WHAT’S IN A JOURNEY?
By Valerie McIntyre
Staying the course can either sound noble or a bore. Most of us daydream about a thrilling life, be careful what you wish for – I’ve signed up for an exciting life and that can also mean exhausting J But most of us agree that getting where you want to go takes time, perseverance and determination. This year I had the privilege of meeting Jenny Gilpin. She and her husband Dave have an incredible church, Hope City Church, based in Sheffield in the UK. I do not use the word ‘incredible’ lightly. What they have done in over 20 years, pretty much on their own, is world-class heroic. And the proof is in the people. Their leaders and pastors are some of the best people I have met on my own journey in this new world. Upbeat, servant-hearted, funny (Beth Blois could do stand-up if she wanted to) and LOYAL, Hope City Church is a model of how great church is built and lived out.
Jenny, one of my new friends in the UK (lucky me) is a woman on a mission. Besides doing church she started a non-profit organization to rehabilitate women (especially from trafficking) called City Hearts. They have been transforming lives since they launched. Recently, they expanded into Ghana with a powerful vision to actually stop the problem before it starts. Ambitious? Yes! Necessary? Yes! Jenny is a brave woman. She is beautiful, fun to be around, all girl and yet quietly strong. There isn’t anything strident about this feminine creature, but she still gets the job done. Recently, she was at a photo shoot at the football grounds where Sheffield Wednesday FC plays (the team is going to market water to benefit City Hearts.) What some people may not know is that Dave and Jenny came to the UK from Australia over 20 years ago because of the Hillsborough football disaster. In a terrible accident 96 fans were crushed to death in the stadium. Dave and Jenny saw this tragedy on television in Australia and had a vision to start a church in the UK (Dave was born in England). Jenny told me the other day that as she stood on the pitch at the football grounds for a publicity photo she had the feeling that she had come full circle. ‘This’ is where it had all started. She was standing, in a way, on sacred ground. Time, perseverance, determination.
It’s a journey. But if any of us really want to get where we want to go we need something more than these 3 words. God. We need our God, because the end of a journey means absolutely nothing without Him. He’s the best traveling partner around. He’s the best end goal you will ever have. He makes everything worth it. Everything. That’s why I love and trust my new friend Jen. She puts God first, and it shows. Here’s to you lady!