Day 1 / Nowruz Mubarak!
Happy Persian New Year!
What better way to begin our mission than with a celebration of renewal?
We began our day joining the local church at Auburn Anglican in worship. Immediately, we saw something of the vibrancy and diversity they enjoy weekly. Parked near the front door was a three-storied trolley, decked with Bibles in 18 different languages. As the senior minister Tim Cocks began the service, he put himself on the hot-seat, trying to guess all of the different nationalities represented across the room. We were greatly encouraged; even he needed some help.
During that time, the team had our first opportunities to contribute. The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) featured twice, with Kevin preaching on how we can make good investments in our life, and Rhys teaching the children about a man with a full piggybank who lost it all. Carol shared her testimony, including her experience walking with God through illness.
We took the opportunity to get to know our brothers and sisters better over family lunch, which was followed up with an excursion into town to sample the local Turkish coffee.
Our first trip over the M4 followed soon after, to visit the three-year old church plant in Newington. Jamie preached on God’s gift of life from Romans 8:1-4, and cautioned against placing false hope in ourselves, with or without the law. Ed shared his experiences feeling trapped in reliance upon his own moral efforts instead of accepting God’s gift of righteousness. The primary age kids were taught by Sam and Simon how to be 100% confident that we can be friends with God, before joining Alex and Perla at the kids’ club.
The day finished with a trip to visit the Easy English Bible Church, where we were at once caught up in the celebration of Persian New Year. The night unfolded with food, prayers, famous poems, and an explanation of some of the seven essential items traditionally displayed for the holiday. The story of the Prodigal Son, drawn across a whiteboard, was echoed with the hum of a community translating for one another.
You can give thanks for a memorable first day. The whole team is grateful for the wonderful welcome that we’ve received, and we feel privileged to share in such an exciting ministry. Given thanks that everyone who served today boldly called people to place their trust in God. Pray with hope for the gospel work that is to come, for in the words of the Persian poet Rumi, “through Love the dead come alive!”