It changes atmospheres, and it changes hearts.
When God spoke to Christian, our team leader, about Camden, Christian started walking the land.
That was seven years ago, and we have been walking there with him ever since. For seven years, he and Johanna have invested in the ground of Camden. They have walked it faithfully. They have spoken to shop keepers, workers in the market, residents of Camden, tourists snapping photos with no idea of where they are, the homeless sitting outside the pubs, and everybody in between. They have prayed for God to open doors for us to move to Camden, and more recently, for us to start a church in Camden.
Last May, we started meeting for church in Camden. Our whole team, along with some other Christians from the area, met in basements of coffee shops, because we saw the need for a church in Camden, one of the cultural centres of London, and therefore, the UK (see a post about it here). We saw the witchcraft present in the area, the paganism, the worship of materialism and self-destruction through drugs, and we knew that God should be there. So we started coming to worship in a place where our bit of light would be a dramatic difference to the resident darkness.
And on Sunday, we unlocked the doors to the Upper Room, a space we are renting in the centre of Camden, and we held the first meeting of Hope and Anchor Community Church. It was mainly our team, with a few others, who met. But we got to worship God loudly without worrying about disturbing coffee shop patrons. We set up tea, coffee, and biscuits, we greeted at the door, we saw a friend who came to Christ in Trafalgar Square last summer come up the stairs to join us. And we saw the fruit of a dream that was planted seven years ago.
We still have many dreams for Camden. Dreams of living there, of running schools there, of having a coffee shop, of filling it with crazy Christians from dozens of nations. But this is a step, the fulfillment of a part of the promise. It is another whisper of God's faithfulness, another reason to celebrate a God whose timing is perfect, even if we cannot comprehend it (even if it frustrates us to no end).
There is a difference between stubbornness and conviction, as Christian spoke about in the church meeting on Sunday. And when you have conviction, you will walk the land. For seven years, when you want to move now, and now, and now, you will continue to walk the land.
And we will keep walking the land until we can call it home.