September Letter from Mat

Firstly, thank you to all of you who prayed for us on our holiday. It was fantastic and very refreshing. I’ll try not to mention it too much in sermons in the coming months. However since I’ve only been back a week I couldn’t resist mentioning it now.

We were treated to the holiday of a lifetime in Kenya, safari, beach, great hotels and plenty of good food. We have nearly 900 photos between us so beware of asking to see them! It was my first trip to Africa and it was wonderful; amazing to see, and get close to, animals in their natural habitat and to share a little in the African culture.

In the midst of the incredible experience it was also evident, as we drove through Nairobi and Mombasa and read the local paper that all was not well in the country. There is a serious drought, corruption and poverty that I have never seen before. And Kenya is one of the ‘richer’ countries in Africa. As well as a sense of compassion this made me thankful not only for the holiday but also for the wealth, political stability and rain (yes rain) that we enjoy in the UK. We are so rich in so many ways, and I often take that for granted.

On the 27th of September we will celebrate Harvest. This is a time of thanksgiving for all that we have, and an opportunity to give food for the work of the Community of the Sisters of the Church amongst our own poor in Bristol. As we prepare to give to that work in thanks, can I encourage each of us to prayerfully explore whether we should also give a gift to an Aid Agency working overseas in the developing world. There are plenty to choose from. Giving to the poor in thankful response to God is part of our Christian discipleship.

In Colossians 3Open Link in New Window there is a tiny clause in the midst of a section written to the church about the new life in Christ. In 3:15 Paul urges the church “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. And be thankful.” Whether life is good or challenging for us at the moment we have much to be thankful for.


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