Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pastors Tim and Bill's Trip to Belgium

The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

From 1/9-17 Pastor LeCroy had the wonderful opportunity to visit Belgium to be a part of our denomination's training for future foreign missionaries. This is a training that Pastor Bill takes part in once or twice a year, and is a part of his regular job description, but this was a first for Pastor Tim. The training is a month long and is held near the city of Brussels, Belgium. The idea is to get Americans who are headed to the mission field out of their own contexts to a world city where they will have to navigate a foreign culture and language, trains, buses, food, and life in general in a context that is not like the one they grew up in. In addition, they recieve intensive training on church planting, cultural engagement, language, practical aspects of mercy and justice ministry, among others.

Pastor Bill teaching the missionaries about church planting. Pastor Tim did help teach during this three day portion, but Bill dropped the ball and never took a photo...
 Bill and Tim helped train the missionaries about church planting for three days during the trip. Bill took the lead, but invited Tim to jump in and talk about various topics. All in all they talked to the missionaries about the gospel of the kingdom; having an ordered life of prayer, community, and accountability; the catholicity of the church and our need to be a part of the universal church of Christ, the center of the Church in missions; and the center of all life in the church: the Lord's Supper. Bill and Tim also participated in various training exercises intended to help train the new missionaries in cultural discernment.

On Thursday Andy Warren of Ethiopia's ACT ministry spoke on mercy and justice ministry. This is where Tim stopped being a teacher and put on his student hat to learn something valuable for our local ministry. It was a powerful set of talks and there was much that Tim plans on bringing back to our context in Columbia, MO.

Bill on a "pastoral visit" with his Irish friend, Allan.
Outside of the formal teaching and training there was a good amount of time to meet new colleagues and friends and to experience the beauty of faith, food, drink, and architecture in a completely different cultural context. Tim got a chance to meet many of Bill's colleagues and establish relationships with them. He was able to rub shoulders with folks, like the Warrens, who are doing wonderful ministries all over the world. Bill and Tim were also able to meet all kinds of people from all over the world from Ireland to Iceland and to the Congo. All in all it was a wonderful experience that helped to further shape Tim's vision for the world and to impact what life and ministry can be for our church here in Columbia, MO.

On Sunday, Tim preached a sermon that touched on many of these themes and told a few stories from the trip. You can download and listen to the sermon here: Ephesians 5:3-20 - A Vision for the World.

Here are some more pictures from the trip:

Brussels Sprouts in Brussels. Mind. Blown.

One of the sad facts of life in Western Europe: a 700 year old baptismal font turned into a bar table.

One of the most famous Brussels landmarks: a statue of a little boy peeing. Yeah, I don't get it either.

The central square in Brussels, called the Grand Place.

Art Nouveau just off the Grand Place.

The next few pictures are of the medieval town of Ghent.

St. Michael, slaying the dragon.

Beautiful canals in Ghent. This is the non-touristy version of Brugge.

Medieval burgher houses in Ghent.

The medieval fish market with the symbol of Neptune.

The medieval meat market (and next two pictures).

The house on the left portrays the Beatitudes, while the house on the right, the seven deadly sins.

Escargot is a typical street meat in Ghent. In the next two, Bill and Tim having a snail of a time.

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