Archive for July, 2011


Adrift

Is the phone hacking scandal currently dominating UK media attention symptomatic of a ‘culture’ which has lost its way ?

Flotsam borne

on restless tide

direction-less

~~~

Snow driven

by ferocious gale

dangers ahead

Earthlings run – cut adrift

from value & meaning –

head-long toward …. ?

~~~

Winds of change,

of progress, it’s claimed,

propel to unseen destiny

~~~

Relentlessly

tides of history,

flow into infinity

~~~

Does no-one see ?

Does no-one know ?

Does no-one care ?

Nigerian Delights

I could never have known what the repercussions would be when first I knocked the door of 123 Pelham Road, Immingham, way back in 1977 … The young African who answered that day explained that he was  a student of food technology at Grimsby College. He was warm & friendly, asked questions & listened courteously. Dele quickly became a regular visitor both to our home & church. From an Islamic background, Dele found himself  ‘attracted’ to church at an early age, which set him seriously at odds with members of his own immediate family. His ‘conversion’ resulted in death threats, but he persevered with his newly-found faith.

Some time after that first meeting, Dele was joined in the UK by his fiancee, Funmi, and in March 1979 I had the great honour of conducting their wedding at a church in Grimsby. It was, as I recall, a rather low key, low budget event, with only a small number of friends in attendance. But their love for each other was evident and typically joyful in its expression.

On the arrival of their first-born – a daughter, named Tolu – I was asked to conduct a Dedication Service – a simple service of thanksgiving for the safe arrival of the baby, with prayer for the parents in their massively important role.  It’s always been a special joy to me to participate in such services.

A huge gap of many years came between those events & what happened next … In that time I left Immingham to take up ministry in the nearby, small market town of Brigg. Dele & Funmi also moved away from the area, and eventually, after a few more years in the UK, returned to Nigeria, where two more children were added to the family.

In the early 90’s, however, Dele brought his entire nuclear family back to England, settling in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.  We re-established contact shortly after their return, and Dele & Funmi became members of our team of prayer partners, faithfully covering our ministry with their personal prayers.

Now,  imagine how overwhelmed I was at the beginning of 2011 to receive a call from Dele informing me that Tolu – now a qualified doctor – had met Charles – a technology analyst with an investment bank – and planned to marry … and, would I consider conducting the ceremony in the Aylesbury Methodist Church. I had no hesitation whatsoever in agreeing to this amazing request, and so, I had the incredible joy and privilege, on Saturday 4th June 2011, of not only attending, but also of officiating at Tolu & Charles’ wedding. It was a truly momentous and wonderfully international occasion, with guests from many parts of the world, sharing in the obvious joy of the couple at the colourful service, followed by a splendidly African reception – filled with many beautiful surprises.

                     Photo 1 Dele & Funmi                                       Photo 2   Tolu & Charles

The story of Dele and his wonderful family, and of my own involvement in their lives is deeply instructive of the ways of God, which are truly ‘past finding out’. Without the benefit of ‘omniscience’ it is impossible to calculate the effect we may have on the lives of others if considered only in the short-term.

No doubt, like me, there are occasions when you question the events which occur in your life – particularly the painful ones. Yet this story serves to remind me, and also encourage me, that God’s ways are much higher than mine, that His plans are so much bigger, and that from insignificant beginnings large things can grow – given time.

If you are struggling with issues of ‘fruitfulness’ as I often do – then be encouraged that God’s measure of success and effectiveness, is vastly different to that which we use to measure ourselves and our progress (the perceived lack of which is often the cause of considerable discomfort to us)…and be encouraged and assured that He knows the end from the beginning, and unlike us, is never caught out or taken by surprise…ever.