‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’ Matt. 9:37-38
Spring is officially here; we have waited so long for it to come. The birds are singing, flowers and trees arebud and Obi wan Kenobi is keen to take his walks again. 2020 started with us relocating from Uppsala to Åkersberga where Emmaus Church is. Åkersberga, which is 30km north east from Stockholm centre and 70km from Uppsala, is the place we have been praying (together with you) for a long time to be able to move to. We finally got a two-bedroom rental that has everything we need and a good-size storage in the building, so we feel truly blessed.
Åkersberga municipality has more than 45,000 inhabitants and is predicted to grow to 70,000 in the next 20 years. The population will almost double in this time and a lot of new construction will be done. Åkersberga centre will be extended and rebuilt (the vision is to become a small city rather than just a suburb) with a new train/bus station, a new double-track railway with new faster trains and a lot of new houses and apartments. But also many more people and we are hoping that this will open up many opportunities to grow the church.
We recently had a couple coming to our church that moved to Åkersberga a couple of years ago and were looking for a church but could not find a bible-believing church to attend. A member of our church met them at the day-care centre and a friendship started to form. That friendship was extended when the couple came to Emmaus Church’s stand on the ‘Kanalens dag’ - the local fair day - last August and met the church’s core team. They soon started to attend our Sunday worship services regularly and the Skatten mix group (children's group, every second Wednesday). They saw our advertising years ago but never took the step to actually come to Sunday worship until a personal relationship started to form. This is one of the things we are praying and hoping for as people move to Åkersberga, that some of them will be mature Christians and that they will choose Emmaus as their church to attend and be part of our ministry and outreach team. But meanwhile we also need to reach out more and build friendships.
Lotta will continue to travel to Uppsala to do her work. The good news is that she does not need to be in Uppsala every weekday, so she can work from home on Mondays and Fridays, for which we are grateful to the Lord. Lotta will continue to lead the bible study group in Uppsala until we decide what would be the next step for the group.
Many of our young men work in Stockholm city so Chris will continue to commute to meet up with the guys ‘one on one’. For the last two years we have been blessed with growth in the church, but only after spending a lot of time doing outreach and discipleship. The growth hasn’t come without hard work. But all the time and effort that has been put in has paid off and it has led to further training and growth. We now have a new group of candidates to train for our bible study (discipleship) groups, which is great news.
In the near future we are planning to start up new bible study (discipleship) groups in Åkersberga, as we are having more people coming to the church and the need is growing. We were planning to start the first bible study group in April but then this whole business with coronavirus changed our plans. However, it has opened up new opportunities for us and we have started the bible study online. By doing this, it gives people who are living outside Åkersberga the opportunity to join in a midweek bible study too. Our vision still is to build stronger Christian communities and disciples who will live out their Christian faith in their daily lives.
We will also be looking into how Emmaus Church can engage more in the local community when that becomes possible again. What other evangelistic opportunities are there? How can we build relations and meet some of the needs in the local community? Maybe even this situation with coronavirus might open up opportunities. This is something we are prayerfully looking into.
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