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18th February 2015
Two of our leadership team recently had the privilege of spending a week with our good friend Praveen Darole at his church in India.
Paul and Aled spent a week in January with members of Life Church (formerly known as JVK) in Mumbai, seeing how the church operates and teaching the leaders in different areas of church life. (Pictures below taken by Aled.)
After arriving and settling in on the Saturday (which included washing with a bucket of cold water!) they spent the Sunday at Life Church. The church has a Hindi congregation of around 200 meeting regularly in a schoolyard in Mumbai, and is led by Praveen, who visited us here at King's in August. Indian dress was a part of the day and, after a warm welcome, Paul preached in the morning. He said, "We strengthened our friendship with Praveen, and also got to meet more people from the church. They're at a really exciting and formative time and they're looking to plant an English congregation on the same site."
After the meeting, Paul and Aled travelled to a leader's weekend away called Builder's Camp, where several church leaders ("a great bunch of leaders", to quote Paul) from across the area met together for a few days. As with our recent conference in Hastings, this was an opportunity for many to experience God's Father-heart, and also to learn more about the future of the church.
They travelled back from the camp on Tuesday, and on the way they had a chance to play cricket with locals on the beach!
On the Wednesday, they visited a children's day-care centre run by the church in a slum in Kendra. This centre has been supported by children from our own NRG and N:gage groups, who have generously sent over £1,000 to support them.
Aled said, "Although resources are limited in the slums, the work that the day-care centres were carrying out was brilliant. There were plenty of opportunities to build links with non-Christian families, and the church has been carrying out some really important work."
Aled visited three slums during his visit, explaining: "There's huge wealth in small pockets, but there's poverty everywhere." He added that even the more organised slums were surrounded by rubbish, and elsewhere people were literally living on the side of the road, but "through so much poverty there was so much joy – we don't realise how blessed we are".
Later in the week Paul and Aled visited a children's centre in a church in Kalyan, which was over an hour's train journey away. Aled also spent some time teaching the worship teams, and although there was a power-cut one evening, it wasn't enough to stop them worshipping! They even knew one of the songs from the King's Church debut album Found in You.
From experiencing chaotic traffic to equipping leaders in how to manage growth for the next stages of the church, the trip was an exciting experience. Aled said, "Everyone was so hungry for God. There was so much genuine contentment and joy."
We're blessed to be part of an international family of churches and to have such deepening friendships with people in other parts of the world. Paul summed up by saying: "I'm really excited about where our friendship with them will go in the future. I think it wasn't just a one-off trip for us; we want to continue to stand with them, support them, partner with them as they look to achieve things in India, and it's just a real privilege to get to know them better and enjoy friendship with them.
"It felt really fruitful and we're looking forward to seeing how that friendship will continue to develop over the next few years."
Posted by Sian Francis-Cox