In the longest prayer that is recorded in the New Testament (John 17), shortly before His trial and crucifixion, Jesus prays to His heavenly Father, for Himself, for His disciples and for future disciples. At this point in His ministry, what does He ask God for specifically?
In one section, He prays for us – for we are those future disciples. He prays for our generation and indeed every generation of Christians that we may be one; united in His love. “By this”, He had said earlier, “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sometimes we experience this as when we feel a bond with Christians from another country and culture, and sometimes, when, as happens in Bicester, Christians from different denominations work happily together in a local setting. Often it is our experience as we worship together at ECB. I have sometimes felt very “at home” being a part of Christian worship thousands of miles from home. Soon we have an opportunity to welcome those from a great distance who will be coming to our church for a weekend.
Emmanuel Church Bicester has strengthening links with Marcelo (pronounced Mar-sello – and not “cello” as in an orchestra) and his wife, Silvana. ECB has been contributing to the support of Marcelo and Silvana Vargas in Bolivia for about five years, and they have visited us several times.
They set up a training centre in La Paz (Centro De Capacitacion Misionera) to train Christians from all over Bolivia to do mission in their home communities, some Spanish speaking, some Aymaraspeaking, and some Quechuaspeaking.
Debbie and I have been privileged to know Marcelo and Silvana for about 30 years. During that time God has done remarkable things in Bolivia where Evangelicals have risen from very few to about 15% of the entire population, thanks to the faithfulness of many Christians, including some taught at the training centre and some through classes given in cities across Bolivia. So, in just five weeks’ time, on Saturday and Sunday 16th and 17th June, we are privileged to welcome both Marcelo and Silvana. Please take the time to meet them, to be encouraged by them, and in turn to encourage them in all they are doing in the service of Jesus who prayed that we might all be one.