Sunday, 31 July 2011

Greasy in DC

It is 40 degrees C in Washington DC. This is what it's like before it gets hot!

It's nice but but you need to act like this lion! Chill....
We went to the National Zoo which is just down the road from where we're staying. It was good, but we got fried!!!!

Here at Church of the Saviour is a very different experience so far. Very sadly, a key member of the leadership team died suddenly from a cycling accident the day before we arrived . This has obviously been a big shock for the people we're staying with. It also means, unsuprisingly, it's taking us longer to fit in.

As far as we can make out Church of the Saviour is made up of a number of extremely dedicated and loving communities all with a slightly different emphasis.

Here is the Potter's House, a great book store for 'dissident' discipleship and very tasty cafe (or rather, the food is tasty). We worshiped here today with the Eighth Day fellowship ( It was very enriching - they've developed some good litergies.

Opposite there's Christ House, a free hospital (that's a BIG deal in the US) for those coming off the streets. Next to our house is Jubilee House which has regenerated loads of appartments in order to house people and also helps find long-term unemployed people jobs.

There's also Joseph's House which is a Hospice for HIV sufferers. There are many intern programs and discipleship programs too.

Anyway, we're starting to meet people and we'll see how it goes.

By the way, being in the capital is interesting at the moment... apparently there's a game of chicken going on...
something to do with money...

We plan to go down to the White House tomorrow and sort it out.

Should get some photos then.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

We saw bears!!!!!!

Look! Bears!!!! On the side of the road!  
Now we have your attention, they're not real. We thought they were when Isaac spotted them while we were driving to Tom and Carolyn's cottage in the woods.

Anyway, a good friend of ours from home gave us a prophetic word about this trip. He felt God was saying,
'Agenda-shmenda! This trip will be like a roller-coaster with Jesus, just hold on and enjoy the ride!'.
I pray we can live all our lives like that.

We've just arrived in Washington DC and here's the place we're staying - Andrews House. It's the hospitality house of Church of the Saviour. This is a 'co-operative' of faith communities which has evolved from an original mother church.

We were very sad to say goodbye to Rose, Tom and Carolyn in Allentown we loved....
playing fun games...

posing for photos with Sophie (that's Noah's dog in the middle)...

...staying at the Albright's cottage by a lake...
...boating (Var thought he saw an Anaconda in there but it's unlikely)...

...seeing cool lorries (trucks)...
...visiting Jim Thorpe (that's a town with nose-high railings)...

...going on an old train...

... looking cute (ish)

... well, very cute...

...weird ticket inspectors though!!!

...playing badmington...
... and waiting for Var to barbaque the steaks.

Finally, we met our friends, Gay and Rich from Souderton (Philadelphia) again and they drove us down here to Washington!!! It was so great to catch up with them again and they really blessed us by getting us here (it would have been pretty strenuous on public tarnsport!!!).

So we'll see what happens here now.
But to all our friends and family, old and new...

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Freedom is coming!

This is Tom and Carolyn Albright in front of Zume House with the boys.
Tomorrow we go to stay in Tom and Carolyn's cabin for a couple of days. We're looking forward to a ride on a private train and using their very own paddle boat!!!

This evening we were with Ripple church in the park. We did gardening (Var trimmed the hedges - a new calling perhaps!) and the boys helped give out home-made lemonade to passers-by (they were really good at it, chasing people down the street with paper cups!!!). Em got everyone singing (yet another choir!!!) and Var led a discussion on freedom.

Today Isaac's first front tooth came out.
Noah spent some of his birthday money on a state-of -the-art whoopie cushion and....
water bombs!!!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Family Tree

On Sunday Em and Var led worship with Pastor Rose at Whitehall Mennonite Church. We enjoyed being a team preparing together and giving greetings from St. Marks. The theme was the Prodigal son and we talked about being like our Father who offends people with his grace.

Rose has her brother and sister-in-law, John and Marilyn, visiting. They are mennonite church planters and it has been so interesting and encouraging spending time with them too. They have been inspired by 'Christ the Saviour' in Washington (where we're going next week) and one of their daughters is in the 'Reba Place' community in Chicago (where we're going in two weeks).

We also accidently found our family tree in a park last night!!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Impressions of Allentown

In need of TLC, Allentown has an official rating of 76% school age children below the poverty line.
This makes it exactly the sort of place for the church to be! Here are some brief impressions:

Patriotic squirrels (he's on the tree on the left!)

Patriotic benches...

Pastor Rose has a great gift in showing love and mercy to this city. Here she is also showing love and mercy to Var as he climbs through her third floor window (not for fun - we got locked out of the boys room!!!)

Certain parts of the city are finding it tough.

Confusing... 'Welcome and keep out'

The Spirit can break your chains.... but don't hang around...

A local mosque.... and opposite ......

A T-shirt shop....

These impressions are obviously not the whole picture but they are some of our impressions. It's the kind of place Jesus likes to come to!

See ya!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Fire Brigade to the rescue!

Well here's a great way to cool down in the 40 degree heat!

We just had to join in!

Thank you Mr Fireman!

Down on the Farm!

We spent the day down on a farm with these giant goats!!!

The farm belongs to a couple called Urbane and Janet - really great people who belong to Whitehall church and support the Ripple church plant in Allentown.
This is us with them. They have hundreds of school children visit their farm every year for tours, they look after asylum seekers, young offenders and produce very yummie food!!!! We had lots of fun.

We travelled in a car with a Raccoon.

It didn't hang around for long when we got to the river!!! (Urbane was relocating it as Raccoon was getting too interested in his chickens!)

We played Rummikub while not being 'mad dogs and Englishmen' as the sun was 38 in the shade.

Went trekking around the property. Fed goats.

Found out where eggs come from.... mmmmm

Fed the donkey!

Caught fish! Honestly... you should have seen the one that got away!!!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yeast and Ripples

We've been based at Zume (Zoo-May) House for a few days. 'Zume' is Greek for 'yeast' and the vision for this community is based on Luke 13:21 ('the kingdom is like yeast working through dough'). Guess what? The address is 1321  (Luke 13:21).

We're staying with Pastor Rose who bought the house in faith and has done an amazing job of turning it from a run-down mess to a great place to live in 12 months.

We are involved with her church's chuldren's club this week - in a place called Whitehall. The boys are loving it and making lots of friends. Em will be leading worship on Sunday and Var will be preaching there.

There is another very exciting Christian community called 'Ripple' which runs the Food Bank (see previous entry) which meets in a local park during the summer. This is some who gathered on Tuesday (below).

There was a table filled with pictures and we were asked to chose one that appealed to us. One picture was of the beautiful people of St. Mark's (but no-one knew I had brought it or what it was). A man called John chose the picture of St. Mark's and said he liked it because everyone looked so happy and it reminded him of Ripple!

It's hot but the boys are active as ever.

We're spending the day on a farm today!!!!
See ya soon