When we first went to visit, with very little knowledge of what we’d said yes to, we were impacted by a church that loved Jesus, loved the Vineyard and wanted nothing from us but relationship. Over the years this has grown to be a deep friendship church to church through which we have received as much as we have given.
Despite the miles, the different culture and language, we have a Vineyard family in Peru who are doing the stuff just as we are. It looks different in their context – but the heart is the same. For us in Bury St Edmunds, that’s such an encouragement – to see God at work in a bunch of people geographically far from us, but committed to the same Kingdom principles, serving with the same values, loving with the same heart.
Most people from our church won’t get to visit, but we prioritise connection whenever we can. We regularly swap videos with them and they with us. We send whole church videos of support when new churches are planted. We celebrate their church milestones with them and they with us. And of course, when we do get to visit, or they visit here, it’s the biggest thrill. By sharing a meal around a table, by serving side by side, by swapping dreams and connecting through the Holy Spirit we relate at a deeper level – and that goes back as a deposit of friendship, love and support.
Why do we prioritise the Partnership? Mostly for the relationship – as a reminder to us that God is at work right around the world and we get to join in with some of what he’s doing in Peru. Also, we appreciate Peru is newer to the Vineyard family than the UK, so we can model and share what we know of the movement, and encourage them as they thrive and plant churches.
And the biggest thing – that we receive much more than we ever give in experience or finances. We learn from them in every way about passionate love for Jesus, about genuine hospitality, about a heart for those that don’t know Jesus and the ability to run a long way with very little. We are proud to have them as our partners – and are privileged to do Vineyard family with them.