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

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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

Winter 2017 Update

Dear Friends,

We hope this update finds you on the other side of a enjoyable and memorable Christmas and we want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Here in London we have begun the year with Psalm 16 on our hearts and mind. Throughout 2017 our goal is to keep remembering this Psalm, specifically verse two where David writes, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” With that in mind we are continually reminding ourselves who our Lord is and that the only good we have is with him and without him we have nothing.

2017 will mark 100 years of our church meeting in the North Finchley area of London and we are looking forward to our anniversary Sunday on the 14th May. That being said, all the windows and doors were original to the building and were in need of an upgrade, and one of the major highlights of the past couple months was the replacement of those windows and doors. Seeing these made me think of all the things the Lord has allowed us to accomplish in and around our building over the past 12 months. The building and the grounds look completely different than it did this time last year as you can see in the pictures.

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As a church we were encouraged through our study on the church this past autumn and we finished it just before we focused on our Christmas events. It was an exciting Christmas because were are able to hold a number of a events. In the month of December we hosted a children’s craft day, did some Christmas carolling outside in our town centre with a neighbouring church, and enjoyed a traditional carol service. Each event was enjoyable for those involved and allowed for us to promote the good news of Jesus to our local community. Please pray for us as we begin 2017 that we’ll see some new faces in the building, new people join the church, but more importantly we’ll see many eyes opened to the truth of Jesus Christ.

We have been encouraged already by one Sunday in 2017 where we had the highest attendance in our time here as well as conversations with one gentleman about church membership. Between now and Easter as a church we will be preaching through 1 & 2 Samuel and going through a Christianity Explored course with a few people. If you’re interested in following things at the church please visit our website http://www.highroadbaptist.org or our Facebook page.

As a family we enjoyed a trip to Greece during the week of Thanksgiving. It was much warmer there than London and in addition to seeing the ancient city ruins of Corinth and Athens we enjoyed some relaxing  time at a resort for our Western European conference with ABWE. The conference was at a good venue and a great place to catch up with many people we haven’t seen in years. For Christmas we were able to have family stay with us which was very enjoyable for us all.

We are thankful how the Lord has worked over the past year and we look forward to 2017 with great anticipation and anxiety for a couple reasons. First, we are still a little under-supported and would love to see that resolved. Please if you, your church, or someone you know who 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. The second reason is that this time a year from now, we will be able to submit the paperwork for our residency with the UK border agency. This brings a lot of anxieties and also additional costs. Over the past almost four years of living in England we have had amazing support from our home church and others that has allowed us to pay for our visas, but it would be advantageous for all to have that cost and need resolved once and for all, Lord-willing. So we ask if you could please pray for that cost and for all the paperwork and time that needs to be put into that in the next year.

We just want to say thank you for all the many cards, the gifts, the phone calls, text messages, etc… from many many people. We definitely know we are loved and the object of many of your prayers which brings us much joy and gratitude. It is our goal to remember, as the Psalmist did, who our LORD is and that apart from Him we have no good thing.

With Love,
David & Annalisa Wilson

Autumn 2016 Update

Dear Friends,

These past few months have been busy—as many of you know we had the chance to spend six weeks in America this summer. We had such an encouraging time visiting with family, friends, and  worshiping again with our home church in Virginia Beach. During that time many of you were able to hear our update, but for anyone who didn’t, here’s what’s been happening at High Road Baptist Church!

14341510_10157393798585414_1056976876_nBefore we left to come back to America we did quite a bit of work in and around our building. We purchased new chairs, did an extensive clear-out of some sheds, and a good bit of garden work. We had two purposes for doing this work: first, it simply needed to be done, but secondly, it was preparation for a BBQ the first weekend of July. The BBQ was such a fun time for us and the congregation; we had people come from Chesham in support, some of our neighbours, and also some leaders from the other local churches in the area. Please pray with us as we seek to use our resources at hand to continue to serve our community and to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. We need wisdom as we continue with maintenance work and updates around the property (new windows before winter, discussions with the borough council about trees, etc.) and as we think through various outreaches leading up to Christmas. We have  some ideas floating around some of our members about how we can reach out, but we pray for discernment, unity and excitement as we carry on with these things.

Also, before the summer we were greatly encouraged by a few men from the church (one member, two non-members) who gathered each Sunday morning before our main worship service to work through a seven-week Bible Study on the fundamentals of Christianity. We had some great discussions during this time and we pray that as we have come back home we can pick up on some of those discussions this autumn. As a congregation we will be working through a book called God’s New Community (Graham Beynon) about the purposes of the church. This will be especially helpful as we need to re-evaluate and re-establish the church’s documentation in the future (church covenant, doctrinal statement and practices and principles). It is our prayer that this will generate an understanding of what the church is and how that works out in our lives.

nycAs we finish off this Update letter, we just want to say a huge thank you to every one who continually prays for us and for those of you who support us financially as we serve here through ABWE in England. If you would like to begin partnering financially with us through ABWE, please let us know. We hope that those we met with this summer were as encouraged by our time together as we were and by what the Lord is doing here in the UK. May the Lord continue to bless each of you as we seek to serve our loving and gracious Saviour.

With Thanks,
David & Annalisa Wilson