London Travels

One of my greatest joys in life has always been to travel the world and take the gospel to the nations. Since an early age, my father, a pastor for nearly 40 years, made it a point to take our family to the nations. We would spend entire summers in Spain, learning the language, proclaiming the gospel, and planting churches. My most favorite memories as a child are not in the United States; they are in places like Spain, Mexico, the Czech republic, Slovakia (5 cent candy bars in 1992 people), Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Costa Rica. My desire is to do the same with my children one day (by God’s grace – which comes in the form of 6 grand just to fly anywhere ha).

Two weeks ago, deacon Chris Pergola and I had the opportunity to travel to London, England to be a part of the “Multiplying Churches” conference held by Acts 29, Europe. Our purpose was two-fold. We wanted to first continue seeing what Jesus and His gospel are doing in Europe right now. We also wanted to touch base with our partnering church planter in Salerno, Italy, Justin “Jutty” Valiquette, who was going to be in attendance (it’s a lot cheaper to get to London than to Italy). This was a killing-two-birds-with-one-stone type of trip. And really, we saw and did much more than anticipated. God was gracious to us.

Here are the highlights:

– We flew all night (red eye) and landed just in time to get on the tube (subway – the most culturally and nationally diverse mode of transportation I’ve ever experienced) and over to the conference for the start of it. If I’m going to be honest I don’t remember anything about that first day.

– 400+ people attended the conference; most of whom were Europeans either pastoring, planting, or desiring to plant churches all over Europe. I was blown away by the love for Jesus exhibited by these people.

– We connected with Jutty along with his American church planting side-kick Justin Gallow and 6 of their crazy-awesome Italian friends who are a part of the church in Salerno. One of the guys wasn’t even a believer, but he loves Jutty and the guys so much that he just thought it would be a cool experience (and yes, he tried to pick up on every female pub-worker he could). It was great to hear about all that God is doing in and through that young church plant in Salerno. It seems as though Jutty has made some incredible disciples; guys who will carry on the church planting torch for years to come in Italy.

– We met planters/hopeful planters from other places such as Wales, Paris, Scotland, and a host of other places. The gospel is spreading throughout Western Europe. Churches are being planted!

– I was able to connect with the lone Spain representative (who brought 4 guys with him). Hearing that there were 50 people represented from Italy at the conference and only 5 from Spain was a little bitter-sweet. Mostly, it was just heart-breaking. Italy and Spain were the two countries where the reformation did not make it’s way to hundreds of years ago; therefore, gospel advancement has seemed to be more pain-staking. Italy seems to have some gospel momentum right now, especially in the northern area. Spain, per usual, has very little.

– We were able to attend a church service in Westminster Abby. While very liturgical and non-gospel centered, I couldn’t help but think about year’s gone by when the gospel was heralded in that awesome cathedral.

– London is a great city. Chris and I spent time navigating through it. The pub life is fantastic and it promotes so much community. People really do know how to do life-on-life relationships there. Oh, and I really love Costa coffee. I couldn’t get enough of it. It puts Starbucks to shame 🙂

– Now I am praying what else Aletheia Church can do to help spread the gospel in Europe, specifically in Spain. My heart is burdened for the Spaniards.

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