December 2023 Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Christmas Party
We have been so happy to keep in contact with a family we baptized in Greece quite some years ago, who are now settled in Sweden. At an online meeting with them, we were delighted to baptize their relative MEHRDAD.
Since being baptized recently, sister Luisa has reached out to various contacts she has who also quit the Catholic church and are searching for real Bible-based Christianity. One such person is RENATO , an Italian chef working in a hotel in Switzerland on the beautiful Lake Maggiore, but on the Swiss side- which is largely Italian speaking. So it was with real joy once again that thanks to cheap flights on Wizz Air, we were able to go and meet him and baptize him, with Luisa in Italy online helping out translating for us as we live streamed it on Zoom. We marvel at the spread of God's truth and how so many people are searching for it, and all say that intuitively and subconsciously, this was what they had believed or suspected to be true, all along in their lives. Afterwards Renato couldn't resist entertaining us with "a quick breakfast", but as ever it's the fellowship and the sure hope of life eternal which is the only important thing. You can see the
video at https://youtu.be/rD1Zv_uZA5A
sister Luisa translates everything to Italian so it's a bit long, but you may like to share it with any Italian speaking contacts you have.
All eyes on Luisa on the Zoom screen for the translation:
The baptism, watched by others on Zoom and translated by Luisa:
But if you baptize an Italian hotel chef and he whips up a quick breakfast... this is what you get [he has Italian Bible Basics in his hand, which he's very pleased with]:
With the departure of brethren to Australia, running the group in Denizli has been taken up by sister Nasrin. She feels very inadequate for the job, but our inadequacy is always our adequacy. She bravely arranged the baptisms of ARTIN, SAKINEH, ADINEH and MOHSEN, and a number of us were able to be present by Zoom, including sister Luisa in Italy and our newly baptized brother Renato in Switzerland, along with others from Australia and Africa. Well done to sister Nasrin for arranging all this in a Muslim country, in a swimming pool we hired for the event:
Afterwards sister Nasrin commented: "May Jesus Christ help me to always serve faithfully in his way". Amen to that.
Another good week at Lunchtime Church / Soup Kitchen church, good to see some new faces this week. Talks continued going through Acts:
The faithful believers aren't pious religious types, Paul wasn't,
Acts 23 https://youtu.be/PlHtSYCLJ3A
Felix trembled, sermon on the power of the Gospel,
Acts 24 https://youtu.be/V-Bi4Vo68Oo
Paul, the man with a one track mind on Jesus Christ despite his human weaknesses,
Acts 25 https://youtu.be/TLjNI92buQE
Sorry for the background noise of babies crying, but we welcome young mums with their kids and so this goes with the territory.
And then after church on Wednesday it was great to have folks back home for the baptisms of ANDREA, originally from the Czech Republic and with no Christian background; and LAMMY originally from Mauritius, who had lived 11 years in Israel when younger. Here you can see folks with "Bible Basics" in their native languages- Andrea in Czech, Lammy in French, and Mohammadreza in Farsi. We truly and genuinely praise the Lord for His continued outreach to all these good folks in south London. As a matter of interest, the heavily used photo on the cover of the old "Bible Basics" is a sunset over Croydon Airport [now disused but a WW2 RAF base], taken in 1990 by Croydon resident brother Clive Rivers of the Clapham Fellowship [a relative of Duncan's]. When we first used it on the front cover of Bible Basics in 1992 we had no idea the book would be published in nearly 70 languages, and be used 30 years later to teach the Truth to people of all nationalities- in Croydon. Such is God's providence by grace.
Our ever growing community in South London includes many who are homeless, sleeping in tents and doorways, and many who have been housed in hotels as the pressure on property in London is so acute. The local authorities don't have the housing, and so they are just taking over hotels in which to house those they have a duty to house. And there are many others who come from totally different backgrounds. But for so many, rich or poor, Christmas is such a hard time- memories of past Christmases, lost relationships with loved ones etc. So we thought we'd do an alcohol free Christmas party for them all, at our usual venue, this Wednesday 13 December from 5 -8 PM, God willing. All are welcome. But the cost of running our activities is getting really heavy to bear. So Shay and Leah went out on social media and Facebook to appeal for the food and drinks, and for presents- rucksacks full of useful things for the rough sleepers, prizes for the Bible Bingo games we plan etc.
The response from folks in the Croydon area has been amazing. There are times when one is so pleasantly surprised by others' generosity and your faith in humanity gets restored a bit, despite living in a world where cruelty and nastiness seem at times to be so dominant. Just have a listen to the video we made showing the donations
If you listen to this video right through, you'll see the masses of stuff that got donated. And even Waitrose promising to provide a grazing table full of quality goodies.... God bless Waitrose. We're so grateful to the Lord for touching hearts to enable what looks like being the greatest Christmas party for the homeless... may it be another great witness to His grace.
- For those recently baptized
- For our alcohol free Christmas party outreach
- For sister Luisa's outreach to Italian speaking ex-Catholics
- For our persecuted Iranian brethren both in Iran and in their perilous lives in Europe and Turkey
With love from your brothers and sisters of Carelinks