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Thursday, September 07, 2017

England in September, a week of work and tea

The first week of our September leave was not truly leave, but a semi-annual week of intense morning-to-night leadership meetings with our NGO.  We review policies, develop strategies, analyze metrics, create new training programs, and spend about a quarter of our time in prayer for each other and our teams.  There is always lively discussion with this group, helpful ideas, honest confession.  This time we met in Dunstable, which happened to be right across the road from a priory built in 1131.  Most of the buildings had been pillaged over the centuries but about half of the main church remains and continues in use to this day.  We started the week by joining a eucharist service there.  Thankful for these saints, who slog through the same struggle against evil that we do.  It's a privilege to walk together.
And even though most of the week was spent in this room . . 

We did have a few glimpses of the country.  We landed a day before the meetings started, enabling a delightful intersection with our dear Kenyan friends and co-workers the Barasa family who are mid-way through a 2-year fellowship in Liverpool.  They met us in Stratford-upon-Avon for strolls around the late summer festive town, admiring Shakespearean history and embracing the importance of the written word.  We caught up on each others' lives over coffee and tapas, visited a museum and playground and church, and walked and walked.
Jack and Ima with Jonathan and Tanya

Shakespeare's birth home (above) and place of baptism and burial (below)

Some aggressive but entertaining swans
Tanya, a picture of bright confidence

In Dunstable proper, Rachel and I found some hills to climb and cows to admire one day after lunch:

And then yesterday my mom arrived, spending a week in the British isles.  We look forward to driving with her around Ireland starting tomorrow.

This guest-house associated with the priory was built in the 1200's and now houses a tea room, complete with a tea museum.  

Our readings together this week came from Ephesians 1, the tumultuous and glorious words that tumble over one another to speak of God's love and power lifting us up and flowing, crashing out over the world.  Unlike the hurricanes we are seeing on the news, this love only destroys that which needs purifying.  The powerful waves of this force bring goodness.  Pray for us all.  For the vision and goals we worked on together to flow in blessing for many.  For faith as we continue on with a trip we truly think we need, for rest and refocusing at the end of a year that has often felt chaotic and overwhelming . . . all the while deeply concerned for Scott's dad's frail health and his mother's challenge to cope as life transitions loom.  Thanks.

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