Joe – on drugs for 20 years. Cries out to God. God answers and says “come to me and I will make you a good disciple”. He doesn’t know what a disciple is, but he comes and goes to church. He is now working in his old rehab centre, chairing a Narcotics Anonymous group, leading a Bible study / time of coming together as men and friends for men in a similar position to the one he has been in, and sharing his story (which, of course, has to involve God). A life transformed.
Donna – wanted christening for kids, for tradition’s sake. After christening, comes in distraught having lost phone. Asks Pod and Alison to pray for it to return. Gets a vision of Jesus with arms stretched, beckoning, but thinks it is spooky so ignores it. Goes home, puts kids to bed. While going upstairs to bed herself, feels a need to go to door, tries to ignore it but it won’t go, so goes. Phone on doormat. While lying awake in bed that night, she keeps getting visions of Jesus, always him saying “Come”. Eventually, she comes, and feels healed. She didn’t know that Jesus heals, and still struggles with words to describe what is going on spiritually but has truly met with our risen Lord.
Woman out of the window: “you are Pod, aren’t you? You’re from the church, aren’t you? You’re the ones who do good things? My husband is coming out of prison and i need to replace the doors.” So they pray, and Pod tries to do it in his own strength by contacting the housing association. It turns up a blank. A neighbour leaves 5 doors outside their house, to be chucked away, exactly the right number.
“You are Pod. You’re from the church, aren’t you? You’re the ones who do good things?” – loving in minute particulars, what a reputation to have in a community. What a foundation from which to proclaim the Word.
Discipleship: much time, face-to-face, small groups. Meet up, WhatsApp. Organic process. Discipleship starts before people come to Christ – about the direction, pointing to Christ regardless of where people are at, we are talking of the Way.
Washed in prayer – every time we met, prayer was at the centre, not just asking but also listening for what God had to say for that time, for words / pictures. When meeting as an Eden team, when chatting with the pastor of the partner church, before a party for the community last Monday. Refreshing and precious living water.
Clear that it is God leading them. Pod, called to the place, and now specifically to more one-on-ones with the men of the community. Andy, pastor of the partner church, with God guiding his business dealings: starting in business, going down to part-time to enter full-time ordained ministry, then moving to tent making for the Kingdom at God’s call through an agricultural feed business, with God asking him to move to Doncaster, eventually to move the business there, and now specifically asking him to put specific effort into to expanding it…
And a couple of lessons / facts worthy of remark from a church in Dagenham:
a) church meeting for lunch on Sunday, going out to knock on doors all afternoon in the estate, then reconvening for the service in the evening. A family spends time together. Zeal to spread the Word.
b) couple living in the annex, housing a Ghanaian homeless man as couldn’t do anything but when faced with a homeless brother in Christ
c) 2 Iranians come to Christ despite not knowing English or them Farsi. So Rob going out during the sermon to teach them the foundations of faith with Google Translate and Bibles in both languages
d) Things move slowly. It was a year and a half before anything started to take root. A year and a half with much graft and no fruit. But then people started to come to Christ