There have been times during our deputation work when the Lord has taken our schedule out of our hands and given us something unplanned, just to remind us that He is the one driving everything, and that this mission is not being accomplished on our own steam.
That’s what happened during our trip to Tinley Park, IL. We had an invitation to visit St. Andrew’s Anglican Church (Rev. Frank Levi, rector). On the way to Illinois, we received a call from Fr. Levi telling us that we should expect to visit All Saints Anglican as well. This is the REC’s Nigerian immigrant mission parish. We had not spoken with them, nor sent them any materials, but it was plain that their Vicar, Rev. Shola Falodun, was part of God’s plan to bless us this weekend.
Worship at St. Andrew’s was a delight, and we enjoyed lunch with the Levis and their daughter Beth’s family. Here’s Matt and Fr. Levi looking sober in cassocks and surplices:
After lunch, we headed over to All Saints. The congregation meets in a chapel inside a Catholic high school, normally on Sunday morning. for this Sunday, they had had to change the time of their service to the afternoon because the school needed the chapel in the morning. Thus God brought it about that we could attend All Saints as well as St. Andrew’s. And we were glad we did!
Fr. Falodun gussied me up in a bright purple chasuble (No transsubstantiationism implied in this circumstance), and proceeded to preach a sermon on John 12:21, “Sir, we want to see Jesus”, on the necessity of loving in deeds and not in words only. The most memorable part was when he turned to me personally, as I sat there on the bema, pointed and commanded sternly, “You are going as a missionary. You must show them Jesus.” He said this to me some four or five times. It was just what we needed to hear, and we will never forget it. We will put this picture, with the words, “Show them Jesus” on the wall of our house in Davao:
Fr. Falodun was celebrating his wedding anniversary and we enjoyed a feast of Nigerian food (Sora was looking up recipes for jollof rice on her phone the drive home!) and more words of encouragement from other members of the congregation. Many were graduates of schools started by missionaries and had a keen sense of the impact that missionary work had had on their own lives and families.
Thank you, Fr. Levi and Fr. Falodun, for making this one of our most memorable visits!