A Partnership Idea, 4/4/03
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Johnson Journal
Dear Friends,
What an exhilarating week.  Elmbrook Church has been forging a partnership with churches from three other cultures, Nairobi Chapel from Kenya, Glenabby Church from Belfast, Ireland and La Puerta Abierta (Church of the Open Door) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I had the opportunity to participate in their meetings as a translator, first at a retreat center during the week, then in various church and ministry activities and meetings at and around Elmbrook.  It was a chance to learn and to spend time with friends that IŽd met on a trip to Buenos Aires in December.
There are those who have questioned the reason for the partnership, and also the cost of traveling so far and taking time out of local ministry to meet together.  As I listened to the godly leaders in these four churches from four different cultures wrestle with issues and develop a work plan I became more and more convinced that this type of partnership is a very good thing.
The worship service Sunday at Elmbrook was incredible.  There were Argentineans, Kenyans, and Irish involved in the worship, as well as dancers from different parts of the world.  The prayer was in Korean.  The message was by the pastor of the Nairobi Chapel and it was excellent.  He developed the idea of partnership starting with the Tower of Babel, that God Himself affirmed that nothing would be impossible to those that really work together (taking into account that they had a common language!)  Oscar continues developing the theme of unity in Christ through the book of Ephesians.  One of the best quotes I remember is that each church can get to a place more rapidly working by itself, but that we will all get much farther down the road by working together.
The church in Buenos Aires already has missionaries in Madrid, where we hope to go, and has interest in sending more.  There is also interest, particularly on the part of the church in Belfast, in sending short term teams to help in the work in Spain. 
Please continue to pray with us as we work out the details of what this all means.  We want to make sure we're staying behind the Lord.  My tendency is to jump ahead!   There is also a possibility that someone could come from Buenos Aires, on an internship through Elmbrook, to help with Centrobrook, the Hispanic Church I've been helping in downtown Milwaukee.
Thanks for your prayers,
Mark and Kay