The year is 2008 and we are in Accra the capital of Ghana. In their large family home, Tina and Vivian Appiah are dancing to Jamaican music. Behind them is a huge portrait of their elder brother, Stephen Appiah, a professional footballer, who is now a millionaire five times over and Ghana's national captain.
Here follows an account of one of the most amazing ministries in the UK today. It is an outstanding example of what David Bosch calls holistic mission.
The Green Pastures charity was started by Pastor Pete Cunningham in 1999 in Southport. Pete cashed in his pension worth £6000 and bought a pair of flats and began to house and care for two homeless couples.
Come and find out about a local Leeds man who really cared about children, justice and mercy.
On the 30th September David Hanson will be telling the story of Richard Oaster. Oastler thought the best way to protect 19th century British children was to obtain a maximum ten hour day for factories. He argued:
Kingdom Structures are vital if the gospel is to thrive.
This story is very significant when we think about the kingdom of God and the Body of Christ. Neema Crafts is not a church! It is a redeemed business. Of course it is inspired and nurtured by Christian teaching, faith and wisdom but a business has a different calling from a local church. This redeemed kingdom structure was able to transform Hezron's life in a way that a local church cannot!
Next week I am off to Darwin in Australia where I will be delivering an academic paper on storytelling and a popular presentation entitled James Bond, Rat worship and Postmodernism: Subversive Questions for Christian Educators.
The conference is called Educating for Tough Times. There will be more than 1000 people attending.
Here is my take on how Bond would answer the five big faith questions. Bond is a great way to get young people thinking about faith.
This is another cracker of a story. It comes from the Neema Crafts project.
Hezron's Story: Weaving
Hezron was a proud and healthy young man in his mid twenties with everything to live for – a lovely wife, two beautiful children and another on the way at any moment, when the minibus taxi he was travelling in hit an oncoming car. All thirty people who were crammed into the vehicle died, except for Hezron and a new born baby, who had to be pulled from the bodies amongst the wreckage.
Neema Crafts was started in October 2003 by the Diocese of Ruaha. Its purpose is to provide handicrafts training and employment for deaf and physically disabled people in Iringa region, Tanzania, and also to change negative attitudes towards people with disabilities in the local community. Local employers are invited to see how skilled the workers at Neema Crafts quickly become when given the opportunity to fulfill their potential. The high quality of their work is changing the attitude of local people towards disabled people.
Imagine this scene from a recent courtroom trial in South Africa: A frail black woman stands slowly to her feet. She is about 70 years of age. Facing her from across the room are several white police officers, one of whom, Mr. van der Broek, has just been tried and found implicated in the murders of both the woman's son and her husband some years before.