Spring 2018 Update

Dear Friends,

It has been a while since our last update and there is much to report. I have been hoping to write sooner with news of our application for indefinite leave to remain (residency), but there has been some unexpected paperwork needs which we are still in the process of obtaining. At this point, we are asking that the Lord will allow us to complete our application in May — please keep that in your prayers. We can give praise that the funds have been given to cover the cost for the application, and for that we humbly say thank you; we are incredibly grateful to all those who have helped in this way and we hope to communicate some good news soon to both churches and those who personally gave towards our residency.

In other areas the Lord has been extremely kind to our church these past few months. Since the beginning of the year our average attendance has increased a little bit and we have been seeing new regular people coming in. Here are just a few encouragements:

  • The couple who have been talking about Baptism are currently meeting with me to be baptised in September.
  • We’ve had a new young family begin coming regularly and have said they have become believers but haven’t been baptised or been in church very much.
  • A young lady who was a member of the church in the past, but left membership about 18 months ago has returned stating she has become a follower of Jesus now. She has a new love for Jesus and mentioned that she, about a month ago, began a personal relationship with Jesus that she hadn’t had before. She is currently enjoying one of our Christianity explored courses at the moment and we look forward to how she will grow in her relationship with Jesus in the future for her too.
  • For Easter we had 30 people in attendance— our second highest in the last 2 1/2 years.
  • A non-Christian friend I met last year has agreed to meet, read and talk through John’s gospel starting this month.
  • As a church we’ve established a statement of beliefs, a church covenant, and what it means to be a member of our church. These were crucial to establish a unified understanding of what a church is and what it means to be part of a local church amongst our congregation.

We mention encouragements because they are what we like to focus on, but in the midst of these encouragements, the devil is also always at work. Please pray for us as a church; pray for me as its pastor that the Lord will protect us. We’ve had some growing pains these past few months, and some spiritual battles these past few months, but in the end we fall back on truth that we learn from 2 Corinthians 4v7 “but we have this treasure in jars of clayto show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

We do value your prayers, we are extremely thankful for everyone who has invested in us here in North London. We have had some lovely times here these past few months, with both of our parents and grandparents, friends from our church in Virginia Beach, and others who have stopped in for a day or two. We have some fun exciting things coming up for the summer and we are looking forward to a few young people from Colonial Baptist Church in Virginia Beach being with us to help with some events.

We ask that you rejoice with us in these encouragements that have happened in the past months, but we also ask that in your thanksgiving you continue to pray for the other things. The longer we seek to help in building the church here in London, the more we realise that only God is the builder — we are just the workers. Lord-willing you will hear from us soon regarding our residency application. May the Lord continue to build His church.

With thankful hearts,
David & Annalisa Wilson

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Merry Christmas to each of you who have continually prayed for us, supported us and have encouraged this past year. We trust we have been and encouragement to you as the Lord has been helping us work here in London.

We are thankful for the Lord’s continued kindness to us as we work and serve the Lord here in North London.

As we move into 2018 we are very aware of our current need of residency and are trusting the Lord to provide for that financial need. In just a few weeks since our previous update letter the Lord has greatly supplied much of that need and we rejoice greatly in that, but there is still about 1/4 still to go. If you’d like to financially sponsor us through ABWE for our residency cost please see go here for more information.

We look forward to a great 2018 and excited to see how the Lord will continue to build his church here in North London.

Summer 2017

Dear friends,

I trust this update letter finds all of you well and rejoicing in our loving and gracious Saviour. It’s summer now in England and 2017 marks our first full summer in London and we are taking advantage of the many footpaths, parks and trails through and around the city. We started the summer off with a lovely BBQ on the church grounds. The Lord was kind to give us some wonderful weather and a good number of people. One of our church members counted nearly 70 people coming throughout the day, and it was especially exciting to have a few of our personal friends that we have been praying for come along, and to have visitors attend the following Sunday as a result of the BBQ. We pray that we can still reach out to our community in ways to serve them and speak the good news of Jesus to them.

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This time of year in England many regular scheduled activities take an extended break, so many people use this time to go on long vacations and inevitably this affects attendance for church services. Because of this we are conducting our summer services a little differently. Last year and now this year we have been using the summer weeks to studying through Psalm 119, bit by bit. This year, instead of doing a full sermon from the front we are taking the opportunity to study the passage together, thus giving an example of how to read the Bible as well as interact with scripture together. We read the section of Psalm 119 out loud together, have a short introduction to the passage, and then divide up into groups to discuss three basic things: 1. What stands out to you about the passage, 2. What questions do you have about the passage, and 3. What is the passage wanting us to walk away with? The format has been encouraging so far as we all experience reading the Bible and interacting with it together—we’re praying this will develop a church culture of speaking truth to each other.

