Twenty More Years

Our family moved to Vancouver from England in 1989. The biggest cost factor was leaving our widowed mothers, mine being in a nursing home in Kent. At the end of June, 1991, my mother collapsed into an armchair saying ‘God help me, God bless me’! She called upon the name of the Lord in her dying moments and I have no doubt that she went to be with Jesus in glory. I flew to England to honour her passing and speak at her memorial and then spent some time in Suffolk with sympathetic friends. One evening I set out to drive across England to Stroud in the Cotswold Hills and late at night I came to the picturesque village of Bibury that has a trout stream flowed next to the main road. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to park the car and stand on the bridge over the water. As I waited on the Lord in the still of that night my mind wandered over all the times Beth and I had enjoyed that village. Pastor John Clarke of the ancient Baptist Church had been the first one to ask me to preach at a service. A young couple had been married there and the organist played A Whiter Shade of Pale’ (originally by Procol Harum)! Then a quiet voice inside of me asked ‘Do you know what date it is?’ It came like a flash – it was exactly twenty years from when Beth and I had joined a Cirencester mission, ‘Route 71’, in July 1971 to do coffee bar evangelism with teenagers, and many teens had come to Christ, some being the foundation of our first church plant in 1978. I was overwhelmed at how the Lord had taken us from being obscure youth leaders in the heart of the countryside to being the senior pastor at one of Vancouver’s oldest churches. I could never have imagined such a thing, the Lord had done it all. Then another question shocked me! ‘Would you like another twenty years?’ It took several minutes to answer this question as I knew there would be a cost factor, it would be amazing but there would be challenges, but I said ‘yes’. Well that was twenty years ago this month, and looking back it was as I thought, who would have planned it like this. We did another church plant in Metrotown and through Alpha outreach found friends all over China! We are in a house church again, exactly where we were in the seventies but I’m called to be an intercessor and the director of Intercessors For Canada. Done so many things over the years but thrilled at the end of this period to have an open door to minister in Mexico – been 5 times in the last year. Oh and one of the surprises was having multiple bypass heart surgery a couple of years ago, and the surgeon said ‘ You are alright for another twenty years!’