It feels like a family reunion minus the kids. We congregate in the kitchen, working together on meals and washing up. We talk morning, noon and night. We go on outings together and ask about kids and plans for the coming year. We sing together and pray together and discuss our ministries and how God brought us to this place in our lives. In a way we are a family—the Langham family.
The Langham Partnership International leadership met this week in retreat together with spouses. There are fourteen of us, most in their fifties like me with a few spilling over on either end. We come from England, the U.S., Northern Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa and New Zealand, and several have spent significant parts of their lives in Africa or India. We are similar in our international outlook and experiences and united in our commitment to Christ and our passion for leadership training. No one is impressed by my husband having eaten pizza in eighty countries. The new director of John Stott Ministries, the U.S. arm of Langham, met his wife in the baggage claim section of an airport—something that has proved prophetic of their life together. Consequently, no one thinks you are a snob when you mention something that happened to you in Kenya or Mozambique. They match it with a story from Jordon or Korea.
We are meeting at The Hookses, part way down the cliff overlooking the sea at the end of one of the crumbling World War 2 runways outside Dale in southwest Wales. The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path passes just outside our garden gate. (That’s the equivalent of having the Appalachian Trail go by your front door.) The weather has cooperated in a big way. I don’t think I saw as much sun in the twenty months we lived in UK as we have seen in the past two weeks.
The Hookses belonged to Dr. John R. W. Stott, the theologian, preacher and writer who influenced all of us. “Uncle John,” as he is fondly called, founded Langham Partnership to give away the money he earned from his many books. Others with the same vision contribute to the foundation to continue and extend what he started. Langham sponsors international scholars for advanced theological studies (my husband's responsibility.) Its list of graduates reads like a list of Rhodes scholars of the evangelical world. Langham has long supplied books to majority world seminaries and pastors. In recent years Langham Preaching has sponsored workshops for preachers who may never have the opportunity for formal training. It distributes study Bibles and commentaries and organizes preaching clubs to help these preachers to network and hold one another accountable.
I believe passionately in what Langham is doing to facilitate leadership in majority world churches. I am thrilled to be a part of such an able and like-minded team, even if it is just by being a supportive wife to my husband of thirty-seven years. I count it a privilege to have time with these incredible people, especially in such a spectacular spot. I have posted pictures on my flickr page. Have a look and say a prayer of blessing for the work of Langham.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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