The Thomas family is settling in after having spent almost two weeks on the road. New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Miami, Baltimore, and back home to Philadelphia. Though it sounds exhausting, it was the exact opposite. Shainu and I returned refreshed, renewed, and ready to put our hands to the plow again for gospel work.
Chicago & Living Hope Church
I was given the opportunity to preach at a retreat for Living Hope Church. Living Hope, located on the west side of Chicago, has a great story that runs parallel at some places with our own. Pastor Robin Koshy was hired to lead the English ministry of an immigrant Taiwanese church. When he took the position six years ago, there were about a dozen people, most of whom were second generation Taiwanese. Now, it has grown to nearly a hundred adults, the majority of whom are second generation Indians. Like Seven Mile Road, Living Hope is aspiring towards healthy multiethnic ministry that is centered on gospel, community, and mission. I got to speak five times, and perhaps the most helpful things I shared were stories about Seven Mile Road. There’s so much about Living Hope that reminds me of Seven Mile Road and so much about Seven Mile Road that reminded them about Living Hope. All in all, even with a three hour drive to the retreat site in the boonies of Wisconsin, it was a joy to be with them, and I’m eager to see what the Lord has in store for our churches.
Miami & Acts 29
We flew back from Chicago, landed in JFK, handed off the kids to family, and boarded another flight for Miami. June was a busy month, and in my head I kept telling myself, “Just get to June 30 and you’ll be sitting on a plane with Shainu headed for Miami!” We spent four days at the Acts 29 Lead Pastors Retreat with hundreds of A29 church planters and their wives from around the globe. A29 is now on six continents. There were over 500 folks in the room and that number could double in the next two years. The network is growing. It’s filled with godly, gifted folks who love the gospel, love church planting, and love one another. We left thankful to be a part of the network, thankful to reconnect with friends, and thankful to the Lord for rest. And Miami wasn’t bad either.
Bookending our trip on the front and back were great times with family. It’s good to be back. Refreshed. Renewed. Ready.