25 May, 2015

More than 50 coffees

Two of the precious friends from "long ago".
A couple of people have asked recently how many churches we've visited this year in Australia. I've just gone through our records and the answer is 20. 14 of which are in south-east Queensland, Sunshine Coast or Toowoomba (which is probably south-east Queensland).

In addition to that we've been a part of more than 15 meetings of varying sizes and lengths (as speakers). Ranging from weekend conferences, to a play group, two schools, a nursing home and several prayer groups.

I haven't kept clear records of who we've met and when, but from what is recorded and my memory, we've had meals or "coffee" on at least 50 different occasions, with more than 50 family units (not including time with our own extended family). We send our prayer letter to more than 300 email addresses every month, so I guess we should be thankful that we've only had individual meetings with less than a third of that number.

Phew, no wonder we're feeling a little peopled-out!

A friend asked me yesterday who all these churches and people were, and how we came to be invited to all these places. 

Most of the churches are ones that we've built relationships with over the years, but especially that we connected with in the 2 ½ years we took to build our support base before we left for Japan in October 2000. Most have come about via personal connections, churches we've attended in the past, connections through OMF, or our denomination.

The individuals have mostly been personal friends who we've met across the years. Some are people I've known since childhood, others are newer friends that we've met along the journey. The friends we've had for a long time are very precious, because it isn't every friend who will put up with four or five year absences between meeting! Most are Christians, but I've also had the privilege of catching up with a few friends who aren't in those circles at all.

We've also spent time getting to know members of our new home church, at church events like weekly Bible studies, volunteering at Youth Group and Kids club as well as hosting BBQs at our house on a few Sundays.

Thought it's been fun, I'm ready to go back to my more private life in Japan. A life where we eat at our own table most nights, sleep in our beds except for holidays and a couple of conferences a year, and don't drink quite so much coffee.

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