I’m excited, the time has finally arrived to travel on mission once more, after two years working at home via Zoom! I’m a bit nervous but looking forward to it so much! There’s nothing quite like travelling to new places and working with new Christian friends. And the next couple of months look pretty busy for me with two trips planned, one in April followed almost immediately by one in May. They could hardly be more different in character either. Funnily enough, here’s what I read in my devotional this morning: “Are you facing any new opportunities right now? Whatever those opportunities are, it’s always important to follow the anointing of the Holy Spirit”. Pretty timely, I’d say!
What came to mind when I read those words was to recall some of the things I’ve learned about mission over the years. Here’s a few: Go in a spirit of humility. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Be aware that you are there to listen to other people’s stories as much as to speak yourself. Mission is always about receiving as well as giving; it’s always a two way street.
So will you pray for me please? I need those prayers. Thank You!
‘Healing Hearts and Transforming Nations’ in the U.S.A. – April 22nd – May 7th
This coming Friday I am off to Los Angeles, California to join an international leadership team, as we seek to bring the HHTN workshop to the U.S.A. for the very first time. The programme involves several 5 day HHTN workshops running one after the other, largely based in Christian conference centres in different parts of the country. The first will be in LA, from April 24th – 28th , the 2nd is at Sandy Cove Ministries Centre near Baltimore, from May 1st – 5th. Then I will be flying home, while the rest of the team travel on to Michigan for a further conference. Many on the team like Joseph Nyamutera, George de Vuyst, Szabina Sztojka, are highly experienced HHTN leaders who have perhaps even first nation folks as well. Taking people on a journey that confronts their woundedness and brings them to the cross of Christ is never easy. For them to be willing to make such a journey we have to win their trust at an early stage, and also their hearts have to be softened to be able to receive the Bible teachings that prepare the mind also. My role on the team will be to lead worship and use music to facilitate that process. Sometimes anointed music can break down barriers that nothing else can. Please pray especially for this, as well as the logistical aspects, that all the planning goes smoothly. And do pray also that the team continues to see success when they go on to Michigan after I have left for home.
New songs of forgiveness and hope for Ethiopia – May 11th – May 26th
I have introduced you already to my Ethiopian friend and brother Desalegn Kebede, who I have been talking to and zooming with for some time now. In fact, I may have used this photo before of his family, except that it is now a little out of date as his wife gave birth recently to another baby boy!
Now it is time for me to go there and support the new songwriting that needs to happen, that we hope can inspire prayer, unity, forgiveness and healing among believers across the nation. So I am off to Addis Ababa on May 11th and then we go straight to Bahir Dar for a 2 day pastors conference, which is a one hour flight north. Bahir Dar is on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. It is a beautiful place; also an important place for the Amhara tribe, who have been accustomed to being treated as pre-eminent within the nation in the past. That is actually stirring me right now, as we need to reach out to them in the right spirit. For the past 18 months, Desalegn and his team have seen an amazing outpouring of the Spirit as they have taken the HHTN programme around the nation. Churches have been clamouring for them to come, attendance at the workshops have been overflowing, and many have seen their lives transformed. It is a wonderful story; truly a special outpouring of the Spirit of God. But now the songs need to come to take it wider, and that means we must reach out to all parts of the Body of Christ in the nation, including the Orthodox. Please pray especially that we can reach a wide range of church groups! The orthodox church culture is very different from my own background, yet we know there are many true disciples within it who love God deeply. We need to win their trust somehow and include their contributions. In fact the whole agenda is very free-flowing; we will need to be led by the Spirit and be completely dependant on God to help us meet the ‘right’ singers and musicians who can be at the heart of this initiative as it develops.
Locally, I am continuing to lead worship at Malmesbury Abbey and am happy to say that our new monthly worship event ‘Sanctuary’ has been going well. It’s always great to be able to bring musicians and singers together from different backgrounds, and we were able to do that last time to great effect. The Easter break was special for Jean and I, as we were able to go on a skiing holiday to France with the whole family together; Joel & Emily, Nathan & Billie, plus our lovely grandchildren Faith & Tess! The weather was great, plus we were able to meet up one afternoon with friends Graham and Gill Knott which was special! From April, Jean’s job is changing; she is planning to do 3 days a week at St Rose’s from now on, so that is quite a change.
Thanks so much for all your amazing support and prayers! Do stay safe and take care.
Love and blessings, Dave & Jean
With special thanks to The Crossroads Trust.
The Crossroads Trust is a Registered Charitable Trust, set up in 1987 with the following aims: to assist in the encouragement of missionary activity designed to foster the spread of the Christian faith; to promote better education between and within diverse cultural settings, and to provide relief for the poor and needy in society. Since 2005, the Trust has focussed solely on supporting the reconciliation ministry of Dave Bankhead and ‘We are One!’ Trustees include; Mike Burn (Chairman) and Simon Shaw. Registered Charitable Trust No: XN74834