Encouragement and Hope on the VBM UK Tour
The decline of Christianity throughout Europe has been well-documented. Here in England, church attendance is somewhere below 5%. Historic cathedrals stand empty, or converted into pubs. The people know nothing of Charles Spurgeon or D. Martin Lloyd-Jones. And worse, Islam is thriving. However, all is not lost!
These last few days have reminded me that God always has a remnant. The homeschool conference in Madeley was well-attended by enthusiastic men, women and children, eager to learn how to disciple the next generation more effectively. Response to this event was so substantial that the venue had to be changed!
The next day I preached at Providence Chapel in the morning, then headed down to London for the evening service at Hackney Evangelical Reformed Church. It was an exhausting day. After a wonderful morning with the brethren at PC, we headed to the train station where me, Bridget, and our seven children (with all our bags... remember, we're headed to Zambia after this, so we've got EVERYTHING!) boarded a train as onlookers stared in horror.
The fine people of the ERC had booked us in the First Class cabin. Upon entering, the attendant looked at all of us and said (think of the most stereotypical British accent and demeanor), "This is the 'Quiet Cabin.'" I simply said, "Ok, and continued to move the troops forward, at which point she felt the need to be more direct, and less gracious, asking, "Do you have tickets for the 'Quiet Cabin'?" "Yes, we do," I replied. By now all the inhabitants of the Quiet Cabin were looking at us. One man, a distinguished older gentleman, appeared to start working on his strongly worded letter to the railway company complaining about the youthful hoard invading his space. The woman moved aside and we proceeded to our seats.
As we took our seats, the children, having overheard the conversation, began to say to one another, "Shhhh... this is the 'Quiet Cabin.' I voiced a quick prayer, "Lord, I know it's a small thing to you, but it would be AWESOME if we didn't have any meltdowns in the next hour and a half." The Lord was gracious and the children were spectacular! We were unable to sit together, so some of them had to sit across from some of the passengers who had earlier given them the, "how dare you!" glare. They colored, slept, ate snacks, and marveled at the sights. God was indeed gracious!
When we got off the train, I noticed it took Bridget a while to 'bring up the rear.' Later, she told me that virtually every passenger in that car stopped her and told her what a marvelous job the children had done, and how impressed they were... Even the guy who looked like he was about to file a formal complaint!
At this point, no less than a dozen young people from the church showed up to help us off the train and get us to our next destination.
The evening was spent at Hackney Evangelical Reformed Church. It's an old (by American standards) building built in typical 'turn-of-the-century' style. It was magnificent! The building was packed to the gills with eager, energetic, mostly young people (20 and 30-somethings) of various African and/or Caribbean descent.
After the service, there were refreshments in the fellowship hall where I spent a couple of hours meeting, greeting, taking pictures and answering questions. It was amazing! These young people (and the older ones) were such an encouragement! They love the Lord, are serious about their faith, are eager to learn, and passionate about the gospel. Many were there from the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Spurgeoun's old church, currently pastored by Peter Masters).
We talked about biblical manhood/womanhood, home education, marriage, cessationism, 1689 Federalism, current events, the move to Zambia, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to name just a few subjects. Eventually, I had to 'tap out' and cut it short, as they seemed to be ready to stay all night.
The event continues this evening, and I can't wait! If you're in the area, we'd love to have you. Bridget and the kids will be there tonight (which is always a treat), so come meet the crew. And if you know anyone in the London area, please, send them by. You can find details here. Also, please continue to pray!
Next stop... Northern Ireland!
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