pretty full on itinerary for our visit with speaking engagements here there and everywhere!

Another high priority has been to spend time with Phil & Laura Harverson who moved to Newday with their family about a month ago. Phil previously led the Newfrontiers church Oasis in Chelmsford before relocating to China, and we were their first visitors from the old country! It has been great to meet up and spend time with them in their little apartment - complete with a huge picture of a London bus outside Fortnum & Masons, hanging on the wall! Phil has just bought an electric bike / truck thing to transport the family around the village & we got to ride on the back - what a hoot! Actually it’s Phil’s birthday today and we will be enjoying birthday cake with him this afternoon! Do pray for these guys as they find their feet here - especially for their children Abi, Peter and Hannah, that they will quickly make good friends here.

Steve & I have been based at Newday where we have been wonderfully looked after. In fact during our stay a new baby arrived at Newday, and they have a tradition that if there are guests staying when a new baby arrives, they get to suggest a name! Well, it was a little boy just a few months old, so Steve came up with the name Henry. Those of you from Kings will have fond memories of Henry Tyler who was so instrumental at Kings years ago. So we figured that people back at Kings would have no problem remembering to pray for a little Chinese boy called Henry in Beijing, that God would strengthen and heal him and find him a Christian family somewhere in the world. Special. You can see his picture on the Newday website.

Steve and I have got to speak in a number of settings and met some wonderful people whilst here. Particularly special was the Sunday morning when after preaching I was asked to baptise three new believers - what a joy! And how these people sing! So thank you Byron, thank you Phil & Laura, thank you BICF and all the other dear friends we have had the privilege to meet, and above all, thank you Lord for allowing us to serve your precious people in this part of the world - it is a special frontier!

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