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Beginning of April 2002

Dear friends,

On the 3rd April I found myself privileged to be responsible for my 7 year old nephew Daniel for a day. He likes football, whereas I liked the prospect of a walk. We combined our ideals and we found ourselves walking about 5 miles kicking a football all along the way! Everyone was happy that way. My sister and niece joined us for the second day on which we walked and picnicked alongside the river Thames.

With less than two weeks to go before I leave again for Africa, I am spending as much time as possible with the church here in Andover. 6th April was the 'Africa evening' for which the same Janet and Yvonne who had visited me in Kenya in October last year cooked an excellent African(ish) meal for 50 people. This was followed by insights into the issues faced by African Christians and pointers for prayer.

Much of my time is taken in visiting members of Andover Baptist church. I consider myself extremely privileged to be invited into so many homes. Wherever I go I receive a warm welcome. Thanks to all those people who have gone out of their way to make me feel a part of the body of Christ in Andover.

'Murder mystery' is the title to the latest 'blue-moon' event organised by Andover Baptist Church. These are arranged periodically so as to present the Gospel of Christ to people in ways which have a minimum 'cringe factor' and are compatible with peoples leanings to secularism. 120 people attended this event on the 13th April. My job was washing dishes, but I gather from those who attended that it was a very valuable time.

Tomorrow, 15th April 2002, is to be the first of what will go on to be a monthly prayer meeting here in Andover specifically for my relationships and work in Africa. Other churches are encouraged to hold a similar monthly meeting.

A fellow passenger on the plane coming back from Germany shared with me how he was on one occasion 'embarrassed' to have been prayed for by a Christian in a public place. Secular-religion (the religion of secularism) has been so successful in achieving the hegemony over the minds of European people that an observable dependence on prayer causes embarrassment! I wonder how God feels when someone tells him that he did not become his follower because he found him an 'embarrassment'?