ACW

ACW

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Water Walking for Beginners by Marion Stroud


The Indalo Man


I've always been fascinated by the thought of God calling us to 'do life' differently, so I have a soft spot for Peter, and his attempts to walk on water. That's why, when I came across the Indalo man, emblem of the Almeria region of Spain, pictured as walking on water and holding a rainbow in his hands, I had to buy one. He sits on my desk  to remind me that, in the words of John Ortberg  'If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat."

 One of my ongoing water walking adventures began in the early 1990's when an unknown caller left a message on my Answerphone. “I’m a missionary in Bulgaria “she said “and I’ve been asked to start bible study groups for women. Someone told me that you might be able to suggest suitable material.”

Valerie was working with a group called Mission Possible. “Many women have come to faith recently” she said “In fact the congregations are 75% women in many churches. But this is a very patriarchal society and the women don’t know how to lead a study group or what material to use.” I made some suggestions, expecting that this would  be the end of the matter.

18 months later, Valerie contacted me again. ‘Would you come and speak to our ladies?” she asked. “Many of them are lone worshippers in their families and you’ve written a book for women like that.”  Would I go ... and speak ... to people who knew little English ... staying with someone I’d only met once  ... in a country where the dark shadow of Communism still lingered and where the emerging Protestant churches were regarded as ‘sects’. That definitely seemed like walking on water. Was I up for the challenge? I  wobbled but I went.



That ten day visit was a jumble of new experiences. Evidence of the past regime were everywhere. The grey tower blocks of tiny apartments, the packs of dogs roaming the streets, avoiding eye contact with strangers, gave a tiny glimpse of life as it had been. We travelled to 5 different towns, stayed with an elderly lady who had led an underground church in her house, taught in a half built church sitting amongst piles of bricks and metal girders which would have sent to the U.K health and safety people screaming for cover, and spent an evening with Roma gypsies ladies.

I learned how to speak through a translator and was caught up with the sheer joy of their worship.  They were so hungry for God. I experienced life with frequent power cuts and dodgy plumbing. It was a new world and I loved it.

 ‘Have you considered having an occasional newsletter that you circulate to your ladies?  ‘I asked as I said goodbye to the Mission Possible team. ‘That way you could encourage them regularly with  a bible study outline or ideas for a meeting!’  They thanked me politely, but their body language implied that they had quite enough to do without that!

A year or so later another letter arrived. ‘You suggested that we make a Newsletter’ wrote Daniella. ‘But God has showed us to produce a magazine for all Bulgarian women. We shall call it Leah. Can you help us? ‘My Eastern European water-walking adventure had begun.

Marion Stroud is a former Chair of ACW, a trainer for Media Associates and the author of 26 books, some of which have been translated into 14 languages. Her two latest books of prayers for women, 'Dear God It's Me and It's Urgent' and 'It's Just You and Me Lord' are available in the UK from Monarch, a division of Lion Publishing and in the United States from Discovery House, the book publishing division of Our Daily Bread. She is represented by Mary Keeley from Books and Such Literary Management and you will find out more about her books at www.marionstroud


9 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story, Marion, of God's exciting adventures. Loved hearing how the one inquiry turned into a grand journey for God's glory.

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  2. I really loved this post Marion. I found it inspiring. Thank you

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  3. What an amazing way to step out in faith. Definitely God ordained. But what happened next.....? Loved the post Marion.

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  4. Wonderfully inspiring! Marion, God has blessed many people through you, myself included. Thank you for getting out of the boat!

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  5. Great story, Marion - and with such long effect.

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  6. Thank you. We'll move on to the next instalment next time. But just to say that their 1st publication in the LEAH Library, a series of of books by Bulgarian women FOR Bulgarian women should be published next month. I'm meeting Svetlana and Daniella, the two ladies I've been most involved with in all this at the MAI conference at High leigh the week after Easter so I'll be really up to date.

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  7. How inspiring! Thank you, Marion...

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  8. How inspiring! Thank you, Marion...

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  9. How inspiring! Thank you Marion :)

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