SERVEurope Catalyst Team | Navigating Complexity. Envisioning Kingdom Opportunities. Maximizing Gospel Impact.
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Europe Conference 2017 theme
In recent updates we’ve shared stories from our SERVEurope Catalyst Team of God at work in Europe. But, as most of you know, we don’t live in Europe; home for us sits on ten acres in central Virginia. We’re practically “off-the-grid” in a place affectionately known to the locals as “the Mill Pond.” If you’re wondering how this fits in with our mission (or whether we just have a really long commute!), you’re not alone. Our friends at The Good Story published their impressions of The Mill a while back; we think you’d like it - if you missed it the first time, you can read it here. But we’d like to go a little deeper with you…
We’d like to share a few stories over the next three weeks that reflect not just the place we’re living, but the HEART that underlies both it and our mission to strengthen the church by identifying opportunities to experience Christ’s presence in service at “the margins.” Central Virginia and central Europe might seem worlds apart. But there is a common heartbeat that underlies all of it, rooted in gospel ministry.

We’ll try to show, not just tell about, what makes it real for us: living in community where God places or sends us, introducing others into the experience of shared life centered on Jesus. Whether it’s "good church folk," wanderers on life’s way just passing through, or people needing wholeness (and the time and place to find it) we find a way to help people belong.
Our desire is to see The Mill Pond be a place where people encounter the redemptive presence of Jesus and connect in practical ways to God’s global mission. We are still laboring beyond our capacities to get the place beaten into shape (come on down and help!) but we are already seeing pieces of the vision coming to life.

One young, recently married couple came down to visit us from a city a few hours away. She’d completed an internship in Africa with a Christian organization, helping them with HIV assessments, and she had impressed everyone with her skill and heart. They were wondering about next steps, possibilities. So they came down for several days to reflect, talk, pray, maybe get a little coaching.
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“What are you most passionate about?” As we walked the gravel road along Wreck Island Creek, this young man shared enthusiastically about his desire to “work for the global unity of the church.” Our kind of guy!

Sitting on the porch, we heard from a young woman who’d always felt called to be a missionary, she’d known it since she was six. But this past year, that vision seemed shattered. A degenerative eye condition, it seems, will leave her totally blind within a year. As we sat on our porch, listening to the water flow by, she shared, “I’ve agonized for months about letting this dream die.”

It's our prayer that folks who spend time here might start to see things elsewhere a bit differently. As our conversation progressed into the twilight, our friend muses, “I’m convinced that people with disabilities are actually the world’s biggest “unreached people group.” Maybe this is the means God will use to bring them into the family of God.”

As months go by, we hear from them. Back in their home city, they’re involved now in a network of churches that desire to be fully accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities… including a few pastors who are leaving their established ministries to plant “universally accessible churches.”

At The Mill Pond, we offer a redemptive presence and a special, even sacred, space to encounter God anew, to get a fresh sense on what He’s doing in and around the world.

For each of the next few Mondays, we’ll share a story of how the heart of The Mill Pond works (and loves and plays) out in real life. Come on along…

In Christ,
Jim and Liz
Please pray with us for our financial support. Can we ask you to share this update with someone who might be interested in becoming a stakeholder in this work?
Photos by Ryan Portnoy, The Good Story
Copyright © 2017 EFCA/ReachGlobal - Marginal Mission Network, All rights reserved.

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