2014 is a year of great change for us. Just before the turn of the New Year, Jeni (my wife and travelling companion) gave up her job in the hair and beauty industry to focus fully on her role at Azalea . She was able to do this thanks to the generosity of our Church, who fund her loss in wages, enabling her to commit an extra 15 hours a week. Jeni has really flourished through this, despite some major challenges. Sadly one of the ladies she befriended right from the beginning of her work there passed away earlier this year. Death is a curious thing for us Christians as it at once brings peace and rest and a painful reminder of our fallen state in this world. To see Jeni become empowered through sharing God’s love with these women has been awesome for me as a husband. And she’s bloody good at what she does too.
This year has also brought a lot of changes for me. I’m not much of a one for ‘hearing from God’ but I had an idea that my thirtieth year would bring about some significant changes, and see me start to move into the kind of work I’ve always felt called to. ‘Christian work’ or ‘ministry’, whatever jargon label you want to give it, I felt that a change was on its way. And it was.
Towards the end of last year I stopped taking on bigger construction projects, my heart just wasn’t in it and it was having too great an impact on my personal life. I’ve mainly been subcontracting this year which has had its ups and downs. But now at time of writing September is only a month away, and with it comes the biggest change of lifestyle since we got married. I’ll be giving up two days a week to focus on starting a project in Luton, alongside what my wife does. I’ll also be studying with the Church Mission Society on course called “Pioneer Mission Leadership Training”. I’m just a teeny bit excited about it!!!
Our dream began at a little Baptist Church near Cambridge. My friend (and the International Vice President of God’s Squad CMC) Sean Stillman invited us to hear him speak about his work. For years Jeni and I have dreamed about a place where people off the street can come and here an authentic presentation of the Good News about Jesus Christ. People who wouldn’t dream of setting foot in a church, and who probably can’t relate to “contemporary Christian culture”. Man those words make me feel ill. Sitting in that little Baptist Church, Jeni still shivering from the motorcycle ride to get there, we heard Sean lay out exactly what we’d been dreaming about. And it’s haunted us ever since. To try and distill Zac’s Place into words is almost impossible, but follow the link and you’ll find some good info.
So this is our dream, to grow something like Zac’s Place in the fertile grounds of Luton. It is a stupid idea? Probably. Shouldn’t a good husband prioritise providing financially? Maybe. Am I willing to go to my grave without at least trying to chase the dreams that the divine placed in my heart? Absolutely not.
So please, through this blog or by getting in touch, join us for the ride. We’d love to hear from you. Or, if you’d like to consider donating towards our mission to the margins please visit our giving page .
Luke and Jeni Larner
Too young to know better, too old not to try.