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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

Never miss a thing!

 

The one about the travelling Trenemans

Gary and Amahle Treneman do quite a lot of their travelling by bus. They’ve got to the age where it’s free and anyway they don’t own a car. Besides, it’s always a bit of an adventure, not, I hasten to add, because life has got so dull that standing in the pouring rain waiting for the is the highlight of their week but because, well, they never know quite what might happen.

I wonder, what might make travelling by bus a bit of an adventure to people who’ve been travelling on buses for 60 years?

What might make something you often do a bit of an adventure?

Just last week they were on the 288 coming back from the opticians. Amahle sat down next to a woman who started talking to her. She was, according to Gary, ‘quite young really, only about 78’. As it happens, they got off at the same stop and Amahle said to her, ‘We are Christians and before we leave home, we ask God to guide us to people. We don’t stand on street corners handing out booklets but if the person initiates a conversation with us we take that as God’s guidance to offer a booklet about his love.’ And the ‘young woman’ beamed at her, took the booklet, and gave her a big hug. And Amahle asked her name and said that they’ll be praying for her.

And that’s why every journey is an adventure – whether they’re sauntering down the road to the bus stop, or to the school gate to pick up their granddaughter, or to the shops, they pray that God will bring people to them. And often he does. And neither of them can remember anyone actually refusing the booklet. Often people start sharing their problems and challenges very quickly – which might surprise you if you hadn’t met Gary and Amahle. But there’s something warm about them, something calm, something that makes you feel they’re more likely to listen than to interrupt, something that makes you feel they won’t judge you.

Gary and Amahle don’t push it. They’re not guilt-driven, they’re not striving, they’re not worried that they are the only people in the world that God has to reach these people and that this is the only moment in time that these people will get to hear the good news. They’re trusting in God’s timing, in his knowledge of whether these people are ripe to hear the kind of message that God has been shaping in Gary and Amahle’s hearts these many years. They’re at ease but alert to God’s prompting, to his sovereign weaving in time and place, and to his love for people on whatever journey they find themselves. And there’s the thing, God is leading.

Of course, God doesn’t limit his ministry to their travelling. On one occasion, Amahle was itching to leave work and get home but she sensed the Holy Spirit telling her to go to the canteen. Over the years, she’s learned to know the Shepherd’s voice (John 10:27). So she went, bought a cup of tea and sat down. Before long, she heard someone crying some way behind her. It was a woman of about 19 or 20. She went over, introduced herself, sat down, listened, and then invited the young woman – Keira – to come round to her house the following day for a cup of tea and a chat. Extraordinarily, the young woman came. As the conversation progressed, Amahle shared the gospel and Keira became Christ’s. ‘It was’, Gary said, ‘like picking ripe fruit.’ Subsequently, Keira joined the church they were part of.

Sometimes in the Bible God’s leading is obvious. So, for example, an angel of the Lord tells Philip to go south onto the desert road (Acts 8:26–40). There he meets the Ethiopian eunuch, sitting in his chariot reading Isaiah out loud. Now, as an entry point for a conversation about Christ, it doesn’t get much easier. On other occasions, it’s less clear but still we’re invited to recognise God’s leading, God’s timing. Take, for example, the lame man sitting at the Gate Beautiful on Peter and John’s route into the Temple (Acts 3:1–10). He was there, the text tells us, ‘every day’ so James and John, and Jesus too, must have walked past him many, many times, and not stopped to pray for him.

But suddenly on that day… God’s leading, surely, on their journey from here to there.

Over the years, Gary and Amahle have seen God do so many amazing things on their journeys from here to there on public transport that even if someone were to give them a car, I’m not sure they’d use it that much. After all, they don’t go out to catch a bus, they go out on a mission trip.

 

***

I wonder what strikes you. What biblical connections do you see?

Can you think of times away from church when you’ve felt nudged by the Holy Spirit to do something?

‘Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”’

ACTS 3:2–6

Mark Greene
Mission Champion, LICC

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