Though there is much to be thankful for we feel the growing pains of a small congregation. For example, when one person is unhappy it’s very apparent that it affects the whole body, or when someone moves away, they leave a big hole behind them. Both of these situations have happened to us recently and so we must continue to trust the Lord in these situations and carry on praying like Paul prayed for his congregation in Colossians 1 – “we continually ask God to fill [us] with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that [we] may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that [we] may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”

We do covet your prayers as we continue to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and in the task of re-establishing his church here on High Road in North London. In September, our plan is to preach through our church doctrinal statement to solidify what we believe as a church in addition to establishing a church covenant. The church’s doctrinal statement was last updated in 1884 and as we church members represent so many different cultures and church backgrounds, discussion about what church membership should Biblically entail and look like will hopefully bring unity and clarity. This is a big step for us a congregation, and as one of our members recently told me (when I explained what I would be preaching on in the autumn): “these things will be very helpful—we need to know what being a member really makes us a part of.” I was excited to hear that she realises that the church is not just a Sunday club, but a living organisation/body seeking to put Christ on display to our community.

If you feel you would like to partner with us and our ministry through ABWE please contact us – our current financial need is the one-time funding for our residency application in January. This is a necessary step for us—as we have used up our allotment of work visas—and also a very expensive one. Any help towards that would be greatly appreciated—please let us know if you are able to contribute to this as we have a specific account with ABWE toward this goal and can earmark it as such if you let us know. We are thankful for your continued prayers and support for us and if you want to keep up on our church on a more day to day level we are on Facebook and twitter, so please do look us up and follow us that way.

Many Thanks,
David & Annalisa Wilson

Spring 2017

Dear Friends,

This Spring we have been enjoying an unusually dry and sunny spring here! We’ve lived here long enough to know not to take it for granted and have really been enjoying the outdoors and making good use of the nearby parks.

We are also thankful for the work of the Lord in our church the past few months. Since January, we have had one person join our congregation, we’ve finished a ‘Christianity Explored’ course and are preparing to do a new course called ‘Life Explored’. Those participating enjoyed the course and had some great questions and discussions, including some discussion of interest in baptism and membership. Please do pray for wisdom, guidance and clarity as we continue these conversations. We have also been busy engaging in Bible study with much of the congregation. There are a couple of one-on-one studies going on and we have just begun a group Bible study following the Sunday service. It is our prayer that the scriptures will continue to penetrate into the hearts of people and they are drawn into a closer relationship with our loving, gracious, kind, and risen Saviour.

Our Easter celebrations at High Road Baptist Church were encouraging. Our craft day activity for children had almost 40 new people into our building to have fun and to hear the message of Jesus’ life, death and  resurrection—we pray that this activity and contact with these people will develop into something greater. In addition to the great attendance of the craft day, the attendance on Easter Sunday matched the highest attendance in our time here. Especially encouraging was the fact that many of these people were second-time attenders or had been invited by our members. It is exciting to see that our members have confidence and enthusiasm enough to invite others along. We pray this type of enthusiasm this will continue.

As mentioned in our previous update, 2017 marks 100 years that High Road Baptist has been in North Finchley and we are looking forward to celebrating this on 14 May in an anniversary service. Please pray that the Lord will use this celebration to make more people in our community know about our presence and history here and to build unity and a sense of purpose in our people as we look back on 100 years here and 226 year of meeting as a church in the London area. We are looking forward to sharing the church’s unique history—please pray that it will  be done well and the work of running and hosting the event will go smoothly.

As a family Easter marked the end of a nice school break which gave us lots of time to visit with some friends, do some day trips, enjoy the sunny weather and have some relaxed time as a family. Just before the break we enjoyed a visit from some family and their friends as well.

Also mentioned in our previous update letter, was our support level. Though we are still a bit under-supported, the Lord is meeting this need—we are very thankful to report that a new church has taken us on for support and several other churches have been able to increase their support level. We are deeply grateful for those who allow the Lord to use them to enable our work here and for your care for our needs. If you, your church, or someone you know is looking to partner with us through ABWE to help us in our church revitalisation efforts here in North London, please do contact us or see our support page.

We also are aware that we are nearing the time to apply for residency in the UK—we have been here four years now and next January we will be eligible to apply. Recently the visa regulations changed to limit the number of temporary religious visas we are able to apply for to two (which we have now done)—this means that without successful application for residency we would not be able to reapply for the same visa again and would probably have to leave the country for at least a year. For many reasons, this is obviously less than ideal for the church here and us. Though we’ve not started the application process for the residency yet, we have begun the research part of it, which can be tricky because the immigration laws seem to be changing rather frequently. So please do pray for our anxieties, wisdom and guidance as we begin this process and for the funds to cover the cost of it.

With joy we give thank for what the Lord is doing and we look forward to how he will continue to build his church here in North London.

David and Annalisa Wilson