Journey to Paphos 2017
The night before I flew to Cyprus I was beset by doubts and questions. Why was I leaving my safe home and family to visit a new land and people I barely knew? Was it really necessary to visit in person? Why not just continue to share over the internet?
Nevertheless, with flights booked and my husband willing to look after our children, I continued with the planned journey. I wanted to see the prototype home church for Rapid Church Planting (RCP) and to meet the pioneers who had established it. If the prototype was strong and grounded in the principles of fellowship and teaching found in the book of Acts then it could serve as a model for groups around the world. But if there were flaws or weaknesses, then these would also multiply and deepen with the replication.
I have no words. What can I write to describe the genuine flow of love, worship, prayer and mission that I encountered in Paphos? It is like a jewel hidden in the rock reflecting the glory of the one who made it. I am honoured and privileged to be able to meet and count as friends the mighty ones that God has brought together in Paphos Home Churches and RCP. These mighty ones welcomed me, accepted me as I am and challenged me. They listened to me when I was the one who should have sat at their feet.
I learnt that the presence of God can fall just as strongly with worship songs played on youtube and a handful of singers as with anointed worship leaders. I learnt that taking time for fellowship over a meal and including the bread and wine of communion as part of that meal has powerful significance. I watched as the teaching of the Word passed from one member to another with questions and illustrations yet maintaining the essence of the topic taught. I joined in their prophetic declarations and intercession over their city and out into the nations.
I do not believe that the believers in Paphos are perfect, they themselves would be the first to acknowledge they are not. Rather it is their recognition of dependence on God and the person of the Holy Spirit that defines them. They have known loss, rejection and illness. It is this genuineness of faith that reaches out to comfort across the internet through RCP.
So I return a broken vessel, desiring more of what I have seen for my community and for the body of Messiah throughout the world. I am homesick not to go back to Paphos but to see God’s Kingdom come in us and through us.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalm 42:1.