The idea of spending a few days together over the Easter weekend started some months ago. The thought would come up in conversation from time to time. So, initially, we made plans to all go away and spend a weekend together in two large houses within the New Forest. However, through a set of circumstances this plan did not materialise. I am always amazed at the wisdom of God in providing a better way, a more purposeful and redemptive route to fulfil his purposes!
We had invited Silvio and Dominique Viotti to stay with us. We were also fortunate to have them bring their daughter Emeline with them. They travelled across from Vallorbe in Switzerland to be amongst us for this weekend. Our dear friend Sarah drove up from Exeter in Devon to be with us for most of the weekend as did friends Crosbie and Wilma.
Well, as you will imagine for those of you who know us it was a time of laughter, encouragement, listening and savouring the enjoyment of just being together. Friends can be together in stillness and not feel awkward! Friends can laugh together and enjoy the wonder of God’s goodness and the hearty inspiration of being who we were meant to be!
I am sure you have been to a gathering or weekend away that has been so organised that it has squeezed the life out of people. We felt that these few days together would be relaxed and unorganised apart from the necessary. Again, God has a wonderful way of being the best arranger of times and seasons together. Our first evening was spent around the meal (an Italian Pasta) which was cooked by none either than chef Viotti. Some folk were invited elsewhere to share a meal with Dave and Liz and others went to Tim and Tarryn. There is really something quite special about gathering in homes. We are so grateful to those who opened their homes and their lives over this weekend.
“Looking back, it has been a wonderful weekend with much blessing and shared experiences that, certainly we, and I am sure others too, have greatly benefited from – Father has been so graciously kind to us all. ” – J and M
IT WAS HELPFUL
Some comments made during our time together were very encouraging and certainly could be the trade mark amongst believers. “It was nice that people wanted to listen to me. They showed an interest in what I had to say!” How significant that comment is within a society that does not listen to other people. Others expressed desires and challenges in their own lives around the table, over a meal, so we prayed together! We heard friends encouraging and strengthening one another. That is just what the early Church did and each one of us needs to be encouraged to do – daily! If we can find ways to give courage to others let us do so!
WE ALL FACE CHALLENGES
I was aware that every person with us faced some kind of challenge in their own lives. In spite of this we are encouraged to give our lives away and trust Jesus to open a way for us personally. I love watching the Lord at work. His ways are much better than ours, every time. Our weekend together was an experience, a conversation, a time of refreshing and a reminder that He is building His Church, in His way. The weekend has come and gone but to sum it up a dear brother made this statement.
The hour was late and his wife said, “Shouldn’t we be going now?” To which he replied, “I like being here!”
We all like being here – together. In the future we hope there will be other opportunities to be together with purpose. When we are in the centre of God’s will and purpose it’s a great place to be. Don’t be in a hurry to leave. Remember, He likes being here with us too!
[GALLERY OF PHOTOS ABOVE]